Kansas State had a renaissance season in 2011: 10-3, second place in the conference and victories over Miami, Missouri and every Texas school in the Big 12. That victory over Miami set the table for the Wildcats.
K-State won 28-24 at Miami, staging a goal-line stand in the final minute, leading to a 7-0 start that once again illuminated the coaching magic of Bill Snyder.
“It was a stepping stone and something we wanted to build off of,” said KSU quarterback Collin Klein. “But we moved forward last year and we got to have the same mentality this year.”
That's because Miami is back, only in Manhattan this time, for a Saturday special that ranks with OU-Notre Dame as the Big 12's best non-conference matchups.
Not much was expected from the 2011 Wildcats. Until they won at Miami. Then K-State beat Baylor and RG3 the next week in another tight fit, and you knew Snyder, the crafty old wizard, was up to his tricks again.
“I definitely feel like that was a confidence booster not only for me but for our team as a whole,” said linebacker Arthur Brown.
Now Kansas State is back on the disrespected list, picked sixth in the Big 12 despite a wealth of experience returning. Plus Klein, the battering ram quarterback who last season against Miami ran for 93 yards on 22 carries and completed 12 of 18 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
Just like last season, these Wildcats opened the season in dubious fashion. KSU was tied with I-AA Missouri State 9-9 in the third quarter before blitzing to a 51-9 victory. A year ago, Kansas State opened with a 10-7 victory over I-AA Eastern Kentucky.
But K-State got well with that victory at the new Orange Bowl. The Wildcats could do it again.