The Kansas State defense stepped up, silencing the Stanford offense. Was this a fluke or is this the new normal for the Kansas State football team?
The Wildcats’ defense was a question mark entering Saturday’s game. With only six returning starters, the expectations were low for defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman’s unit.
Kansas State’s defense silenced its doubters in the season opener, giving up only a single score to the Cardinal, late in the 4th quarter. The stifling performance from the defense held Stanford to only 233 total yards of offense, a huge improvement compared to the 2020 defense that allowed nearly 445 total yards per game.
“It’s cool just to change it up,” senior defensive tackle Eli Huggins said, according to Kansas State. “Teams last year, they knew what we were going to be in pretty much every play, but now we’re switching it up all the time. It’s going to be hard for teams to have a bead on what we’re going to do because we’re constantly changing.”
With four sacks and eight tackles for loss, the front line of the Wildcats set the tone for the game. Stanford’s longest play went for 29 yards, a clear outlier for the Cardinal’s performance overall.
“I think we surprised a lot of people with our physicality, up front especially,” senior linebacker Cody Fletcher said. “We came out with a lot more different looks than I think people were expecting.”
While Stanford is a fellow Power 5 program, their offense is nowhere near those in Norman or Ames. If the Wildcat’s defense keeps up these performances though, success will come much easier for Kansas State.