November 23, 2007

Cats know stakes are high at Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. -- Little could Ron Prince predict standing on the blue field in Boise, Idaho on Dec. 27, 2004, the then Virginia assistant was getting a taste of Fresno State program that could cause problems for him again nearly three years later. That day, the Bulldogs topped the 18th-ranked Cavaliers 37-34 in overtime in the MPC Computers Bowl. Now they look to improve their own bowl stock against a Prince-led Kansas State team needing a win for a potential postseason berth.

The stakes for the split-national 2:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday at 41,031-capacity Bulldog Stadium are simple.

With a win, K-State would keep one of its goals intact in reaching bowl eligibility for a second straight season. If selected for a bowl, the Wildcats would likely have about five or six weeks to rejuvenate and practice before their final game. The most likely destination remains the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

A loss would send the Wildcats limping back to Manhattan with a losing record, put Prince at under .500 entering his third season and leave K-State, which made their first BCS bowl appearance in 2003, as the only Big 12 program besides Baylor to not become bowl eligible in at least three of the last four seasons.

"It's a challenging situation when you put yourself in the spot that we have," said Prince, whose team has lost its last three games. "We've had some control over our situation and this didn't have to be so dramatic at the end but that is where we are."

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