October 12, 2007

Five Keys to Victory: Colorado at K-State

After losing to its rivals last week, Kansas State is taking a long, hard look inward in preparing for the Colorado Buffaloes. K-State's 30-24 loss to Kansas stung the Wildcats, but now Coach Ron Prince and company have to improve their play to prevent losing back-to-back Big 12 North home games.





COLORADO at KANSAS STATE
When: Saturday, Oct. 13
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. (CDT)
Location: Manhattan
Venue: Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
TV: None


"I thought our kids played extremely hard. I thought they had focus and preparation heading into the game. They knew what was at stake to play well and win, but that didn't happen," Prince said of the Kansas game. "We and I accept and understand that everybody is disappointed, but Colorado does not care one bit about our disappointment. We understand that, so we'll prepare and correct and focus on that opponent and the issues that go with it."


Colorado will present many of the same troubles the Wildcats faced against Kansas with the Big 12's most-balanced run/pass attack. CU's running game has come on strong with the return from injury of Hugh Charles.


Kansas used its mix of running and passing to put K-State's defense on its heels for the first time this season.


"Right now there is some things we need to focus on," junior defensive end/linebacker Ian Campbell said. "Some things I thought we had sewn up, but obviously KU exposed some things that we weren't able to do quite as well as we thought we were able to do. So it's not necessarily back to the drawing board, but there's definitely some things were going to have to go back over and work on harder."


While the loss to KU, K-State dropped to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Big 12, Colorado is beginning to show signs of life under Coach Dan Hawkins. The Buffaloes are now 4-2 and 2-0 in Big 12 play after stunning Oklahoma two weeks ago and winning at Baylor last week.


"I think we are getting there and getting used to that but there are a lot of games to be played," Hawkins said.


Colorado's second-year coach also expects K-State to respond to its home loss.


"I do expect them to come out with their horns out, I think that is Ron's mentality a little bit. They will bounce back and they'll be ready to go," Hawkins said.


If so, this nationally televised game (ESPN2, kicking off at 8:15) could be very entertaining.





KEY 1: RETURN TO PHYSICAL PLAY

For four weeks, K-State's defense set a tone by being fast and physical. Against Kansas, the Wildcats got beat up front and the defense did not look fast nor physical.


"There were times that we showed we could be a pretty good defense, and we just didn't make the stop that counted. In the two games when we haven't been able to make that stop, we haven't won," Prince said.


Hawkins expects the Wildcats to return to form.


"I think the thing that really sticks out is how aggressive and physical they are, and I mean all of them. They come off the ball and come after you, they can run and they have good size and strength," CU's coach said. "They are very sound in all of that.


"It is a little bit different in terms of how they come after you. Some of the things you are doing against an even front team you aren't going to be doing against an odd front team, so it is just a little different."

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