MANHATTAN — Dalton Risner knew that Monday would be a tough day for the Kansas State Wildcats.
That they had escaped their season opener with a 27-24 victory over South Dakota mattered far less to coach Bill Snyder than how they achieved it.
Turnovers, dropped passes and missed assignments all played a part in a lackluster performance, but what really stuck in Snyder's craw were the penalties. Thirteen of them. For 129 yards.
"He hammers it," Risner, the Wildcats' right offensive tackle, said of Snyder's reaction. "Disappointed, right?
"It's one of those things that when you hear the saying, 'I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed?' We'll he's mad and disappointed."
For good reason. In a program that prides itself on discipline, the 13 penalties were the most under Snyder since the Wildcats were flagged 14 times against Nebraska in 2005, and the 129 yards were the most since they racked up 136 against Kent State in 2011.
"We just were not a well-disciplined football team during the course of the ballgame, as evidenced by 13 penalties," Snyder said Tuesday during his weekly media briefing. "I can't remember a time when we've done that."
Neither could Risner, a fifth-year senior who has started since he was a redshirt freshman.
"That doesn't just come from the offensive standpoint," he said. "That was special teams and defense. We had a ton of penalties."
That No. 18-ranked Mississippi State visits Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday doesn't leave the Wildcats much time make corrections.
The issues were especially confounding for an offensive line that returned all five starters from a year ago.
"Just issues that you can't have, and I know it's the first game when there's so many excuses in the world," Risner said of the line play, which included a pair of holding penalties and a false start. "But if there's a coach that doesn't care about the excuses, it's Coach Snyder.
"As an offense and as a team, we have to take pride in that. That's embarrassing and that's not something that anyone has to tell us."
It wasn't just the offense or the offensive line.
"We definitely talked about it," said junior defensive tackle Jordan Mittie. "We had too many PIs (pass interference) and a roughing the passer on defense.
"We definitely talked about it and we're going to get it corrected."
While critical of his players, Snyder acknowledged that they frequently are asked to react in a split-second, under difficult circumstances.
"You and I, when something happens, we have a chance to step back and process the information and try to make the right decision," he said. "You're on the football field, you don't have that opportunity. You've got to react right now.
"I've got to be able to get our coaches to put them in those kinds of positions on a regular bases so they learn how to respond to it. Once they've experienced it and done it and you repetition it that way, then you have a chance to react appropriately."
But ultimately, Snyder added, it's up to the players.
"I don't clean it up; they do," he said. "Either you define what self-discipline really means and you adhere to it, or you're going to continue to cost us until we make a firm decision and say, 'That's it. You can't play until you get this fixed.'
"It's like anything else in life. There are certain rules in life and if you follow them, it's probably in your best interest, and if you don't, sooner or later there's going to be some consequences that you're not going to like."
Running back Alex Barnes may not have been penalized, but he fumbled three times in the game and lost two of them, including one that helped set up a potential tying field goal attempt for South Dakota as time ran out. So he wasn't looking forward to the postmortem, either.
"It was pretty rough," he said. "It wasn't really much fun for any of us.
"We can't play like that the rest of the season and expect to win any games. Just realistically, we're glad it happened when it did and we're glad that we were able to pull a victory out of it, but it's something that we can't do going forward."
McCoy still out
Sophomore Mike McCoy, a backup running back from Topeka High who was expected to be a factor in the Wildcats' backfield, continues to be sidelined with an unspecified ailment.
"Mike will be going through some evaluations, which will take place this week," Snyder said. "He won't be on the field on Saturday."
Backup wide receiver Isaiah Harris, who missed the opener, will be available, Snyder said.
Snyder has expressed a special fondness for sophomore kicker Blake Lynch, who won the job in preseason camp. Against South Dakota, Lynch was good on all four of his field goal attempts, including a 44-yarder.
"The little guy, Super Midget, hit the ball awfully well and I was awfully pleased with him," Snyder said. "I've just seen him grow so much in a short month's period of time, so I’m pleased with that."
A win is a win
For all their issues against South Dakota, the Wildcats still managed to erase a double-digit halftime deficit and emerge with a victory. That fact wasn't lost on Snyder or the players.
"After the game, that was kind of the message, that it wasn't pretty but we're still on track to accomplish our goals," Barnes said. "I think that was big, hearing that from (Snyder), and all of us kind of took that to heart."