Wildcat Defense Impresses Again

The saying came to mind often yesterday when, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium before another sellout crowd, the No. 11 K-State Wildcats (6-1, 4-0 Big 12) shut out the Texas Longhorns, 23-0.
Game in and game out, regardless of the challenge each opposing offense has thrown at it, the Wildcat defense has proven itself against the most disciplined groups in the nation.
"We played awfully well," said head coach Bill Snyder on his defensive shutout performance. "Obviously (giving up) no points makes a big difference in the ballgame, but I think we kind of set the tone, defensively, after the first three possessions were three-and-outs - that's major for any football team. Collectively, they played well, played aggressively, pursued well. Tackling was improved over the last week. I was pleased."
K-State held Texas to 196 total offensive yards and mustered out quite a few big plays when the team needed it the most. Freshman Elijah Lee sacked Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes on an early third down, forcing the Longhorns out of field goal range. Then, with under a minute to go in the first half, senior Ryan Mueller also recorded a sack against Swoopes, bumping Texas back to a 2nd-and-18 situation and killing the Longhorns' momentum.
The K-State defense showed discipline as it held back the Longhorns on a 4th-and-1 attempt, and, finally, senior defensive tackle Valentino Coleman recovered a fourth-quarter fumble on K-State's 49-yard line (the first and only turnover of the game).
"We have a ton of guys on our defense that just have so much will to win," said senior linebacker Jonathan Truman. "They care so much about this team and they care so much about each other. It's awesome to be a part of this defense. Our game plan was great; we executed well."
Coming off of a career-high 17-tackle effort game at Oklahoma, Truman led the Wildcat defense for the second-consecutive week with eight tackles in yesterday's win. Truman's performance was followed by junior defensive back Dante Barnett who posted seven tackles and four pass breakups.
"We're relentless, we have relentless players," said Barnett after the game. "No matter what point in the game it is, everyone is going to fly around to the ball and try to make plays."
And flying around, making plays and keeping points off the board is exactly what the Wildcat defense did against Texas to earn a shut out - a feat Snyder smiled about.
"Well I appreciate it a great, great deal," Snyder said about his defense's ability to keep Texas off the board. "I can't tell you the last time we had a shutout. It just doesn't' happen in this day in age, so I thought it was something to be truly proud of."
Recording a shutout is pretty rare - K-State hasn't shut out an opponent since its 37-0 win over Kent State on Sept. 17, 2011. 
And shutting out a league opponent? That's even less common. The last time K-State shut out a Big 12 opponent was on Nov. 8, 2003, when the Wildcats held Iowa State scoreless in a 45-0 win. The last time K-State shut out a league opponent at home, though? That was on Nov. 20, 1999, when K-State defeated Missouri, 66-0. 
"It's pretty amazing in college football, and especially in the Big 12 with the prolific offenses that we have," said sophomore wide receiver Dante Barnett on the shutout. "I think any defense that can go out and put a shutout on the board, that's something they should take pride in. That helped the offense out a lot." 
"It's tough, it really is," said Mueller added. "The one's had to stay in the whole time because Texas was always one or two scores from getting real close to us. We just went in there with the mindset that every drive they could catch fire and get hot, so we buckled down and finished them off.'"
With yesterday's win, K-State remains on top of the Big 12 Conference as the only team undefeated in league play.
"It shows that Kansas State has a lot of athletes," continued Mueller on his thoughts of his team's 4-0 conference record. "We have a lot of playmakers. We have a lot of guys that take a lot of pride and preparation in their work, and we put that together on Saturdays."
K-State returns to Bill Snyder Family Stadium next Saturday with a matchup against Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12). The time and television station for the game will be announced today.
For stats, quotes and more on yesterday's win over Texas, click here

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