"We are as fast as anyone in the Country"

Cats ready to Mess with Texas! Reggie Walker and Co. are not concerned with the speed the Longhorn's will put on the field this weekend and are saying so prior to heading to Austin. Longhorns, Take note....these Cats are not backing down....Read More!

Longhorns ... take note.

"Coach (Ron) Prince says we're as fast as anybody that we're going to play. You can mark that down. We're not concerned with how fast they are."

The not-backing-down-from-no-one words were those of Kansas State linebacker Reggie Walker as the Wildcats prepare for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. ABC clash with the always ultra-fast Texas Longhorns.

Walker may, or may not be, right about the team speed, but it's also fact that the Wildcats have no one who can match UT's Jamaal Charles stride-for-stride.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior leads the league in rushing at 118 yard per game. In his first two Texas seasons, he has rushed for 831 and 878 yards as a sophomore and freshman, respectively, plus has scored a total of 24 rushing touchdowns, which includes three this season.

Oh, that speed?

Charles was second in the Big 12 100 meters last year with a clocking of 10.32, which followed a freshman year when he was crowned the league's fastest man in 10.23 at the league's outdoor championships.

Still, as Walker says, "If we play mistake-free, we'll be fine."

Kansas State proved a year ago that it could have a portion of the game littered with mistakes, and still win. That came in a 45-42 Wildcat victory over then No. 4 ranked Texas. The Wildcats gave up 143 rushing yards - 16 carries for 87 yards and 2 TDs for Charles - and 241 more through the air. But a big-play Wildcat offense - four TDs of at least 18 yards - was the difference-maker on this night.

Prince called it a "really nice win," but said the road win at Colorado carried more significance, and added, "We didn't win a championship by winning that game (Texas), but it was a good win for us. We needed that." Needed that, but certainly not to validate himself as a coach.

"I don't need any wins to validate myself ... ever," Prince said. Needed, but certainly not perfect.

"I hesitate to call it our best game because we gave up 42 points," Prince said. "Any game where you give up 42 can't be the best game you played."

Saturday, K-State will try to improve on that defensive effort, plus have the same explosiveness on offense.

"I feel pretty good with where we're at defensively when it comes to being assignment sound," said end/linebacker Ian Campbell.

In reference to the 61-10 win over Missouri State, Campbell said, "I think we needed more splash plays and more turnovers, but as for shutting down the offense (191 yards), we did that job."

K-State has forced just three turnovers in three games, while losing six for a negative-1.0 per game to rank 10th in the league. Marcus Watts said the team was still "missing too many tackles," and pointed to the defensive turnover problems that continue to plague the Wildcats.

"One game it's one guy, and the next game it's another guy," Watts said. "We just have to be more disciplined in what we do."

As for pinning down a reason why so many yellow flags fly against the Wildcats, Watts said, "We have guys giving great effort and sometimes hit too high and get their hands in the wrong areas (face mask). Some are personal foul penalties from just being a little over aggressive. The aggressiveness is something we don't want taken away from us, but we just have to play smarter.

"It's one of the things bugging us," Watts said of KSU's Big 12-high of 399 yards in total penalties in just three games. "We have to get rid of the virus."

Overall, Prince said he was pleased with how K-State was taking the run away from teams, and with the way the Wildcats have played defensively on third down.

K-State's rush defense of 68 yards per game ranks second in the Big 12 and 11th nationally, and its third-down defensive percentage of .283 ranks fourth in the league.

A year ago, the Wildcat allowed 149 rushing yards per game (9th in the Big 12) and opponents converted 37 percent of all third-down plays.


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