The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 31, 2013

Defense steps up for K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State replaced nine starters from a defense that was among the best in the Big 12 last year, including its entire defensive line, two linebackers and three defensive backs.

It only stands to reason that there’d be growing pains this season.

In the opener against North Dakota State, the Wildcats (3-4, 1-3) couldn’t stop the lower-division school from marching downfield in the closing minutes, and backing into the end zone for a touchdown that stunned the defending Big 12 champs and sent a ripple through college football.

Things didn’t go a whole lot better the next few weeks as the Wildcats tried to gel, but the past three games — narrow losses to Oklahoma State and fifth-ranked Baylor, and an impressive win over West Virginia — has brought a sense of optimism to the unit.

“Consistency is a part of it,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. “A product of repetition and the discipline that it takes to be where you’re supposed to be time in and time out.”

Discipline and repetition — never getting too high or too low — is something that has become a hallmark of Kansas State under Snyder. The program routinely had some of the best defenses in the nation during the 1990s, and that was the case again a year ago.

But with stalwarts such as Arthur Brown gone to the NFL, it’s been a slow process of getting back to the same level of smash-mouth defense. The Wildcats shut down West Virginia in a 35-12 blitz last week, and will try to take another step against Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) on Saturday.

“I think we have made strides,” Snyder said. “I think the degree of toughness with which they play has been enhanced, not over just the last game-and-a-half, but over the course of the season I think it has gradually moved in that direction.”

The fleet-footed and high-octane offense of Baylor came to town next, and Kansas State’s defense fared better than anybody else against the Bears this season. Not only did it hold them to a season-low 35 points, it also allowed Kansas State to carry the lead into the fourth quarter.

“It definitely gives our guys confidence that we’re playing one of the best offensive teams,” junior defensive end Ryan Mueller said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Emmert seeks big changes to NCAA

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them....

    April 24, 2014

  • Mets edge Cards

    NEW YORK — With a 360-foot relay in the ninth inning, the New York Mets prevented a hard-fought victory from vanishing in the wind....

    April 24, 2014

  • Seahawks will open against Packers

    NEW YORK — As Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to kick off the NFL’s regular season by hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4....

    April 24, 2014

  • Heat hold off ’Cats

    MIAMI — LeBron James drove to the rim as time was winding down, got clobbered by Josh McRoberts and sat on the hardwood gathering himself for a few seconds afterward. It was fitting. Miami took Charlotte’s best shot, and survived....

    April 24, 2014

  • Mavs even series with Spurs

    SAN ANTONIO — Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece....

    April 24, 2014

  • Popovich wins Coach of the Year

    The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Tony Allen’s hounding defense a challenge, even for Durant

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant is tired of hearing about Tony Allen’s defense....

    April 23, 2014

  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career

    WASHINGTON — Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry....

    April 23, 2014

  • Lawmakers seek change in MLB Cuban player policy

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two Florida lawmakers motivated by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s dangerous escape from Cuba are trying to change the way Major League Baseball treats Cuban players and are willing to tie state money for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Physical stars ruffling Ducks’ feathers

    DALLAS — Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked about the Dallas Stars trying to get under his skin or into his head with their physical play in Game 3. “Trying to hit my head how about?” the already stitched-up and visor-protected ...

    April 23, 2014

Video
Facebook