November 2, 2007

Cats hope to continue growth rate

The scoreboard revealed Kansas State delivered its most impressive Big 12 victory in nearly four years in throttling Baylor 51-13 last weekend, but Coach Ron Prince afterward recounted many reasons why that wasn't the case. In bouncing back from perhaps their worst first half of the season, the Wildcats experienced what Prince called a "growth moment." The second-year coach will look for it to carry on as the Wildcats visit Iowa State on Saturday.

"It's one of those things where you like to say you can learn lessons when you win," Prince said. "The lessons are many. We cannot start slow in the future like this."

Not if K-State, 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12, hopes to be rolling by the time it closes its Big 12 schedule at home against No. 9 Missouri in three weeks. The Wildcats are still in the hunt for their first North title since 2003, but in trailing the Tigers by one game and in back of No. 8 Kansas by 1- games, will need some help with three games to go in their league schedule.

In fact, the only North team out of contention is Iowa State, 1-8 and 0-5, which still searches for its first league win but has shown signs of life since being blasted at home by No. 22 Texas 56-3 on Oct. 13. The Cyclones proved more competitive in back-to-back losses against No. 5 Oklahoma (17-7) and No. 9 Missouri (42-28).

But Iowa State, which has lost six straight games, has been outscored 49-10 in the first quarter in the Big 12 and hasn't won at home since it beat Iowa on Sept. 15.

Still, first-year Coach Gene Chizik believes the Cyclones are growing incrementally as well.

"They really tried to hang in there and fight and scrap and they did it (against Missouri)," he said. "We can't start slow but in the last two weeks we've mustered up enough about us to stay in the games and fight. Although the results right now aren't satisfactory, in trying to look for a bright spot those (last two) games would be what I'd consider to be a bright spot."

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