Kansas State football determined to right the ship after three straight Big 12 losses

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal
Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) looks for running room against Kansas State cornerback Tee Denson (8) during Saturday's game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

MANHATTAN — The frustration level was high, and with good reason.

While the score never got out of hand, neither was there much for Kansas State to celebrate Saturday night in its 33-20 loss to Iowa State, a game the Cyclones dominated across the board.

The question now for the Wildcats is how do they handle a third straight Big 12 setback and get back on track? At 3-3 overall, 0-3 in the conference, is it time for some soul-searching?

"Obviously it's frustrating, losing three games in a row," said senior captain Skylar Thompson. "Everybody on the team needs to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves what more can they give?

"Even if myself and everybody on the team feel like we're doing everything we can, there's more to give," the quarterback said. "There's more that we can do."

Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Skylar Thompson (7) drops back to pass against Iowa State Cyclones defensive end Will McDonald IV (9) during the first quarter, Oct. 16, 2021, at the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.

After facing three of the top four teams in the league to open conference play, the Wildcats hit the road Saturday for an 11 a.m. game at Texas Tech (5-2, 2-2).

"The mentality going into next week is going 1-0 every day," said sophomore running back Deuce Vaughn. "We're not really getting it out of ourselves and we'll get back to work and go 1-0 on Monday, and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That's what we have to get back to doing.

"Have a great week of preparation to give ourselves a successful chance to win on Saturday."

After the Iowa State loss, K-State coach Chris Klieman dismissed any notion that he was concerned about the team's psyche.

"No, not at all," he said.

"We're positive with the guys," Klieman added. "We've got a challenge to go on the road now and try to regroup. I love the character and leadership in that locker room, and we've just got to fight back and try to go 1-0 next week."

Thompson, the Wildcats' sixth-year quarterback, echoed his coach's sentiments.

"(Losing) sucks, but I believe in my teammates, the captains (and) the coaches that we have," Thompson said. "And we're going to stay positive and we're going to keep grinding and have no regrets."

At the same time, Thompson added, he'll be wary of any backsliding.

"There's always more you can do," he said. "I think communicating more in practice (and) holding my teammates more accountable. Making sure that we're not going through the motions.

"I'm not saying that I've seen that and let it slide. I just need to have an eye out for that stuff. Have a better eye out for what is everybody doing? How are we approaching this, and have a better feel for what that is, and then find a way to lift that up if it's sinking a little bit."

Defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, pointed to the Wildcats' 3-0 nonconference start as proof that they can recapture the magic.

"It's frustrating, but then again, we just have to remember why we're here and how much of a blessing it is and how we need to focus on every detail of the game and play faster and play better and practice," he said. "Because we're going to go against very good teams in the Big 12.

"We just need to know how to play as a team again, like we did in our three-game win streak."

Vaughn, for one, is all in.

"I feel like we in that locker room feel we have a really good football team and we have six games left in front of us," he said. "That's all we're looking forward to.

"We really feel like we're going to have a successful six games, because of the way we're going to prepare and attack this next week."

Kickoff time announced for K-State homecoming game vs. TCU

Kansas State's Oct. 30 homecoming game against TCU at Bill Snyder Family Stadium will kick off at 2:30 p.m., the Big 12 announced Monday morning.

The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

K-State has won each of the last two games in the series by a touchdown, beating Horned Frogs, 21-14, last year in Fort Worth and 24-7 in 2019 in Manhattan.