NCF Nation: 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?

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 2

September, 10, 2012
Time to look back on the week that was in the Big 12 on Saturday.

Best offensive performance: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State. Klein dominated in the Wildcats' 52-13 win over Miami, showcasing an improved arm and the same toughness that made him a franchise player for K-State a year ago. He finished with three rushing touchdowns and 71 yards on 22 carries, while completing 9 of 11 passes for 201 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Honorable mention: Tracy Moore, WR, Oklahoma State, Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma

Best defensive performance: Adam Davis, DE, Kansas State. Davis was a wrecking ball on the defensive line for K-State, the game's most consistently disruptive force. He finished with just four tackles, but he had two sacks and forced two fumbles, one of which was scooped up by Arthur Brown. Honorable mention: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

[+] EnlargeDevonte Fields
Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty ImagesDevonte Fields (95) spent a lot of time in the Grambling backfield on Saturday.
Best performance by a freshman: Devonte Fields, DE, TCU. The Horned Frogs' hyped defensive end was all over the place against Grambling, making five tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss for a total of 10 yards lost. Heck of a debut for the most touted member of TCU's 2012 recruiting class.

Best play: Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State. Knott clinched the Cy-Hawk Trophy for Iowa State by tipping a James Vandenberg pass to himself for a game-ending interception, cutting off a promising Iowa drive in the final minute of the Cyclones' 9-6 win over the Hawkeyes. Honorable mention: Cody Davis, S, Texas Tech; Kenny Williams, RB, Texas Tech

Worst play: Kansas State's ... something. It was half jump pass, half behind the back Statue of Liberty ... or something. Bill Snyder called a timeout and the Wildcats ran the trick play at the goal line. However, Klein's behind the back pass to Chris Harper ended up going for a 19-yard loss and the Wildcats missed a field goal on the next play.

Second-worst play: Calvin Barnett, DT, Oklahoma State. It's been a long time since I've heard of a player getting two personal fouls on the same play, but Barnett pulled it off in the first quarter, getting flagged for two personal fouls to take care of 30 yards for Arizona on a 75-yard touchdown drive. He was flagged for roughing the passer and again for unnecessary roughness, and finished with 45 penalty yards, 18 more than Arizona's entire team. Oklahoma State finished with a school-record 167 penalty yards on 15 flags. Dishonorable mention: Dayne Crist's fourth-quarter interception to set up Rice's game-winning field goal.

Best team performance: Kansas State. We saw a complete game for 60 minutes and complete domination from the Wildcats. K-State sent a pretty decent statement with one of the best all-around games we've seen all season from anybody in the league, routing Miami 52-13, and outmuscling a pretty athletic Hurricanes squad.

Worst team performance: Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks gave OSU a run for its money in this one, but when you add up the aforementioned penalties, four turnovers and zero forced turnovers and the fact they came against a middling Arizona squad, the 21-point game was a pretty jarring wake-up call. Yes, it was the first time on the road for a young passing game, but OSU has a lot of experience elsewhere. This year won't be an easy one for Oklahoma State, but making Wes Lunt throw the ball 60 times a night isn't the answer. Dishonorable mention: Kansas.

Worst quarter: Oklahoma State's fourth quarter. The Cowboys were still in it after a Quinn Sharp field goal cut Arizona's lead to 37-31 entering the quarter. However, turnovers and an inability to stop the run turned it into a borderline embarrassing loss. The Cowboys were outscored 22-7 in the quarter and left the desert as losers in their first major test. Rough way to close the outing. Dishonorable mention: Kansas' fourth quarter, when the Jayhawks entered with an eight-point lead and lost.

Best quarter: TCU's first quarter. The Frogs scored on the very first time they touched the ball in the rebuilt Amon G. Carter Stadium. Not bad, eh? Deante' Gray scooted 70 yards to return a punt for a score, and by the end of the first quarter, the Frogs led 28-0, with a rushing touchdown, a passing touchdown, a special-teams score and a defensive score on a 28-yard Elisha Olabode interception return. That'll work.

Oddest performance: Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas. Brown's not exactly a bell cow, but he's the featured runner for the Longhorns. Mack Brown said Malcolm Brown was healthy, but the sophomore and Longhorns leading rusher a season ago carried the ball just two times for 5 yards on Saturday. Three other players, including QB David Ash and freshman RB Johnathan Gray, had more plays called for them. What's up there?

The Kansas State Wildcats showed why Big 12 pundits should be paying closer attention to Bill Snyder’s squad with a dominant 52-13 victory over Miami. Here’s a closer look at how it happened:

It was over when: Miami appeared to be driving to tie the game at 7-7 early in the first quarter, but KSU defensive end Adam Davis had other ideas, forcing a Eduardo Clements fumble which was recovered by Arthur Brown. Davis’ play gave the Wildcats all the momentum and, more importantly, sent the message that Davis and the rest of the KSU defense were going to be creating havoc for most of the game.

Game ball goes to: The Hurricanes didn't have an answer for Collin Klein. The Wildcats' quarterback accounted for four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing) and showed improved passing skills. He’s not a finished product by any means but he’s improving, undoubtedly putting a scare into defensive coordinators across the Big 12.

Unsung hero: Davis. The Wildcats' linebacker forced two fumbles and recorded two sacks. If he was wearing No. 92 in black and gold, you would have sworn James Harrison was on the field.

Unsung hero, Take 2: While the skill position players get the attention, the Wildcats dominated the game in the trenches. KSU’s offensive line opened running lanes and paved the way for 498 total yards (288 rushing, 210 passing) on offense.

Heisman watch: Largely considered a dark-horse candidate, Klein could catapult into the Heisman conversation if he continues to play like he did on Saturday. The senior had 210 passing yards and 71 rushing yards in the win. The Wildcats’ Sept. 22 date with Oklahoma could be a defining moment.

What it means: The Wildcats' win boosts the BCS profile of the Big 12 Conference after a dominating win over an ACC opponent. And for KSU, the battle with the Sooners -- assuming KSU wins its home game against North Texas on Sept. 15 -- has become a huge game with national implications.

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.

Kansas State recruiting capsule

February, 4, 2010
Kansas State Wildcats

Total class: 28

ESPNU 150: 0

By position: CB 4, DT 3, OT 3, QB 3, ATH 2, RB 2, G 2, S 2, OLB 2, WR 2, TE 1, ILB 1, DE 1.

By state: Kansas 11, Texas 8, Florida 3, California 2, Maryland 1, Oklahoma 1, Colorado 1, Georgia 1.

Already enrolled in school: 6.

The big ones: RB Demarcus Robinson, ranked as the nation's No. 49 running back, has been favorably compared by coach Bill Snyder to Darren Sproles. DE Adam Davis, a productive pass-rusher at Hutchinson Community College, could immediately challenge for a starting position.

Sleeper: OL Manase Foketi, a mammoth 350-pounder from Mount San Antonio College, will add some much-needed beef in the trenches for the Wildcats.

Needs met: Four defensive linemen were added who could potentially challenge for immediate playing time. And with the loss of cornerback Joshua Moore to the NFL draft, any of the four arriving cornerbacks headed by Matthew Pearson and Darious Thomas will be useful for needed help. And underrated prospect Billy Cosh, son of KSU assistant Chris Cosh, will add more competition at the logjam at quarterback.

Analysis: Snyder has a typically heavy mix of junior college players and five players who were on the roster last season but whose scholarships will kick in this season. The most important part of this class is that important depth was added along both the offensive and defensive lines. The Wildcats could have used quarterback Cameron Newton, who decided last month to attend Auburn. Instead, Snyder added three quarterbacks for what is a position heavy on personnel but a big question mark heading into spring practice.

What Bill Snyder said: “It is kind of the way of the world and it is just the way of recruiting today. It’s different for me and I’m still trying to get my arms around it. I am not sure that I’m fully comfortable with it.” … [on the needs that the 2010 recruiting class satisfied]: “It relates to offensive and defensive line help more than anything else. We can build young guys up, but we need big guys to come in and make a contribution in the early stages of their career.”

Scouts Inc. grade/rankings: D, 12th in Big 12.