In the aftermath of the 58-28 loss to seventh-ranked Texas Tech on Saturday, Kansas State players emerged one by one in the meeting room at the Vanier Football Complex and looking ahead to a meeting at Texas A&M appeared to be the farthest thing on their minds. Reggie Walker perhaps summed it up best among the players, coaches and the crowd of 43,614 that witnessed the Wildcats' worst home loss in a dozen years.
"I feel sick. That's the best way to put it," Walker said. "I feel really sick."
Walker collected a career-high 10 tackles in his 20th career start. The senior outside linebacker had no idea during the offseason that the Wildcats' demise could come to this. Walker, a native of Sacramento, Calif., had been through 20 other losses in his K-State career. None like this at home, though.
"Even though I'm from out of state, I'm still playing my (rear) off for Kansas because I've been here and it means a lot to me to play for this school," he said. "It means a lot to me and to everyone else, too. We just need to capitalize."
"Anytime there's a loss, it feels the exact same way to me," he said. "It's my senior year and I just don't want to go out like I have the last three seasons."
K-State, 3-2, hadn't suffered a worse loss at home since a 39-3 loss to sixth-ranked Nebraska in 1996. But Texas Tech, which racked-up 626 total yards and lived-up to its top ranking nationally in passing offense with 490 yards, marked the latest episode in a string of unsightly trends that continues to dog the Wildcats.
K-State has allowed an average of 42.1 points in its last eight games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. The Wildcats lost four of those by no fewer than 16 points.
A more micro-approach reveals opponents have gained 1,712 total yards in the last 12 quarters against the Wildcats. They have averaged 6.6 yards on 258 total plays from scrimmage.
Third-year coach Ron Prince awoke Sunday to find his defense enters the week ranked No. 102 in total defense (421.6 yards), No. 101 in rushing defense (192.4 yards), No. 94 in scoring defense (29.8 points) and No. 86 in passing defense (229.2 yards).
In the Big 12? It's not even close. K-State surrenders 42.8 more yards per game than any other team in the league and has given up 20 touchdowns, two more than any other squad. It has turned in three of the five worst defensive performances by any Big 12 team this season.
"It doesn't really matter how many yards you give up as long as you come out with the W. That's the most important thing right now," inside linebacker John Houlik said. "We're definitely not happy with some of the things on defense."
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