You would have to go back a long ways — Nov. 4, 2017 to be precise — to find the last time Chris Klieman walked into the postgame following a loss.
After that 33-21 setback against South Dakota State, Klieman's North Dakota State Bison bounced back to win 21 straight games, including a pair of FCS national championships. Tack on his first three games as Kansas State's head coach and the streak reached 24 and he had a pretty nice run.
But just as he told his players after Saturday night's 26-13 loss at Oklahoma State, Klieman was adamant Monday morning on the Big 12 coaches teleconference that one loss was not going to throw him off his game.
"You have to put it behind you," said Klieman, whose Wildcats play host to unbeaten Baylor at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. "It doesn't matter, even when you win games, you have 24 hours to either enjoy it or be upset about how you played and you have to move forward.
"It's no different than what we're asking the players to do. You have to find a way to move forward; you have to learn from it, though."
There were plenty of teaching moments in a game where the Wildcats never did find an offensive rhythm, and despite holding a potent Oklahoma State team to 26 points, the defense gave up 526 yards. Cowboys running back Chuba Hubbard alone rushed for 296 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown.
"The thing about it is I think you can learn a lot more from a loss sometimes than you do with a win," Klieman said. "We're going to learn an awful lot with this.
"We're going to get with the guys today and we'll go through the film and start working on Baylor."
That echoed the sentiment expressed by the K-State players after the game. It was the same coach who had spoken to them following the first three victories.
"He was great," quarterback Skylar Thompson. "He just told us we knew adversity was coming at one point in time — it was just a matter of time until it came — and it came this week.
"And we've just got to get back to the drawing board and focus on our weaknesses we displayed … keep our hands around one another and keep fighting, keep playing for the guy next to you, keep playing for the coach next to you and stick together. Ultimately I think when things aren't going well, that's what really defines a team."
Running back James Gilbert, who scored the Wildcats' lone touchdown on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter, concurred.
"It was really tough (but) nobody pointed fingers, nobody blamed nobody," he said.
If his players expected Klieman to rant and rave after the loss, they would have been disappointed.
"I promised those guys that I'm not going to change," Klieman said during his postgame news conference. "I'm still going to challenge them, I'm still going to love them (and) I'm still going to be the same guy.
"My challenge to them is, 'Don't you guys change. You guys are preparing your tails off.' We didn't execute exceptionally well tonight, but our preparation I thought the last two weeks was dynamite, and if we keep believing and buying in and stacking those days of having great preparation, it'll pay off."
Knowles still out
Klieman remained uncertain Monday about the status of wide receiver Malik Knowles, who missed the Oklahoma State game with what the coach called a "lower body injury."
"We get him back today with the players," he said. "I don't think he'll practice today.
"We're looking at making some decisions with him probably on Wednesday but more likely on Thursday. We're hopeful that he's going to have an opportunity to play."