SE: Big Catches Becoming Routine For Burton

AMES, IOWA — There’s a drill Deante Burton credits for his rise in spectacular catches this season. It’s a drill he’s learned to avoid. 

“They’re called up-downs,” he said, with a laugh after K-State’s 31-26 victory at Iowa State on Saturday. “If you drop a ball in practice, then you get up-downs. I dropped a lot at some points in my career and (wide receivers coach Andre) Coleman, he doesn’t really play (around) about drops, so being afraid of up-downs will make you want to catch a lot of tough passes.”

Burton recorded five catches for 72 yards, both season-high marks, with a few highlight-worthy grabs included. His five receptions matched his career high while his yardage total was his second best at K-State. 

“I think Deante just continues to work very diligently at trying to get better. Even though he’s a senior, he goes early to practices, stays late afterwards,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said. “He works hard at trying to make those kind of catches. The last couple of weeks it’s really paid off for him. He played as well as I can remember.”

“He’s doing a really good job,” K-State quarterback Jesse Ertz added. “I think his confidence is going to continue to grow the more times he has games like this.”

With its win over Iowa State, K-State (5-3, 3-2) took another step toward securing bowl eligibility. Meanwhile, Burton moved even closer to reaching the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career, a club with 28 K-State players in it. Currently, Burton sits at 978 with at least four games to play.  

“It’s pretty cool. I never really thought that I would do anything like that growing up,” he said. “Every day is a blessing, so that would be pretty cool to get that.”

Burton played an important role in K-State’s first two touchdown drives. 

To cap K-State’s first drive, the senior pulled in an extremely difficult pass on a corner route from Ertz for an 11-yard touchdown. 

“We saw a weakness, saw something that we could attack and Jesse threw a great ball,” Burton said. “He threw it where the guy wasn’t, gave me a chance to make a play and that’s what happened. It all worked out.”

The catch marked Burton’s fifth career touchdown and his first of the season. Admittedly, he said the latter was a bit of a weight off his shoulder. 

“It’s definitely something you think about. You catch a lot of passes and you don’t have a touchdown yet, so it’s something that weighs on you a little bit,” he said. “As long as we’re winning, you don’t think about it, but it becomes even better when you get a win and a touchdown.”

Early in the second quarter, Burton made another impressive catch. The senior, running a post route, snagged a low pass right before it hit the turf for a 22-yard gain to help spark K-State’s 10-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to go up 17-3. 

“Jesse was putting them in the right spot because he had defenders all over him, but Deante was making some really good catches. That was awesome seeing him do such a really good job,” K-State sophomore tackle Dalton Risner said. “I was really proud of him.”

Burton came through in another big moment for K-State early the second half. 

Iowa State grabbed the game’s momentum with a successful onside kick to start the third quarter and a touchdown seven plays later to cut its deficit to 17-10. Soon after, K-State faced a third-and-10 from its 17-yard line. 

Enter Burton, who reeled in a 12-yard pass to move the chains. He caught two more passes for a combined 27 yards to help further K-State’s crucial 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive to gain some breathing room on the scoreboard. 

“He was great. He had a great, great game. He came through on some big third downs, some big plays all game,” K-State sophomore defensive back Duke Shelley said of Burton. “I felt like the corners couldn’t hold him today. He definitely played with confidence and we knew he could do it all along.”