Following a 41-7 blowout of Iowa State in which the only Cyclone score came after K-State fumbled the ball away at it’s own ten yard line with five minutes left to play, it’s hard to say fans have seen a better defensive performance in Big 12 play from any team this year. And leading the way in that defensive effort was DE Ryan Mueller, who was just named the conference’s defensive player of the week.
Mueller was phenomenal with seven tackles on the day with two tackles for loss to go along with a sack and a batted down ball. He also knocked Cyclone quarterback Sam Richardson out of the game right before halftime. And while injuring players shouldn’t be the goal of anyone on the field, it just goes to show how hard he was hitting all day and how much of a difference he was making in the game.
Mueller was a bit of an unsung hero in 2012, playing behind studs Meshak Williams and Adam Davis. However, he still received extensive playing time in relief of the two and was among the team leaders in tackles and batted down football. Through eight games this year, Mueller is 5th on the team with 40 tackles. He leads the team with tackles for loss with 11.5 – Blake Slaughter is 2nd with just five – which is indicative of how much havoc he’s wrecking in the backfield. Over 25 percent of his tackles are happening behind the line of scrimmage. He also leads the team with seven sacks (K-State has 15 total) and two forced fumbles. Finally, he the only lineman with at least five passes defended.
Alright folks, brace yourselves now, because it’s time for a little braggart mode. As you may be aware, three games ago I said Baylor would be held to 35 points in the bold prediction of the week. That’s exactly what happened. Against West Virginia the prediction was for Daniel Sams to have a great passing day. He finished 8/8 with a touchdown and over 11 yards per pass. And last week my bold prediction was that K-State would feature the Big 12’s defensive player of the week. And boom goes the dynamite – that’s three out of a beautiful three since I started bold predictions (which means this week’s will go horribly awry).
Speaking of dynamite, the Wildcats have been exactly that recently. And after West Virginia’s 18-point triumph over #15 Texas Tech, I couldn’t be giddier about the trip down to Lubbock on Saturday. K-State’s looking to make some noise the second half of the season, and a win would bring the team to 3-3 in conference play and 5-4 overall. It would also bring Tech down to 4-3. And with the Red Raiders finishing their schedule against K-State, Baylor, and Texas, the Wildcats should have a great shot at finishing in the top half of the conference. For those keeping track, that means a trip to the Holiday Bowl out in San Diego on December 30. Don’t start making New Year’s plans just quite yet…