‘SENIOR DAY' WITH A BIG 12 TITLE ON THE LINE

‘SENIOR DAY' WITH A BIG 12 TITLE ON THE LINE

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Twenty-seven Kansas State seniors will take to the Bill Snyder Family Stadium turf Saturday in a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Texas Longhorns. It's a team that K-State has a four-game win streak on the line, but this victory would be the biggest of all. It would give the ‘Cats a Big 12 title.

Bill Snyder doesn't believe in favorable matchups, and he's not a man who is into luck.

No, instead the Wildcat football coach says of Kansas State's current run of four consecutive wins against the University of Texas, "We've been fortunate. We've had good fortune and we played well most of the time.

Texas is a dominate football program. You have to have good fortune to beat teams like that."

The wins came in 2007 and 2008 when Ron Prince guided the Wildcats past Longhorn teams ranked No. 4 and No. 7 in the nation. Under Snyder, K-State continued the run with victories in 2010 and 2011.

But none of those games compare with the importance of the one Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 7 p.m. before an audience on ABC when No. 6 and 10-1 Kansas State plays No. 18 and 8-3 Texas.

With a victory, K-State would secure the 2012 Big 12 championship and an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

With a victory, it's a game that Snyder says would provide "… a lifelong memory."

That's for the players, and Snyder said, "I would be pleased for our fan base, our players, our coaches, their families, and all the people that really care so much and make so many sacrifices."

As one of 27 seniors in the class of 2012, KSU kicker Anthon Cantele said, "We were picked sixth in the conference and now we're playing for the title. It couldn't be a more perfect ending."

With a victory, Kansas State would secure only its third championship in the history of the school with the others being a Big 12 title in 2003 and a Missouri Valley championship in 1934.

HERE ARE THE WINS: 2006 – Kansas State 45, No. 4 Texas 42; 2007 – Kansas State 41, No. 7 Texas 21; 2010 – Kansas State 39, Texas 14; 2011 – No. 13 Kansas State 17, Texas 13

HONOR TIME: Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein has been named a finalist for both the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the Manning Award.

Kansas State senior linebacker Arthur Brown is one of four finalists for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy. Brown is K-State's first finalist for the award, which recognizes college football's Defensive Player of the Year who best exemplifies Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

SENIOR DAY:
Emotions are sure to soar as high as a Ryan Doerr punt as on the line will be a Big 12 Conference championship, and with it, an invitation, in all likelihood, to the Fiesta Bowl.

With so much riding on the game, punter Doerr admits, "It could really be a heartbreak (if KSU loses), or one of those memories that you will never forget."

"This is big. The Big 12 Championship is on the line," said senior receiver Chris Harper. "It is a huge game. We have a lot to play for and the guys understand that."

In his first 17-year tenure as coach of the Wildcats from 1989 through 2005, Bill Snyder took players where he could find them. Many of those came from the community college ranks, others had never appeared on a Rivals recruiting list with some coming from here, and others from there.

Snyder would never use the term "over-achievers," but through the "16 Goals For Success" it is a class that has cleared every hurdle put in its path.

As juniors, this was a class picked eighth in the 2011 Big 12 preseason poll, but was No. 8 in the nation at one time and played in the Cotton Bowl. This year, K-State was tabbed to finish sixth in the Big 12, and is now one win away from the conference championship and a BCS bowl invitation.

After orchestrating the "Greatest Turn Around In College Football" during his first 17-year tenure, Snyder admitted that upon his return in 2009, "I did address this team about being in position to totally replicate that to become maybe the second greatest turnaround." First came six wins, and then seven, and then 10 last year followed by another 10 (and counting) this season.

Like the first time, Snyder said, "It was not sudden. I have always said so many times, it was not like Las Vegas grew out of the sane. It just happened gradually over time with consistency and gradual step-by-step improvement.

There are eight starters on defense – ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis, tackles John Sua and Vai Lutui, linebackers Arthur Brown and Justin Tuggle, and cornerbacks Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman; four on offense – quarterback Collin Klein, fullback Braden Wilson, tight end Travis Tannahill, and receiver Harper – and both kickers – Anthony Cantele and Doerr. Jarell Childs, Ethan Douglas and Klein were recruited by former head coach Ron Prince, while the rest are products of Snyder's recruiting.

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