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With Bowl Eligibility Secured, K-State Seniors Look to Cap Home Careers with Win

November 24, 2017
By Corbin McGuire

Senior Day is an emotional experience in itself, between extra family coming into town and mentally preparing for the last home game of a career. Add in the thought of it possibly being not only the last game at home but also the last game, period, and the week of preparation can be draining.

Fortunately for K-State’s 19 seniors, the latter possibility was erased with last Saturday’s road win vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State. The upset was K-State’s sixth victory of the season, making the Wildcats bowl eligible for the eighth-straight season.

Any thoughts of, “Will I have another Monday practice?” were erased with the win over Oklahoma State.

Now, Saturday’s 2:30 p.m., home finale against Iowa State (7-4, 5-3) can solely be about sending the Wildcat seniors out with a win at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, not extending their careers.

“Honestly, it might allow us to play a little more freely this game,” senior punter Nick Walsh said. “That’s a lot of pressure if we were to lose to Okie State, coming in being Senior Day and needing one more win to go to a bowl game. I’m not saying we couldn’t do it, but it definitely helps that we can come in saying that we’re bowl eligible and still have one game left to do our thing and play to the best of our ability.”

There is certainly still a pride factor involved. K-State has won six of its last seven Senior Day games. This group wants to add another win to that trend.

“You want to win it because it’s Senior Day and you want to get that seventh win,” senior linebacker Trent Tanking said. “As far as pressure, yeah, there’s a little taken off. You’re going to a bowl game, regardless, but there’s added pressure with it being Senior Day.”

“No one in the history of sports wants to lose on Senior Day,” added Walsh. “We don’t want to let anybody down. We don’t want to let ourselves down. It’s a big game and means a lot to us.”


Of the 19 Wildcat seniors who will be recognized before Saturday’s game, five — C.J. Reese, Glenn Williams, Bryce Fitzner, Tyler White and Mitch Copeland — will graduate early from K-State and forego some playing eligibility.

The 14 others — Brogan Barry, Davis Clark, Jesse Ertz, Will Geary, Jayd Kirby, Mitch Lochbihler, Cre Moore, Sean Newlan, Ray Price, Tanner Wood, Matthew McCrane, Drew Scott, Walsh and Tanking — look to cherish their final moments in Bill Snyder Family Stadium with one another and add to a vast collection of positive memories.

“A couple of the seniors were talking that this will be game 64 us,” Tanking said. “To think of it in terms like that, you’d think you’ve been here forever, but when you look back on your time it seems like it’s flown by.”

The majority of this senior class consists of fifth-year Wildcats, like Tanking. Kirby transferred in from a community college in 2015, while Price arrived as a community-college transfer in 2016.

Regardless of when they started their careers at K-State, they all made it to the end. They pushed through summer workouts, played through pain and became closer through it all.

“All the ones that stuck it out and are still here, we have a friendship that nobody can take from us,” Wood said. “All of these guys that made it through, we’re not going to quit on anything. We’re going to see it through and do what we can to be the best at it.”

“I consider all of these guys my brothers,” added Kirby.

Between Thursday nights of playing cards, early morning duck hunts, skeet shooting sessions and various locker room stories, like when Barry picked up a stuffed bobcat after beating Texas Tech, these seniors have plenty of off-the-field memories to hold onto. And more will certainly be made during the Wildcats’ upcoming bowl trip.

For now, however, they are focused on securing a win in front of their home crowd one last time.

“It’s probably going to be a little emotional,” Kirby said. “It’s going to be running through your head but, at the same time, you have to stay focused on the game and what you’re about to go do. It’s going to be bittersweet.”

“The guys you’ve formed relationships with that you’ll carry the rest of your life, knowing that happened on that field out there, running out one more time, being able to see my family on Senior Day,” Tanking said, “it’ll be an emotional experience, but it’s one I’m ready for.”



We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.


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