September 28, 2007

Five Keys to Victory: K-State at Texas

When: Saturday, Sept. 29
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. (CDT)
Location: Austin, Texas
Venue: Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (80,638)
TV: ABC (regional)

Ron Prince knows what his Kansas State Wildcats are getting into. They are opening Big 12 action on the road -- something the program has done for nine straight years -- and they will do so in the hostile environment on the Texas Longhorns' home field. Winning will not be easy and most expect the Wildcats to lose. That line of thinking is just fine with Prince.

"I think we'll be the underdog in most games. At least that's our mindset. We kind of feel like that is going to be the case for a while," Prince said. "We have a very young team in certain spots and a lot of inexperienced players. They might be juniors and seniors, but in some cases this is their first time really playing in these kinds of games. We'll have to have some good leadership from coaches and veteran players who have played in these kinds of games before or in this type of atmosphere."

Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium will play host to more than 80,000 screaming fans, 95 percent of which will be cheering for the Texas Longhorns. Almost everyone on hand will be well aware of the fact that the Wildcats upset then-fourth-ranked Texas last season in Manhattan, 45-42.

"Last year, it was tough for all of us. We had something special going, but we didn't finish the game," Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said. "We felt like we had a good handle on them. We've just got to come out and do the same thing again this year and finish. That's the big thing for us."

Last year's game came in the seventh week of Big 12 action. This time around, the two teams are kicking off conference play on their schedules. That has added a layer of difficulty for the Wildcats' preparation.

"We had the benefit of observing how they played against an Ohio State a year ago," Prince said. "This year's schedule has been a little different for them, but they have played some really good teams. Central Florida was a terrific game with a team. We all know TCU is a very good program as well. You just had more games to look at from a year ago. I think where it is in the schedule, both teams are starting to learn about themselves, and trying to figure out what their identity is. I think a year ago, we both had some pretty good tendencies."

In other words, both teams will be seeing a lot of unknown schemes on both sides of the ball. It could make for another thrilling game.

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