September 4, 2006

Analysis: Special teams good, but the rest ...

The goal is always to win the game, so congratulations to Coach Ron Prince and the Kansas State Wildcats for being 1-0 on the season after beating the Illinois State Redbirds 24-23 on Saturday night at KSU Stadium. The game was far from a total disaster, but it was a few points away from feeling like it.

Each week during the season, we will list K-State's Keys to Victory and then come back a few days later to break down the good and bad from the previous Saturday. After the first game of the season, the highs and lows were obvious.

"I think we need to play better," Prince said. "Obviously, my responsibility is to get the team prepared to play better, particularly in circumstances where we have a pretty good feel of what a team is going to do. You could see tonight we were able to define that and were not able to do anything about it."

It was a rocky start for the Ron Prince Era, but just how rocky was it? It's time for our weekly review of the pregame Keys to Victory:

KEY 1: WORK THE OFFENSE
From the first play of the game, an interception of quarterback Dylan Meier, the Redbirds looked better prepared for the game. K-State offensive coordinator James Franklin and Prince wanted to make a dramatic statement and Illinois State appeared to know that a long pass was a possibility.

Meier looked down the middle of the field for a streaking Yamon Figurs, but the Redbirds defended it perfectly and Figurs was bumped off his route. The pass landed in the hands of Illinois State free safety Tom Nelson who returned it to the ISU 29.

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