STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 5: Running back Angelo Pease #29 of the Kansas State Wildcats rushes in the first half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 5, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State 52-45. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Kansas State's back-to-back losses have yielded big points and knocked the Cats back in the Big 12 title race.
Bill Snyder likely has no problem with his resurgent Wildcats being the sore thumb among Big 12 team identities of spread offenses and shootouts. But K State's physical play might be wearing down the Cats quicker than some of their conference foes, an issue the Kansas City star spotlighted this week as K State rebounds from a 52-45 loss to Oklahoma State:
"Everybody is in that arena, and everybody has virtually played the same number of games," Snyder said. "The same tolls are taken on any other team as they are on ours. Probably the one thing that is a little bit different for us is depth.
"We’ve talked about that. Initially, we thought we were a little bit better in terms of depth, but as the season wears on, you lose some of that. I was talking about depth early in the season in terms of a two-deep. Most others are probably able to talk to depth in terms of three and four deep. We just can’t do that right now. That has a bit of a wearing effect."
K State has lost two in row, and both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State passed for more than 500 yards on the Wildcat defense. The Topeka Capital-Journal takes an optimistic view that KSU isn't reverting back its old ways.
Somehow, big passing numbers — especially when compiled by up-tempo spread offenses — seem less emasculating than big rushing numbers achieved by brute force.
None of it is pleasant, but the Wildcats (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) aren’t worried about two rough weeks derailing the defensive improvement they showed in the previous seven.
"We’re still confident," cornerback Nigel Malone said. "We’re just making sure we’re staying together, not losing any guys on the defense. You can only keep practicing and repping it, and we’ll improve."
While the loss to Oklahoma State all but feasibly eliminated the Wildcats from Big 12 title contention, there's still plenty to play for in this resurrection season under Snyder, including a bowl bid as high as the Cotton or Holiday bowls, if the Cats can run the table against A&M, Texas and Iowa State.