The chance to earn a bid to a bowl game was looking dim for Snyder and the Wildcats as they started Big 12 play with an 0-6 record. Despite injuries to key players and an embarrassing 55-0 loss at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners, the Cats are in Memphis preparing for their sixth consecutive postseason appearance against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Regardless of the outcome, the commitment to improvement and the never say die attitude displayed by the players marks this as a winning season in my book.
To wrap up the regular season the Wildcats came out victorious in their final three games against Iowa State, Kansas and West Virginia. Senior defensive back Morgan Burns proved to be a key piece to the late season success as he found the end zone four times. Dispite never taking snaps on the offensive side of the ball, Burns made his presence known in the special teams department returning four kickoffs for touchdowns and also scoring on a blocked punt. Burns, a Wichita native was named a first-team All-Big 12 kick returner and a second-team All-American as an all-purpose player.
The upcoming matchup with the Razorbacks will be no easy task for Snyder and company as they will be facing one of the most dangerous offenses in the SEC. Arkansas QB Brandon Allen currently leads the SEC in total QBR and has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season along with 29 touchdowns. This will definitely be a cause for concern for K-State as pass defense has been a weak point throughout the season.
At the end of the day, this Wildcat team will be judged by its wins and losses, but there is much more to this team than a 6-6 record. What Snyder has created in Manhattan is something much bigger than the game of football. Sure, winning to Snyder is important, but what he is most concerned with is the character and well-being of his players. Now a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Snyder sees the game of football as a way to prepare his players for the many challenges they will face in life outside of football. No doubt the Wildcats have faced their fair share of challenges and setbacks this season but they never gave in, and this truly exhibits everything Snyder stands for. One thing that I will never forget from the 2015 Wildcats is their commitment to improvement and their ability to keep fighting till the very end. Certainly Snyder has got his players to buy into his system as he has done so many times in the past.
Though the Wildcats weren’t an elite program this year I couldn’t be more proud of how this team fought its way to a bowl game. The Cats will be presented with one final test against a very talented Arkansas team. As long as the Cats maintain committed to improving and continue to possess the never say die attitude, K-State fans everywhere should have nothing to hang their heads about, win or loose. Under Snyder, the Kansas State brand has grown to represent a team that will be fighting ever fighting till the very end.
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