September 5, 2008

Prince prepares team for step No. 2

Sure, it's been a while. But as Kansas State prepares to meet Football Championship Subdivision member Montana State in a televised matchup on Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, third-year coach Ron Prince points to Sept. 2, 2006. While another FCS member, Illinois State, certainly grabbed the Wildcats' attention in Prince's first game -- a 24-23 K-State win -- the Bobcats that same day upset Colorado, 19-10, in Dan Hawkins' debut in Boulder. The message here? Respect the opponent, no matter its classification.

Prince shows ample respect toward Montana State, which comes off a 59-3 win against NCAA Division II opponent Adams (Colo.) State and is guided by second-year coach Rob Ash, who is 183-104-5 in 28 career seasons.

"They won 59-3 in their first game, but also this is the same group of kids, by and large, that beat Colorado two years ago at Colorado," Prince said. "They also went to Texas A&M and Texas A&M was able to find big plays against them but for a large part of the game it could be said that they outplayed Texas A&M."

It will mark the fourth-straight season the Bobcats have played a Big 12 Conference team. Then-head coach Mike Kramer took them to a 15-10 loss at Oklahoma State in 2005 and the upset win at Colorado.

Ash saw the Aggies rout Montana State 38-7 in College Station during his debut last season.

Why the passion for the Football Bowl Subdivision teams out of the Big 12?

"We want to play a tough schedule," said Ash, 7-5 at Montana State. "We want to play an impressive schedule. Most importantly, we want to prepare our team for the Big Sky Conference, which is a tough league. You've got to play a rigorous non-conference schedule in order to do that."

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