By Greg DeVries
The story of the day, aside from David defeating Goliath, was Baylor’s defense playing relatively flawless, something Baylor fans are not used to.
“We had faith in our defense,” junior running back Glasco Martin said, “We knew as an offense that we could potentially score every time we got the ball in our hands. We just jumped on the backs of our defense and they came up with a stop and we took advantage of it.”
The defense has come a long way. It was only six games ago that this same defense let up 70 points to the now unranked West Virginia Mountaineers, and it has only been four weeks since the Bears gave up 56 points to the No. 15 Texas Longhorns.
“Well, we knew coming into this game that we kept getting better and getting better all year, and we just knew tonight that it was just more motivation against the No. 1 team in the nation,” junior cornerback Joe Williams said.
Williams had two interceptions against Kansas State and now leads the Bears with three interceptions on the year. Forcing turnovers has also been a big part of Baylor’s recent success. Baylor forced three turnovers against the No. 1 team in the nation to help them earn the victory.
“Turnovers were huge,” junior safety Sam Holl said. “We really wanted to win the turnover battle. That’s huge in any game. I feel like we did a good job doing it this game. I think everybody showed up and played really well, tackled well, got turnovers, so that was good.”
The physicality of the defense has also notably improved. Earlier in the season, arm tackling plagued the team.
The defense has been wrapping up, and hitting ball carriers low to take them down.
“We definitely brought pressure on them and it was difficult for them to keep up and see where we were coming from, our blitzing lanes,” junior linebacker Eddie Lackey said. “From a physicality standpoint, we just really were on the attack and we attacked everything”
They have also been dialing up pressure. Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein was sacked twice against Baylor, and was frequently hurried or knocked down.
“We knew we had to keep [Klein] unhappy back there and unsettled,” junior defensive end Chris McAllister said. “You don’t want him sitting back there able to do what he wants to, having all the time he can get, so we wanted to keep him moving and have some pressure on him. We wanted him to have to make some throws when he’s not able to make them. We were able to do that.”
Baylor still has to win another game to become bowl eligible.
“Our football team is getting better,” head coach Art Briles said. “We’re better now than we were a month ago. We’re becoming a better football team. We felt good about how our game has progressed over the last two to three weeks without question. We’re playing good football right now. We’re playing our best football of the season right now. We’ve still got some growth in front of us. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish the job. The job’s not finished yet.”