The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 31, 2012

Wildcats still play like underdogs

MANHATTAN, Kan. — It may seem odd that an undefeated team, ranked third in the country and barreling toward the BCS title game, would consider itself an underdog.

“We’re always going to consider ourselves the underdogs just because of what everybody says all the time about us and how we’re not the best athletes and everything else,” punter Ryan Doerr said. “I don’t think really much has changed to that.”

Despite its recent success, including wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech the past two weeks, Kansas State still has much to prove.

Voters in the coaches’ and Harris polls still have them slotted behind unbeaten Oregon, and Notre Dame is giving chase, and that poses a problem with the two polls making up a big chunk of the BCS rankings.

“We still have a lot of people doubting us,” fullback Braden Wilson said. “That’s one of the things that drives us. We still think about that. We still use that.

“But at the same time, whether people are telling us we’re going to win or telling us we’re going to lose, it’s not going to change how we approach the game,” Wilson said. “When people are doubting, it’s just a little more motivation.”

It’s easy to find examples of how players have developed this underdog mentality.

Kansas State rarely gets big-name recruits, and most of the players making up the roster were rated three stars or less out of high school. So they’re saddled with a reputation of being not quite as quick, not quite as fast, not quite as strong as many other schools.

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