K-State’s defense had proven to be very stout, but two weeks ago the line was unable to slow down the Baylor Bears’ high-flying attack, allowing 52 points in the upset.
Much of the team’s difficulty was due to the loss of Ty Zimmerman, who has been outstanding from his safety position. Against the Texas Longhorns, the K-State offense does not have the big-time play-making ability necessary to attack through the air and will look to run the ball instead, playing to the Wildcats’ strengths.
On the season, the Wildcats have given up 121.5 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 18th in the country and second in the Big 12 Conference. The leader of the defense all season has been senior Arthur Brown, who has 80 tackles on the season to lead the team.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Brown talked about how coming to K-State has helped him mature, and the emotions he will have of playing in his final home game.
“It relates a lot to my on-field play as well. Basing it off my performance, I would say that I have grown and exceeded the levels that I could even imagine,” Brown said. “I thank God for the opportunity that he gave me here. It really helped me being around a great group of guys and a great leader such as coach Snyder. That really transformed me and molded me into the person I am today.”
One person who has a healthy respect for the Wildcats’ defense is Texas head coach Mack Brown. Brown, who has not beaten K-State since 2003, talked at his Monday press conference about what makes this K-State defense so hard to score on.
“They’re stopping the run on defense and forcing you to throw it,” Brown said. “Getting long downs, forcing turnovers. [They have forced] 28 turnovers. That’s just unbelievable.”
The Longhorns will bring a dominant rushing attack to K-State, along with three runners (Joe Bergeron, Malcom Brown and Johnathan Gray) who are all more than capable of going over 100 yards in any game.
With sophomore quarterback Case McCoy now starting over David Ash, expect the Longhorns to rely even more on the running game. Though McCoy has some experience, nothing is quite like a cold December night game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium with a Big 12 title on the line.
The defense has had two weeks off since K-State’s jarring loss to Baylor to put the defeat behind them and focus their preparation on Texas. On Saturday, we will see what this defense is truly made of.