MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder spent his 76th birthday doing what he has for most of the past three decades: Trying to figure out how to slow down an opponent.
This year happened to be No. 2 TCU, a tougher one than most.
"If you fall behind with a team like that, it is pretty difficult to get back on the table," Snyder said grimly this week, "and that is what happens to a lot of teams."
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It is certainly what happened to Texas, which was routed 50-7 by the Horned Frogs (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) last weekend. The Longhorns trailed 30-0 by the second quarter and they didn't get on the scoreboard until a throw-away touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Along the way, Heisman Trophy candidate Trevone Boykin threw for 322 yards and five TDs without an interception. KaVontae Turpin caught four touchdown passes and Josh Doctson caught two, one from running back Shaun Nixon. And lest anyone think the Horned Frogs were one-dimensional, they also piled up 228 yards rushing.
"They're a team that can go fast, and if you are not paying attention, they will go deep on you no matter what the time is," Kansas State linebacker Elijah Lee said.
The Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) could be in trouble if the game becomes a shootout.
Joe Hubener is expected to be back under center on Saturday after briefly getting knocked out of last week's loss at Oklahoma State. The injury, combined with other injuries to the position, forced Kansas State to use wide receiver Kody Cook as the emergency quarterback.
Cook played well before getting hurt, too. Hubener wound up finishing the game.
"They're a lot like what we used to be like. They run the option, they read it, they run the power. They try to get you on islands, whether it's in the pass or in the run," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "They're going to make you beat them. You've got to get ready to go."
Snyder has been working all week to make sure his guys are ready to go.
What else would he be doing on his birthday?
"Like every Wednesday for the past 26 years," he said. "I will not do anything, and I never really have except when I was a little toot. My mother made me blow out the candles on the cake."
TACKLING PROBLEMS: Not everything is rosy at TCU, where Patterson spent the week bemoaning his team's tackling. "I don't think we've ever had 22 missed tackles in a ballgame in my lifetime here," he said. "There's a standard of what we play like."
MORE ON INJURIES: The Wildcats are already without quarterback Jesse Ertz and top cornerback Dante Barnett. Third-string quarterback Alex Delton is also hurt, while Cook may not play because of the injury he sustained against the Cowboys.
PROVE IT: Just a few seconds and a long field goal kept Kansas State from making this a game between the unbeaten. But that doesn't mean the Wildcats don't view TCU as an opportunity to make a statement. "You can't prove yourself playing against the 122nd-ranked team," Hubener said. "You need these games against quality programs where you can come out and shock the world."
STREAKING FROGS: TCU is riding a 13-game winning streak, second only to Ohio State (18). The Horned Frogs have also won 21 of their last 27 conference road games. But Patterson is just 1-2 against his alma mater since taking over in Fort Worth.
CROWD CONTROL: At a time when attendance is dipping across college football, this will be the 23rd consecutive sellout at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. "Everyone heard about the loss we took, so we have that weighing on our shoulders," Wildcats offensive lineman Terrale Johnson said. "But we have this great opportunity in front of us ... to make our fans happy."