ANALYSIS: K-State’s defense was the key to success in win over Kansas

Sophomore wide receiver Landry Weber runs the ball during K-State’s football game against KU in David Booth Memorial Stadium on Nov. 2, 2019. The Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks in this year’s Sunflower Showdown with a final score of 38-10. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State defense shut down in a 38-10 win over Kansas in Lawrence Saturday afternoon.

Coming into the game, Kansas’s new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon seemed to have turned the Jayhawks’ offense into a powerhouse. They scored 48 points on the road at Texas and 37 in a home win against Texas Tech.

That newfound offensive power ran into a buzz that held the Jayhawks to 241 yards, 10 points and forced two turnovers. The Jayhawks only converted two of 10 first downs.

Except for a very late touchdown by head coach Les Miles’ son Manny Miles, the K-State defense kept KU out of the end zone all day.

“It was our best performance,” head coach Chris Klieman said. “We tackled well. We surrounded the cup on [sophomore running back Pooka Williams], because he is a phenomenal football player, we just didn’t give him any daylight and lanes.”

Pooka Williams, who averages the second-most yards per game by a running back in the Big 12, was held to just 61 yards on 14 carries. He was held to nearly one yard per rush fewer than his season numbers.

The Wildcats also shut down Kansas senior quarterback Carter Stanley, who was 13-23 for 115 yards and had two interceptions.

“I have a great appreciation for Carter Stanley,” Klieman said. “We confused him a few times with some coverage looks. The interception that Da’Quan [Patton] had was a look we hadn’t shown this year.”

K-State also prevented big plays, a staple of the Kansas offense, by bottling up the run and getting after the quarterback. Kansas’ longest play of the game was only 33 yards. The Wildcats sacked Kansas quarterbacks four times.

“The D-line did a tremendous job,” junior linebacker Elijah Sullivan said. “They did their job, they cut up the front and got after [Stanley].”

That defensive performance helped keep K-State dominant over in-state rival Kansas and gave them their 11th-straight win in the series.

“My personal opinion: Kansas State is the place to be for being a Kansas kid,” sophomore defensive end Wyatt Hubert said. “There was a lot of talk going around, but we just preached on ignoring the outside noise and taking care of business.”

The Wildcats, now bowl game eligible, will turn their sights on Austin, Texas, for a road bout with the Texas Longhorns on Nov. 9.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, an alumnus from Olathe, Kansas. I graduated in spring 2022 with a Masters in Mass Communication, and I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. I covered K-State sports for the Collegian for four years.