September 26, 2008

Five Keys to Victory: Louisiana at K-State

When: Saturday, Aug. 30
Kickoff: 2:35 p.m. (CDT)
Location: Manhattan
Venue: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
TV: None

Kansas State coach Ron Prince knows the issue at hand. How could he not? His Wildcats struggled to stop Louisville's running game and now the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns come to Bill Snyder Family Stadium sporting -- guess what? -- a strong running game. Prince is not shying away from the challenge. He knows if his Wildcats want to succeed this season, they must tackle the problem of tackling.

"I'm not trying to in any way diminish what's going on. This will be a great challenge," Prince said. "These guys are the No. 11 rushing team in the country with the top rushing quarterback in the country and the all-time leading rusher at the school at tailback next to him. They do a variety of things with the ball to put various people on the defensive end in conflict. It's a completely different style than how Louisville plays.

"They do have some elements of those plays, but those plays don't put the ball into the quarterback's hands as much as the way they like to do it. They do a terrific job with it."

Yes, Louisiana is not Louisville, but it does pose an interesting test for the Cats. Redemption, at least a small dose of it, awaits a battered K-State defense (both on and off the field) Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

"It was very painful (to watch the Louisville game film) because I kept seeing plays that, if we had dominated on, we would have stopped the Louisville offense," linebacker Antwon Moore said. "It was just real painful because I was the cause of some of those big plays. It was hurtful. I saw what I did wrong, though."

K-State's offense had its own troubles in Louisville and knows it may need to put plenty of points on the board to ensure a win over a Louisiana team that lost 20-17 at No. 24 Illinois on Sept. 13 before blowing out Kent State 44-27 last week to move to 1-2 on the season.

"We try to respect every opponent. We understand that they're a hungry bunch of guys, and they play hard," junior quarterback Josh Freeman said. "Obviously, going into every game, you feel like you have areas where you can exploit them and do certain things. I know they are going to come in here and give us all they got. We're going to be prepared for a fight."

The Wildcats' 38-29 loss at Louisville certainly changed the tone of this contest and maybe the rest of the season, but if the Wildcats want to gather themselves and alter the southern trajectory of their season, the Ragin' Cajuns are a good place to start. And it all begins with a few keys to winning the game and entering the Big 12 portion of their schedule with a 3-1 record.

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