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Kansas State guards against an easy time with UMass

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013, at 4:59 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013, at 2:16 p.m.

— As is usually the case, Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder praised the Wildcats’ upcoming opponent during his weekly news conference Tuesday.

He also said something telling before the Massachusetts compliments began.

“Complacency would give us the biggest issue,” Snyder said when asked about the Minutemen. “This past week after we are up (34-3), complacency set in and they (Louisiana-Lafayette) outscored us (24-7). If that sort of thing happens, it doesn’t matter who you are playing. Anybody can beat anybody when you compete in that fashion.”

K-State will face an interesting challenge come 6 p.m. Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium, and it has little to do with Massachusetts. The Minutemen are one of the nation’s worst teams. They rank 118th in total offense and 119th in total defense. They are coming off a shutout loss at Wisconsin and a 24-14 home loss to Maine, of the Championship Subdivision, and Snyder admits they share some similarities to the rebuilding project he faced at K-State in 1989. The Wildcats are favored by 39 points.

Even though K-State lost to North Dakota State, a FCS opponent, in its first game, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which it struggles against Massachusetts.

That puts an onus on players to stay focused this week during practice and to improve against the Minutemen before heading to Texas for its nationally televised Big 12 opener on Sept. 21.

Snyder complained that K-State practiced poorly on Monday. That is something that needs to change, regardless of the next opponent.

“Obviously we have to improve every week,” junior center B.J. Finney said. “There is no reason to stop now. We still have a long way to go before we get to where we want to be. So every game is just kind of showing us where we are at and where we need to improve. It gives us a different look than going against ourselves like we have been. It is really crucial for us.”

Added tight end Zach Trujillo: “We are a team that wants to get better every day. As long as we keep getting better every day, that puts us in a good position.”

This game also takes on added meaning, because Massachusetts is K-State’s final nonconference opponent. This might be K-State’s final opportunity to take a big lead and get backups on the field.

The harder the Wildcats practice now, the better they will play on Saturday. The better they play on Saturday, the earlier they can focus on Texas.

“We are about a step at a time and a day at a time,” Snyder said. “I am still worried about this afternoon’s workout and making sure that it improves us and helps us become better because of it, and our youngsters approach it that way. In all honesty, I have no clue how you tune up for somebody other than the week of practice you have for them.”

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

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