Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder isn’t interested in hearing about how bad the Kansas University defense is or how poorly the Jayhawks have played through the first six games of the season.
He’s not buying it.
“I think they’re a far better defensive football team than anyone would care to give them credit for,” said Snyder, whose 12th-ranked and undefeated Wildcats will take on KU at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. “You sit down and watch them play, and you see that.”
Snyder, whose team improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12 with a 41-34 victory at Texas Tech last week, said the lopsided statistics that place the KU defense dead last in the country can be a little misleading.
“A lot of people would suggest that they have had some trouble defensively,” Snyder said of the Jayhawks (2-4, 0-3). “And the numbers would tend to reflect that. But you go back and look at who they’ve played against, four of the teams on their schedule are in the top 10 nationally as far as total offense.”
Oklahoma State (second, 551 yards per game and 38 touchdowns), Oklahoma (fourth, 547, 33), Texas Tech (sixth, 534, 34) and Georgia Tech (ninth, 517, 41) are those four teams, with Northern Illinois, which KU beat, not far behind in 17th.
“It’s not unique for them to have yardage on them when you consider those teams,” Snyder said.
While the offensive strength of KU’s opponents serves as a good excuse for its defensive struggles thus far, that reason won’t work this week against Kansas State. The Wildcats, though unbeaten, rank 94th in total offense and average just 336 yards per game. KSU ranks 114th (of 120) in passing offense and 25th in rushing offense.
Although those numbers indicate the KU defense may be in for a better performance, Snyder was quick to point out that his team has won its last three games despite being outgained on offense.
“I’m not sure that statistics win ballgames for you,” Snyder said. “I don’t think many coaches really believe in that.”
The Kansas offense, which ranks 41st nationally, gains on average 89 yards per game more than the Wildcats. Snyder said the Jayhawks could create problems for the Wildcats’ defense, which ranks 37th nationally.
“Offensively, they’re a very balanced football team,” Snyder said. “That makes them even harder to defend.”
Although KU has scored seven more touchdowns (26) than Kansas State during the first six weeks of the season, the Jayhawks have managed just six TDs in the past two weeks. Still, Snyder said his club would take the Jayhawks seriously this week. And not just because it’s a rivalry game.
“If you watched them play Oklahoma, you’d see that this is a continually improving football team,” Snyder said.
Tim Biere on watch list
Senior tight end Tim Biere has been named to the John Mackey Award’s midseason watch list, the Nassau County Sports Commission announced Monday.
Biere, who leads the Jayhawks with 21 receptions, has recorded a career-best 246 yards and one touchdown in six games.
The Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s top tight end, will be presented on Dec. 8. The list of 25 midseason finalists will be narrowed to semifinalists on Nov. 14 and again to finalists Nov. 21.