November 6, 2007

Loss of Cline felt throughout team

For now, it's unknown whether Steven Cline will travel with his Kansas State teammates to Nebraska on Saturday to offer his support and leadership as the Wildcats seek their first win in Lincoln since 2003. But the loss of the 6-foot-2, 296-pound senior nose tackle to an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee could be a big blow as the Wildcats fight for a postseason berth with three games to go.

"Being the leader that he is and being a good mainstay at nose, he's been a solid contributor for a while," defensive end Ian Campbell said. "It's really hard to lose him as a teammate and it's even worse him being a good friend of mine. It's a tough loss for him to not be able to play his last few games here with us but I'll do my best to make sure we get as many wins for his senior year as we can."

Cline, a native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was one of four players on the defense to start in all nine games this season. The fifth-year senior, who earned the starting spot in the 3-4 system during summer workouts when senior Alphonso Moran left the team, was in the midst of his most productive season after being charged with anchoring the middle of the interior. Cline had 24 tackles, including five for a loss, and tipped three passes - all career highs. He also intercepted his first pass in a 51-13 win against Baylor in the Wildcats' last home game on Oct. 27.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen," he said afterward.

He probably shared a similar sentiment when a pair of trainers helped him to the sideline with 11 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter during a damaging 30-21 loss at Iowa State last weekend. Unable to put pressure on his right leg, Cline was eventually carted to the visitor's locker room. He didn't return.

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