October 10, 2006

Analysis: Offense comes through for Cats

For young teams or new programs, winning can sometimes be about learning. In the eyes of Kansas State coach Ron Prince, the ground for the Wildcats' 31-27 come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State was sewn when the Cats rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Illinois State 24-23 in the team's season-opener.

"It was terrific our team had the chance to win a close game. I thought that was something we needed to do. This game (Oklahoma State), I told one of our coaches after the game, I don't think this game here would have been possible without Illinois State," Prince said. "When you have a chance to work those end-of-the-game sequences and really understand some of those factors that are going to occur at the end of the game, that's experience and something we keep working on and they keep responding to and that's terrific. A lot of things that happen on first or second down or third down, we'll continue to try to get better at those things and every player keeps sharpening his own sword throughout his career to improve his techniques, but when a team has a very collective mentality and resolve toward how to play the game then you have a chance to hit on all cylinders.

"By no means did we play a perfect game, but it was scripted about as well as (possible)with two special teams scores and the defense and doing some things offensively. I'll take it."

Prince knew with five freshmen and two sophomores starting on offense, his team would need scoring support from the special teams and/or defense. He got that in the form of a pair of special teams touchdowns, but he was also correct in his overall evaluation. This was a far from perfect showing by the Cats.

And that may be really good news. A young K-State team found a way to overcome its own troubles and win a game. Granted, the win came against Oklahoma State, a team that went through its own growing pains a year ago, but the Wildcats are now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play.

Prince will indeed take it.

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