No. 7 K-State tries to recover from disappointment

No. 7 K-State tries to recover from disappointment

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) It's hard for anybody to drop into Manhattan, Kan.

The home of seventh-ranked Kansas State is tucked in a quiet valley out in the Flint Hills, surrounded by tallgrass prairie. There's a few flights into the airport, but not many. Most of the people who live in the small college town are affiliated with the university in some way.

It's the perfect place to convalesce after a monumental disappointment.

The Wildcats were barreling toward the national championship game when they headed to Baylor last week, with a quarterback in Collin Klein who was leading the race for the Heisman Trophy.

It all came undone in 60 short minutes.

The Bears found a way to force the steady Klein into throwing three interceptions, more than he'd thrown all season. They shut down his running ability, along with backfield mate John Hubert, and then ripped apart a defense that had been among the best in the Big 12.

By the time the carnage had ended, the Bears were celebrating a 52-24 victory every bit as lopsided as the score, and the Wildcats were heading home to lick their wounds.

And with a week off before playing No. 18 Texas, there's a lot of time for licking.

``It's a double-edged sword,'' Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. ``The time is needed from a rest standpoint for our players. Maybe it would have been better to have it a little sooner than this, but that is hindsight. The other side of the coin is you have to let this fester for that period of time. That can be good or bad. It depends on how they respond to it.''

Truth be told, the Wildcats still have plenty to play for.

They can ensure only their second Big 12 championship by beating the Longhorns in the finale Dec. 1, and also punch their ticket to a BCS bowl game, even if it's not the title game.

Even that's not entirely out of the picture.

The Wildcats (10-1, 7-1) will be big fans of USC, Florida State and Oregon State on Saturday. The Trojans need to beat No. 1 Notre Dame, the Seminoles have to top sixth-ranked Florida and the Beavers have to deal No. 5 Oregon its second straight defeat for Kansas State to have any chance of slipping back into the top two spots in the BCS standings.

That's a lot to ask, of course. The Wildcats know it.

But they also know that far stranger things have happened - like going to Waco, Texas, and getting pasted by a Baylor team whose only previous Big 12 win came against lowly Kansas.

``It was something that we knew we were going to have to face,'' Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown said. ``The day after the loss was probably the worst, but we have to accept it.''

Snyder has certainly gone through this drill before.

The Wildcats were all-but-assured of a spot in the 1998 national championship game when they led in the fourth quarter against Texas A&M in the Big 12 title game. The Aggies rallied to tie the game, and Sirr Parker etched his name in history with the winning score in double overtime.

Kansas State retreated to its leafy Kansas in Manhattan to recover, but it never happened, especially after a quirk in the bowl system resulted in the Wildcats falling to the Alamo Bowl.

They wound up losing to Purdue and quarterback Drew Brees in a close game.

``I would say that we've gotten past the sad stage and more into the mad stage,'' tight end Travis Tannahill said. ``There is nothing you can do about it now.''

Even Snyder, who is always measured away from the sideline, admitted to feeling some anger.

``And I would have our players and coaches follow suit,'' he said.

``Heartbreaking does not even describe it, but at the same time, we just have to make sure that we do not let Baylor beat us twice,'' Klein said. ``We have to go back to what we know, and that is just trying to be the best we can be, contribute in helping each other and being a good teammate. We just cannot waste any days.''

The team was planning to practice Wednesday before breaking for Thanksgiving. Players will return to Manhattan in time for meetings on Sunday, and the preparation begins for Texas.

The Wildcats will know by then exactly what's at stake against the Longhorns.

``This is a special group. It's a group that has been through a lot through our time here,'' Klein said. ``It's a group that we truly care about each other in a pretty special way, as brothers would or family members would. We are still having fun, and that is important.''

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Associated Press

Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.  

Free agency notes and nuggets

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy

The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.

Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick

This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.

Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick

They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings

Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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