Kansas State coach Chris Klieman says wins are big for Big 12
Big 12 football’s non-conference games were a topic of conversation in the off-season. Maybe every off-season. Kansas State coach Chris Klieman can’t testify to the latter; this is his first season.
But the league coaches talked about the importance of winning non-conference games against fellow Power 5 Conference schools. Then over last weekend, some Big 12 teams did just that. Kansas State won at Mississippi State 31-24. TCU won 34-13 at Purdue. Oklahoma won 48-14 at UCLA. Kansas won 48-24 at Boston College. And West Virginia beat North Carolina State 44-27. The Big 12 went 5-2 against Power 5 foes and now has the best record (6-4) in intra-Power 5 play.
“We talked about it in our league meetings that these non-conference games are so critical to the perception of the Big 12,” Klieman said. “I thought it was a great for the conference to get some signature wins. I’m excited because it’s just going to show you every week is going to be a dogfight when we get into our league and you better come prepared every Saturday.”
Kansas State was pushed around by Mississippi State last season, losing 31-10. But this year, K-State did the bullying.
“The biggest factor in us winning the game is the belief that we were going to win the game,” Klieman said. “I thought we matched up well, and I thought we’d have an opportunity if we played well to win the game.
“The kids believed it every day. We got to halftime and it was 17-14 and we probably hadn’t played our best. We probably gave them seven points. I think the guys just thought, ‘Hey, if we keep the pressure on them, not panic when adversity strikes, we’re going to win.’ That’s what I saw on the sideline. I didn’t see anybody panic, anybody have any real stress on their eyes when we got down a touchdown. It was kind of like, ‘Hey, we still have time.’ I was so impressed with how the guys responded in the fourth quarter. We got stronger in the fourth quarter.”