In Tuesday’s press conference, junior linebacker Will Davis said that head coach Bill Snyder told the team a story about water, which boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit — 211 degrees doesn’t get you anywhere.
“It’s about every guy getting a half a percent better every day,” Davis said. “You’ll reach that 212 and you’ll start boiling.”
There have been parts of the season when K-State was around 200 degrees. For other parts of the season, K-State was around 20 degrees.
The Wildcats have proven that they can play with top-ranked opponents. K-State came within seven points of both Baylor and TCU, and the Wildcats came up just short against Oklahoma State, losing 34-36. Freshman offensive lineman Dalton Risner said the team has known it was on the brink of greatness since the Oklahoma State game back in October.
While hanging with tough opponents is good, beating tough opponents is what gets you places.
“The next day on SportsCenter they’re not talking about how Kansas State played so good against No. 2 Baylor,” Risner said. “They just say how Baylor snuck by.”
This team is tired of losing. The remainder of K-State’s schedule offers plenty of opportunities for the Wildcats to win; they already have their toughest opponents out of the way. Risner said the team isn’t underestimating anyone.
“We’re 3-5,” Risner said. “We’re 0-5 in the Big 12. We’re in no position to take a team lightly. We’ve got to prove to everyone we’re the team that we know we are.”
This will start with Texas Tech this Saturday in Lubbock, Texas. K-State will hit the road to face a 5-5 team that is on a three-game losing streak. Tech is just one win away from bowl eligibility. With K-State and Texas the only two teams remaining on their schedule, the Red Raiders are not a team to be taken lightly.
“They’re a quality football team, and they’re going to show up ready to play,” junior quarterback Joe Hubener said. “It’s really just going to come down to who executes better and really just who shows up to play.”
K-State needs to win three more games to gain bowl eligibility. With four games left on the schedule, that leaves little room for error. Snyder said the team has been working diligently in practice to improve execution. Overall, he said he believes the team’s spirit and effort have been good.
“I think they are meeting the challenge, so to speak,” Snyder said.
Hubener said the team is aware of what needs to be accomplished in the long term. K-State has been to five straight bowl games, and Hubener said he does not want that streak to come to an end this season.
“We don’t want to be the team that ends that,” Hubener said. “We know that we’ve got four more opponents, and we’ve got to win at least three. We think we’re certainly capable of winning all four. It starts this weekend against Texas Tech.”
K-State isn’t at 212 degrees yet, but this team knows what they need to do to get there. It’s all a matter of executing over these last four games.