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Top defenses square off as Kansas State meets Tulane

Sep 10, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Nathaniel Peat (8) is tackled by Kansas State Wildcats linebacker Austin Moore (41) during the fourth quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State enters their final nonconference game Saturday up against one of the best defenses in the country in Tulane.

In a contest where moving the ball will be at a premium, Tulane (2-0) actually has one of the few defenses that is statistically better than Kansas State’s.

Kansas State (2-0) has averaged 6.0 points allowed per game on defense and has given up one touchdown on the season. And that score came on an untimed down at the conclusion of their 40-12 victory over Missouri. After a roughing-the-passer penalty as the clock expired, K-State allowed a late score on a 1-yard run.

“We have a good football team and we’re continuing to improve, but we have a lot of guys with a chip on their shoulder (in the locker room) because we think we have the potential to have a good team and continue to improve,” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said. “This was no question a huge win.”

K-State will not take anyone by surprise now. After a shutout over South Dakota in the opener, it shut down Missouri’s offense. The Wildcats had interceptions on four straight second-half Tigers possessions, and those came on a total of five passes.

“I would definitely say we have made a statement that we’re fast as a defense,” cornerback Julius Brents said. “But we also have a lot of room to grow. I am just being humble with it. But honestly, I would say what we have put on film the past two weeks is pretty good. It’s just not to our standard yet.”

Tulane has been winning with defense as well, while getting the best of Massachusetts (42-10) and Alcorn State (52-0). Against Alcorn State, the Tulane defense surrendered four first downs plus 60 yards rushing and 49 passing. Their first road contest of the season Saturday will be a step up in level of competition.

“We’re very excited about getting our first shutout since 1997,” Tulane head coach Willie Fritz said. “It’s very difficult to shut out people nowadays. We got a chance to play a bunch of guys, and we got a chance to rest a bunch of guys.

“(K-State) is going to be superior to the two teams we defeated. But I like being 2-0 right now going into a tough ballgame.”

— Field Level Media