Bill Snyder never likes to see his club give up 22 points, and he doesn't like the fact that UCLA had two fourth-quarter scores. But overall, he said of the Kansas State defense, "I was pleased. I was really pleased with their effort. They were competitive. They were fighting, clawing and scratching. I did not see anyone, at any time, let up."
Now, he wants to see that effort duplicated tonight in a 6:10 p.m. kickoff against Missouri State ... without giving up the 22 points and without allowing two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Alex Hrebec led the defenders last week with a dozen tackles, while Brandon Harold had five stops with one quarterback sack, a forced fumble and a pass block. Tysyn Hartman and David Garrett added six tackles each.
While K-State collected just three sacks in 26 Bruin passing attempts, Snyder said, "That needs to be improved, but even though we only got two sacks from our down linemen, the pass rush has improved over where we were a year ago."
Jarell Childs, who played running back a year ago, saw his first action at linebacker, and Snyder was generally pleased with his effort.
"He did alright. He made a few mistakes, but he made up for most of them on the two-point conversion," Snyder said of Childs' play. "He made a tremendous effort when he laid out to get a hand on the ball. He is young, inexperienced and he made some mistakes, but overall he played well."
There was a constant rotation in the secondary with Snyder, again, being overall pleased.
"We let a couple of receivers get behind us. You have to follow the old adage that you have to be deeper than the deepest receiver, and we were not in that position a few times," said the Wildcat coach. "But, what I really appreciated was that their improvement was significant. I thought they played with confidence. They attacked the ball well. You saw them make plays, and they made some hits where the contact was right when the receiver was catching the ball. They laid out and made some plays, and just like the rest of the defense, they played hard and they played fast."
Against Missouri State, the Cats will be facing a team that rushed for 189 yards and passed for 199 in a 31-9 opening win over Eastern Kentucky.
Chris Douglas, the Missouri Valley Offensive Player of the Week, rushed for 128 yards, while quarterback Cody Kirby completed 15-of-25 passes with a touchdown.
THE SCORES: Kansas State (1-0) - K-State 31, UCLA 22; Missouri State (1-0) - MSU 31, Eastern Kentucky 9.
SERIES: K-State and Missouri State have played once, with the Wildcats taking a 61-10 decision in 2007. In the Bill Snyder years, K-State is 15-1 in games against Football Championship Subdivision teams. In all-time games against teams from the Missouri Valley, the Wildcats are 14-3.
DID YOU KNOW: Former Kansas coach Terry Allen is the fifth-year football coach at Missouri State. His record is 19-26. Kansas State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Del Miller was the head coach at Missouri State from 1995-98, going 21-23 in his four seasons.
While Allen went winless in five tries against K-State when he was at Kansas, he topped the Wildcats, 10-8, in Snyder's first home game in 1989 when he was the head coach at Northern Iowa.
MR. THOMAS: This week on Mel Kiper's NFL Draft Board, Daniel Thomas was slated to go No. 19 in the overall first round of the 2011 draft. He was also the second running back on the board only to Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram of Alabama.
A year ago, Daniel Thomas touched the ball on 34-percent of the Wildcat plays. Last week against UCLA, Thomas had 30 touches out of 71 offensive plays, equating to 42-percent of the Wildcat snaps.
Thomas now ranks 13th on the all-time Wildcat rushing charts with 1,499 yards in just 13 games.
Next in line are: 12th - James Johnson (2006-07), 1,509 yards; 11th - L.J. Brown (1978-80), 1,580 yards; 10th - Tony Jordan (1984-87), 1,593 yards; 9th - Cornelius Davis (1966-68), 1,873 yards.
The 234 yards Thomas gained against UCLA was the highest rushing total in a season opener in K-State history. The previous mark had been held by Darren Sproles in 2004 with 221 yards against Western Kentucky. The yardage was also the most allowed by a Bruin defense since USC's Reggie Bush gained 260 in 2005.
QUOTEABLE QUOTE: Bill Snyder on what these numbers mean to Thomas: "Daniel is into having success for the team. That's what is significant to him. If it helps the team win, then I'm sure the numbers are pleasing to him."
BY THE NUMBERS
3-of 3 - K-State was perfect in the red zone against UCLA with two touchdowns and one field goal.
5th - Placing for Missouri State in the preseason Missouri Valley poll.
12 - The 12-tackle effort against UCLA last week was Alex Hrebec's all-time high.
33:56 - Minutes that K-State held the ball on UCLA in last week's opener.
55-3 - Kansas State has won .948 percent of its last 58 non-conference games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
• The focus will be on CARSON COFFMAN (#14) to improve on his 11-of-16 passing performance for 66 yards against UCLA.
• All linebacker ALEX HREBEC (#56) does is make plays. With 100 tackles in his first two seasons, Hrebec led the team against the Bruins with 12 tackles - 6 solos and 6 assists.
• Defensive end BRANDON HAROLD (#91) looked to be back in 2008 form last week when he registered five tackles with a sack, pass broken up and forced fumble. Harold missed the 2009 season due to an injury.
• DAVID ARKIN (#77) is a 6-foot-5, 302-pound senior left tackle. He's a three-time All-Missouri Valley standout, plus a presidential scholar for the Bears. Arkin, a graduate of Wichita's Kapaun High School, has started 34 consecutive games for Missouri State.
• Running back CHRIS DOUGLAS (#4) has gone over 100 yards in each of his last two games, which includes 128 yards on just 10 carries in the Bears' season opener.
• Linebacker ANTOINE WILKINSON (#50) opened the season with nine tackles, which included two sacks and three tackles for a negative 14 yards.
NEXT WEEK: Kansas State opens Big 12 Conference play against Iowa State. The contest will be played in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium with an 11 a.m. kickoff and will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
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