Crunching numbers on K-State’s defense

Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder and defensive coordinator Tom Hayes are using the same argument to explain why the Wildcats were better against the pass last season than the 263.3 yards per game they allowed indicate.

Said Snyder:

“Statistically, the defense against the passing game may have suffered, but you have to look at this conference. You look at the conference and there are teams that are throwing the ball an average of 400 yards per ballgame against some very fine football teams. In this league, statistics throwing the football are going to be significantly higher than they might normally be in most conferences.”

Said Hayes:

“Our stats are skewed somewhat in the way that we played against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State two weeks in a row. We didn’t play very well and they played very well and they were very talented on offense, both of them. We gave up a ton of yards to them and we lost both those games, but they kind of skew what happened in the whole scheme of things … They do that to everybody.”

There is truth in each of those statements. There is no shortage of offense in the Big 12. While K-State’s pass defense ranked a respectable sixth in the conference last season, it ranked an ugly 103rd nationally.

Maybe Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said it best in Dallas last month when he described the Big 12 as “a points league.”

“You’re still going to have to score a lot of points no matter what,” Tuberville said. “You’re going to give up points in this league. This is a points league. I mean, we scored close to 40 points a game last year and won five games.”
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Sunday Rewind: Oklahoma 58, K-State 17

Overall Assessment: Every realistic Kansas State football fan knew the Wildcats’ undefeated run was going to come to an end at some point. Maybe the way Oklahoma ended that run, by exposing several of K-State’s weaknesses in a 58-17 blowout Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, was surprising. But the simple fact that the Wildcats are trying to move on from their first loss today is not.

The question now is: How will they handle it?

The Sooners posed significant matchup problems for the Wildcats. In order to beat Oklahoma, as Texas Tech shockingly did in Norman last week, you have to pressure Landry Jones and throw the ball for big yardage. K-State could do neither, and had to step out of its comfort zone. That led to zero success in the second half. Oklahoma played the game at its terms, and made winning look easy.

Difficult opponents remain on K-State’s schedule, but none play exactly the same style. If the Wildcats can put Saturday’s loss behind them, they can still finish the season strong and make it to a prestigious bowl game. In the past two seasons, they have rebounded well from brutal losses. A humiliating 66-14 loss at Texas Tech was followed with a 62-14 win over Texas A&M and a 48-13 loss to Nebraska was followed by a 59-7 win over Kansas.

But this is the first time this team has seen its own blood. Bill Snyder and players say Saturday’s loss was unacceptable, and that they will turn things around quickly.

“I would say that we have a tough minded group of young guys that understand and deal with success and with failure,” Snyder said. “I would hope that the failure would not come from not caring and not trying to correct your mistakes, like when we have not failed. Our guys seem to care, tend to care. They will begin to make an effort and try and get all of their mistakes corrected.”

We’ll have to wait a week to find out how much they correct. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Looking ahead to gameday: Oklahoma

Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2011 schedule. Next up, at Kansas.

If the only championship Oklahoma wins this season is of the conference variety, some will view it as a disappointment.

In 2011, the Sooners are thinking bigger. As the nation’s top-ranked preseason team, they are thinking national championship. With 14 starters returning, including Heisman Trophy contender Landry Jones at quarterback, Oklahoma truly is loaded.

An injury to linebacker Travis Lewis, which will keep him out of the season’s first few games, could be problematic with highly-ranked Florida State on the schedule on Sept. 17, but he should be back to lead Oklahoma’s defense in time for make-or-break conference games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

He should also be back in time for Oklahoma’s trip to Kansas State on Oct. 29. If the Sooners are still ranked No. 1, the Wildcats will take on a top-ranked team (at least in the AP Poll) for the first time since facing Oklahoma in the 2003 Big 12 championship game.
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Now at the podium: Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Sooners hope last year was an abberation.

They had some success, went 8-5 and beat Stanford in the Sun Bowl, which wasn’t exactly a bad season, but it wasn’t up to typical Boomer Sooner standards.

With quarterback Landry Jones returning, and an improved offensive line leading the way, OU coach Bob Stoops is once again aiming for the top.

“Hopefully we’re at a spot where we can compete for a championship again,” Stoops said.
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Postgame: Oklahoma 42, K-State 30

Before Saturday’s game at Oklahoma, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder joked that he wanted to appeal the NCAA and start this contest in the second quarter.

Had he gone through with the plan and somehow had that idea approved, the Wildcats would have left Norman with an impressive victory.

Instead, they were outscored by 21 points in the first quarter and lost 42-30. The first-quarter onslaught was nothing new for Oklahoma. Coming into the day, the Sooners had outscored their opponents 58-0 in the first quarter.
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Gameday Preview: K-State at Oklahoma

Oklahoma is ranked and Kansas State is not. Oklahoma is a 28-point favorite and Kansas State is not. Oklahoma is playing at home, where it has won a nation’s best 27-straight games, and Kansas State is not.

On the surface, this game is a mismatch.

But, at 5-3, the Wildcats do own a better record than the Sooners. Having won their last two games, they are also riding a longer winning streak than Oklahoma.

They are little things that won’t mean much once the game starts, but they have given K-State a jolt of confidence.
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