Wildcats return home after break to play Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic defensive back Ocie Rose (1) brings down Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (82) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Florida Atlantic defensive back Ocie Rose (1) brings down Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (82) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Perhaps nothing is more frustrating in football than a tough loss followed by a week off.

Especially after just one game.

Yet after Kansas State lost 26-13 at Stanford to open the season, that is exactly what the Wildcats had to endure: One whole week watching just about everybody take the field, while they stayed at home and rued their many missed opportunities in California.

“I didn’t know we had a bye week until coach told us that Sunday,” Kansas State linebacker Mike Moore said. “He said we had a bye week and I thought about the fact that we had to wait another week to play. It was kind of frustrating, but it comes with the season.”

Moore believes the Wildcats made the most of the practice time, correcting the problems they had against the Cardinal in preparation for their home opener Saturday against Florida Atlantic.

The Owls (1-1) are coming off a lopsided loss to Miami last weekend.

“It is definitely exciting to get back in front of the home fans,” Wildcats running back Justin Silmon said. “We did not like the result of the first game, and we definitely want to fix that, but it is going to be good to play in front of the fans again too.”

The Wildcats will be christening the latest renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium, a $15 million project to enclose the northeast corner. It follows nearly $200 million in recent renovations and gives fans the ability to walk around the entire stadium concourse for the first time.

It should also be nice for the Owls. The project created new visiting locker rooms.

Florida Atlantic is in its third season under Charlie Partridge, and still looking for the kind of breakthrough victory that can prove there’s been progress. Partridge said he needs look no further than Kansas State counterpart Bill Snyder for a blueprint in building a program.

“I have met him a couple times,” he said. “It is one of those turnarounds that all of us who are working to build a program — you have to look at what he did. How he did it. It has to apply to where you are, but it has really been something for all of us in the progression to watch Bill Snyder.

“He steps away for a few years, the program flounders,” Partridge said. “He comes right back and he builds and builds it right into a bowl-contending team again. Very impressive.”

As the Wildcats and Owls prepare to meet Saturday, here are some of the key story lines:

BYE, BYE, BYE: The Wildcats are just 18-9 under Snyder following a midseason bye, though most of those games have come during the Big 12 schedule against tougher competition. Their last two were a 36-34 loss at No. 20 Oklahoma State and a 31-24 loss to No. 2 Baylor.

QB HERITAGE: Florida Atlantic quarterback Jason Driskel is the brother of Jeff Driskel, who played the position at Florida and Louisiana Tech — and coincidentally, faced the Wildcats last season .

“Driskel presents some problems because he is a good scrambler as well,” Snyder said. “He is not the easiest guy in the world to tackle. His scramble ability and his ability to throw the ball pose some issues. He handles the offense quite well.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Kansas State only allowed 70 yards of offense and one touchdown to Stanford in the second half, an encouraging sign for a group that struggled much of last season.

SPEAKING OF DEFENSE: The Owls held Miami to just 62 yards over its first five drives in their 38-10 loss. They gradually got worn down by the bigger, stronger Hurricanes as the game went on.

“I expect to see our guys overcome the adversity of a loss,” Partridge said. “Our kids were appropriately disappointed after the loss. It was a tough loss. I expect our kids to get over the adversity of that loss and prepare with a competitive spirit.”

RARE MEETING: The schools have met just once before with the Wildcats beating the Owls 45-0 in 2006. Kansas State is 21-4 against current members of Conference USA.

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