Keep Moving On
"The biggest thing is that we kept fighting," explained senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett. "That's all you can ask for as a coach, a player, a teammate or a captain, to just keep on fighting regardless of what happens, and we did. I think that helps us see that we can play and compete with any team as long as we believe and as long as we stick together."
Last night when K-State head coach Bill Snyder was asked if his team was beat by the Tigers or if they beat themselves, he responded with: "The latter."
The K-State Wildcats beat themselves.
K-State proved it could compete with Auburn, it just has to eliminate its own simple mistakes - a task Wildcat quarterback Jake Waters is fully confident his team will do now moving forward.
"We faced adversity last year starting out 2-4, so we're fine," said Waters. "We just know we have to come back and get to work. We can't dwell too much on this, obviously we're going to be frustrated, but we can't dwell on it. We just have to know we have a lot of season left. I like this team and I like the direction we're headed."
Like Waters, senior defensive end Ryan Mueller is confident his team will learn from the mistakes made last night under the lights of sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
"The game plan was to win the ball game, and we didn't win the ball game," said Mueller. "It's silly to think back about doing things differently; it's life, you can't redo it. You just have to move on and learn from it. We're definitely going to be a better football team because of this. We have a better understanding of where we're at; I have all the confidence in the world in (this team.)."
While there are mistakes to be corrected, there's no doubt K-State's defense was the highlight of the night. The Wildcats held the Tigers - boasting the nation's toughest rushing offense - to just 128 total rushing yards. Before last night, the Tigers had gone 13-straight games rushing 200-plus yards, and eight of those games Auburn rushed for 300-plus yards.
Auburn's 20 points against K-State were the fewest points the team has scored against an opposing defense since Gus Malzahn took over as the team's head coach two seasons ago.
No stat can take away the sting of a loss, however the play of the Wildcat defense just can't be overlooked.
Overall, the Wildcats held Auburn in check better than any other opposing team the Tigers faced over the past two years.
"I saw a defense that was relentless in playing," said senior offensive lineman B.J Finney after the game. "They made a couple of mistakes here and there, and Auburn capitalized off of them, but our defense played very, very well tonight in maintaining that offense and keeping control of them."
A key factor in the Wildcats' success defensively was senior linebacker Dakorey Johnson. Johnson, who made his first start of the season last night, finished the game with six tackles and one interception. His interception came in the game's second quarter after junior defensive lineman Travis Britz tipped an Auburn pass. Johnson's interception was a momentum changer for K-State.
"He's a playmaker," said senior linebacker Jonathan Truman. "It doesn't surprise me whatsoever when he makes a big play. I'm glad he could do those things when we needed them the most."
While Johnson said he thought the K-State defense did "a solid job," he also said there is a lot for him and his teammates to work on before next weekend's matchup against UTEP.
"I thought I did pretty well out there, but I couldn't do my job without everybody else... I just went out there, played and did what I had to do," Johnson said on his performance after the game. "Now, I just have to keep getting better. This is just one game, and I still have a lot more games to improve and get better."
Next up for K-State is a matchup against UTEP on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 11 a.m. in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
For complete stats, quotes and a full game recap from last night's game, click here.
K-State fans unfurl a Family banner before the game against Auburn at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on September 18, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)