Wildcats must step up

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The K-State football team that showed up to play Kansas last Saturday was a team fans haven’t seen for a long time.

It wasn’t the team that dominated Auburn until the final minutes of the season-opening game. It wasn’t the team that dismantled San Jose State and Missouri State.

The Wildcats who destroyed Texas, 41-21, on the road and in the Big 12 Conference opener, sure didn’t come to play against KU.

Those Wildcats swarmed around the field and tackled anything with a football in its hands.

During the KU game, the defense was so poor, it wouldn’t have been able to tackle “the Sunshine Scooter,” ESPN Analyst Lee Corso said.

The Jayhawks were able to do anything they wanted.

KU came off a bye week and forced their will upon the Wildcats. They were a step ahead of the Wildcats in every phase of the game, and they showed the passion for winning the fight.

Sound familiar?

K-State did the same thing to the Longhorns after they came off a bye.

They were the underdog road team that wasn’t supposed to compete, but the Wildcats’ swarming defense made Texas look slow and unprepared. K-State gained control from the start with an 80-yard touchdown drive on the game’s first possession, and they never looked back.

On Saturday, Mark Mangino and the Jayhawks did much of the same.

They spread out the Wildcat defense and took their chances against one-on-one coverage in the secondary.

The game didn’t start well for KU, which was pleasing to the Wildcat fans, but they quickly realized that KU was better than expected.

The Jayhawks made K?State look like Texas.

K-State looked unprepared and unwilling to take control of the game. The Wildcat defense was slow and left gaping holes for the offense.

KU took advantage.

The disappointment of losing to the Jayhawks two years in a row for the first time since 1988-1990, where they lost three in a row, hurts. The Wildcats have to get over it and prepare for a primetime showdown with Colorado on Saturday.

Colorado comes into the game on fire, winning three in a row. The middle victory in that stretch was a 27-24 shocker over then No. 3 Oklahoma.

Colorado erased a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter by running the ball right at OU, and if the K-State defense doesn’t shape up, Colorado might do the same thing to the Wildcats.

Even defensive end Ian Campbell sees the potential danger of Colorado’s running game.

“You saw what they did against OU – they wore them down,” Campbell said. “Oklahoma is known for having a good defense. It’s going to be another knockdown, drag-out fight like it was last Saturday.”

The Wildcats were worn down by KU in the second half, but linebacker Reggie Walker said he has a solution to that problem for when Colorado comes to town.

“We’ve got to wrap up and tackle,” Walker said. “If we wrap up and tackle, we’ll be fine. It’s basic fundamentals.”

Hopefully everyone on the team takes Walker’s words to heart, because if the same defense that played KU shows up against Colorado, the Wildcats could have yet another disappointing showing in front of the home crowd Saturday night.

Mike DeVader is a junior in journalism. Please send comments to sports@spub.ksu.edu.

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