Oklahoma Sooners: Adam Davis

Defensive redemption propels KSU upset

September, 23, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- Tre Walker climbed the wall in the southeast corner of Owen Field just to reach a few loved ones Saturday. He had to hug somebody, and couldn't wait until his pads were off to do it.

While the Kansas State linebacker took care of his business there, a "K-S-U" chant echoed through Norman after Bill Snyder's Wildcats finished making history. Walker was climbing to get off the field, but the rest of his team never wanted to leave after Kansas State's 24-19 victory over Oklahoma. Coaches and players hugged and high-fived.

Kansas State and Oklahoma players both had glassy eyes, for very different reasons.

"I mean, I was shocked," defensive end Adam Davis said.

Sure, the Kansas State faithful knew they could win. But that they would? History shot disapproving glances the way of anyone who believed otherwise.

Oklahoma was a perfect 14-0 versus ranked teams at home under Bob Stoops, dispatching opponents by an average of 28.2 points dating all the way back to 1999. The Wildcats hadn't beaten the seven-time Big 12 champs in the regular season since 1997.

Those stats, though, hadn't reached Davis. And he was still shocked. So were the raucous 85,276 Sooners fans in attendance who provided the best Big 12 atmosphere to date.

"It feels like you're on top of the world," Davis said of the postgame party on the field.

The big names on Saturday will attract plenty of attention. Landry Jones' shortcomings. Collin Klein's toughness and passing prowess, highlighted by a 12-yard completion on third-and-11 to Tramaine Thompson that all but iced the game in the final minutes.

[+] EnlargeJarell Childs, Ryan Mueller
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireJarell Childs (26) celebrates with Ryan Mueller after recovering a Landry Jones fumble in the end zone for Kansas State's first touchdown.
The real story? A dogged defense that harassed Jones into two game-breaking turnovers and got lucky with a third when a low snap scooted past Blake Bell, leaving the Belldozer broken down on the way back to the sideline instead of into the end zone.

Snyder, ever the exploiter of weaknesses, saw a big one in Jones that plenty of others saw, too.

Asked if Jones was "spooked," Davis replied: "I noticed it in the first half. When we'd get upfield, he'd start jabbing his feet real quick and moving. That let us know that he don't like nobody in his blind side, and we tried to attack it all night."

The Wildcats succeeded. They flushed Jones from the pocket in the first quarter and linebacker Justin Tuggle, playing defensive end on that particular play as part of a specialized package, caught Jones from behind and stripped the ball. Jarell Childs scooped it up just a yard in front of the goal line and scored.

Kansas State's defense believed.

"What we did all week was worked on trying to flush him out of the pocket, because we know he ain't good with pressure," Davis said. "If we get to his blind side, he's going to get jittery and try to move out the pocket and scoot up and stuff. We tried to get our D-tackles to cause pressure on the edge and try to get him."

The Wildcats notched two sacks, but the constant pressure had Jones looking mediocre for most of the night. His second turnover came when tackle Vai Lutui lunged at Jones from his knees. Jones threw off his back foot and promptly sailed a probable completion into the waiting arms of Kansas State safety Ty Zimmerman.

"It was a little bit of a struggle offensively. ... Our defense, I think, created the turnovers that took place, by and large," Snyder said. "I thought they did a heck of a job."

Snyder was a cool customer holding a hot cup of coffee with cream and sugar, taking sips while he answered questions after the victory in his Cotton Bowl windbreaker on a brisk fall night in Oklahoma. At one point during the conference, a cricket flew in and landed an inch from Snyder's left eye. He broke an answer for only a moment to swat away the pest.

Nothing could get to the unflappable SnyderCats on this night.

"When you play somebody as good as an Oklahoma team, it really does mean something special to them, and they feel good about it," Snyder said.

Snyder's demeanor wouldn't have been much different if the 14-point underdogs had gotten waxed by 30, like so many teams at Owen Field before them. Still, his message to the team remained consistent.

"He said he was very proud of us," Davis said with a grin.

Expecting maybe something a little more dramatic?

"Yes, we were, but you never really know what to expect," Davis said.

Well, that just wouldn't be very Snyder. Saturday's win, though? Doing what no team had ever done before and getting outgained in total yardage while doing it?

Could anybody else but Snyder do that?

OU-KSU will be decided on lines

September, 20, 2012
Kansas State didn't knock down Landry Jones much during last year's forgettable 58-17 loss to the Sooners.

The Oklahoma quarterback wasn't sacked once in the worst loss of Kansas State's season. He finished with 505 yards passing.

That's tough to do in any context, but it's much easier if you have enough time in the backfield to write a midterm paper.

[+] EnlargeGabe Ikard
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesCenter Gabe Ikard says Oklahoma's offensive line will need to be at its best against Kansas State.
Jones hasn't equaled those 505 yards this season in his first two games combined, convincing wins against UTEP and Florida A&M. One big reason why? Against UTEP, Jones was on the run constantly, forced to make rushed or off-balance throws.

"We’ve put up good numbers on offense but we need to play better, we can still be cleaner and protect the quarterback better. It’s one of those things where you’ll never be satisfied with the way you’re playing," Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard said. "It’s never going to be perfect, so you can still strive to get better, and that’s what we try to do every day in practice."

For Oklahoma, a lack of experience along the offensive line is one reason for the early struggles. Ikard is playing center only because three-year starter Ben Habern retired because of lingering neck and back issues. Guard Tyler Evans also will miss the season with a torn ACL, trimming Oklahoma's returning starts from 102 to 43. That turned the Sooners from the Big 12's most experienced team on the line to one of its least experienced.

"Some of the stuff is simple -- mental errors," Ikard said. "Some of the stuff is just being at your peak physically. You’ve got to just get better every day at practice. We work on technique every single day and worked on technique last week during the bye week. It’s been trying to correct our mistakes and trying to get better."

For Kansas State's defensive line, it could be a whole new ballgame, though it's going on the road for the first time in 2012.

In the Wildcats' biggest challenge of the season, against Miami, the defense notched five sacks. Only once in 2011 did the line duplicate that output.

Six Wildcats have sacks through three games, and defensive end Adam Davis already has a pair.

"We had played well and were showing improvement through the first couple of ballgames, but I think that we really struggled against North Texas. And North Texas has a pretty fine offensive line, but the University of Oklahoma has an excellent offensive line," coach Bill Snyder said. "So, we’re going out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak, and that improvement we had in the first couple weeks needs to come back in a hurry."

If Kansas State is going to slow Jones and his receivers this time around, it will have to start on the line of scrimmage. A powerful running game that can slow the pace and limit the number of plays can be one piece of the puzzle.

The Wildcats' pass rush can be another. Sooners coach Bob Stoops has been impressed with the improvement through three games from Snyder's front four.

"Those guys are very active, play physical. They’ve got a good number of sacks, they get good pressure," he said. "They’re just a group that you can tell just plays real disciplined and plays tough."

Oklahoma's offensive line must answer with plenty of its own toughness, or the Wildcats will spring the upset and become only the fourth team to beat Stoops in Norman since his 1999 arrival and the first to ever do so as a ranked team.
Sept. 22, 2012: vs. Kansas State
2011 record: 10-3 | 2011 conference record: 7-2 (Big 12)
OU’s all-time against Kansas State: 71-17-4

Top returners: QB Collin Klein, RB John Hubert, WR Chris Harper, WR Tyler Lockett, OG Nick Puetz, DE Adam Davis, DE Meshak Williams, DT Vai Lutui, LB Arthur Brown, LB Tre Walker, CB Nigel Malone, S Ty Zimmerman

Key losses: OT Zach Hanson, OT Clyde Aufner, OG Colten Freeze, DT Ray Kibble, DE Jordan Voelker, LB Emmanuel Lamur, CB David Garnett, S Tysyn Hartman

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Collin Klein* (1,141 yards)
Passing: Collin Klein * (1,918 yards)
Receiving: Chris Harper* (547 yards)
Tackles: Arthur Brown* (101)
Sacks: Meshak Williams* (7)
Interceptions: Nigel Malone* (7)

What they’re saying: “We are putting more pressure on us than anyone else. We want this season to be something really special.” – WR Chris Harper

Three things to watch:

1. Once again, the Kansas State offense will live and die with bruising rushing quarterback Collin Klein. After winning the job, Klein emerged into one of the biggest surprises last season while quarterbacking the Wildcats all the way to the Cotton Bowl. Klein won’t sneak up on anyone this season, but with Robert Griffin III gone, the ‘Cats will have the top running QB in the Big 12.

2. The Wildcats have to replace three starters up front offensively, but every one of Klein’s top weapons is back to help him. Chris Harper led the Wildcats with 40 catches for 547 yards last season. Harper will be flanked by Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett, a Freshman All-America. After rushing for 970 yards last season John Hubert returns at running back to help shoulder the rushing load with Klein.

3. The Wildcats boast one of the favorites to win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in middle linebacker Arthur Brown, who is coming off a 101-tackle season. Brown is fast and a ferocious tackler, and will make it difficult for anyone to run consistently on Kansas State.

The 2011 Big 12 All-Bowl team

January, 13, 2012
Here's the All-Bowl team from the Big 12, recognizing the best single-game performances from this year's bowls.

QB: Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: Weeden threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns (it could have been four if a game-winning TD pass to Colton Chelf hadn't been overturned) on 29-of-42 passing. His first pass was intercepted, but he had an otherwise solid night and ran for his first career touchdown in the 41-38 win against Stanford.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Ganaway
AP Photo/Darren AbateBaylor's Terrance Ganaway rushed for five TDs in the Alamo Bowl.
RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor: The Big 12 rushing champion ran for 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Bears' 67-56 win against Washington in the Alamo Bowl.

RB: Ben Malena, Texas A&M: Malena stepped in for the injured Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael and had a solid game in the Aggies' 33-22 win against Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. He finished with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, showcasing his physical running style. He also caught six passes for 36 yards.

FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma: Millard carried the ball four times for 21 yards but also helped pave the way for three Blake Bell touchdowns from the Belldozer formation.

WR: Ryan Swope, Texas A&M: Jeff Fuller had better numbers in the bowl, but it was aided by big catches late. Swope kept the Aggies offense humming for most of the game, with eight catches for 105 yards in the win against Northwestern.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State: Blackmon was the best offensive player in the Big 12 bowls, spearheading Oklahoma State's offense in the Fiesta Bowl win with eight catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

WR: Colton Chelf, Oklahoma State: Chelf made two huge catches over the middle early and a third nearly won the game, but his touchdown was overturned. Still, OSU doesn't win its first BCS bowl without Chelf's 97 yards on five catches.

TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri: By Egnew's standards, it was a quiet game, but he played well with a 25-yard grab and three catches for 39 yards in Mizzou's win.

OL: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State's offensive line is keyed by Garner, who helped the Cowboys handle Stanford's blitzes well and give Weeden plenty of time in the Fiesta Bowl win.

OL: Philip Blake, Baylor: Baylor ran for 482 yards and scored 67 points in its win against Washington in the Alamo Bowl. Blake's the man who keyed it all.

OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State: Adcock's the best overall talent on OSU's line, and he showed it in the win against Stanford.

OL: Dan Hoch, Missouri: Missouri rolled over one of the nation's best rush defenses, North Carolina, for 337 yards on the ground.

OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M: The Aggies' offense was potent for most of its win against Northwestern, and Joeckel was solid in run and pass blocking for the balanced attack.


DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat made five tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the Longhorns' 21-10 win against Cal. The Texas defense dominated, and the defensive line's play was the catalyst. He did it all with a torn pectoral muscle, too. He'll miss the spring after having it surgically repaired this week.

[+] EnlargeAdam Davis
AP Photo/Matt StrasenKansas State defensive end Adam Davis, 97, had two sacks and forced this first-half fumble by Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson in the Cotton Bowl.
DL: Adam Davis, Kansas State: Davis sacked Arkansas' Tyler Wilson twice and had three tackles for loss with a forced fumble in the loss to the Razorbacks.

DL: R.J. Washington, Oklahoma: With Ronnell Lewis ineligible, Washington showed up big in the win against Iowa. He had two sacks and made three tackles.

DL: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M: Jerod-Eddie made eight tackles and had a sack in the win against Northwestern.

LB: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M: Moore was a monster in the season finale for the Aggies, making nine tackles and forcing a fumble on his lone sack.

LB: A.J. Klein, Iowa State: Klein flew around for the Cyclones, making 15 tackles in a physical game against Rutgers, though the Cyclones lost.

LB: Jordan Hicks, Texas: Could this be a big piece of momentum heading into 2012? Hicks starred with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the win against Cal.

CB: Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma: Fleming was the Big 12's best defensive player of the bowls and the best player on the field in the Insight Bowl, making seven tackles, intercepting a pass and returning it 21 yards. He also broke up three passes.

CB: David Garrett, Kansas State: Garrett made 10 tackles and had two tackles for loss in the loss to Arkansas.

S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: He hates the nickname Machete, but Vaccaro was hacking away at Cal. He made three tackles, including two for loss and a sack.

S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State: Even if it was illegal (it was), Martin had the hit of the bowl season with a huge blast on Stanford's Ty Montgomery that took Montgomery's helmet off on the opening drive. He finished with nine tackles and a tackle for loss, with a fumble recovery.


P: Tress Way, Oklahoma: Way averaged 50 yards on his six punts, including a 67-yarder.

PK: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M: Bullock made all four of his field goal attempts, including two from beyond 40 yards.

PR: Dustin Harris, Texas A&M: Harris looked the part of the Big 12's best, returning a punt 35 yards and finishing with 54 yards on his four returns.

KR: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State: Gilbert had a 50-yard return and returned his four kicks for a total of 136 yards.


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