Gundy actually liked what his defense did in the first half and I agree, I believe this defense is good at stopping one facet of an offense. In the first half they held K-State, minus the 57-yard double reverse to 21 carries for 71 yards rushing and quarterback Collin Klein to 26 yards on seven carries. Now the Wildcats used the screen game and short passing game for 104 yards and a Weeden interception for a pick six.
"Overall, I thought our defense played really well," said Gundy. "People are going to look at the score and say, ‘What are you talking about?' In the first half they played really good. We put them in a difficult situation and they gave up one big pass play and the reverse. I know those count but they held them in check when our offense wasn't playing very well. In the second half they were able to move the ball by converting some third and fourth down plays because their quarterback is really good at running the football."
In the second half the Cowboys got out of the aggressive match coverage they were doing that allowed a "spy" on Klein and went with move cover four. Kansas State noticed and Klein rushed for 118 yards in the second half and Kansas State had a total of 148 on the ground.
The defense needs to work on better taking both facets, run and pass, away from an opposing offense and they will.
My other detailed thought is that for the second time this season we have seen All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon make crucial mistakes that cost the Cowboys a touchdown. He fumbled a punt early on that led to a K-State field goal, but in the second half fumbled as he was running toward the end zone and for the second time this season (remember, Texas A&M) he saw a potential touchdown turn to touchback.
"Right, you know, coming to the sideline I told them, ‘I won't be the reason we lose this game.' I know I had a big mistake in the end zone where I fumbled, and you know, got the touchback, and they ended up going down and scoring," said Blackmon. "But, you know, I look towards the next play and I know another opportunity will come."
"He moves on and he doesn't let plays bother him," said quarterback Brandon Weeden. "He worries about the next play. You could see it when we made the mistake, he fumbles and he comes to the sideline after the fumble he sprints to the side line, didn't let his head drop. It didn't bother him and he made the next play that ended up being one of the biggest plays of the game."
It sure did as Blackmon caught the Weeden throw over the middle and then burst through the Wildcat back end of the defense for a 54-yard touchdown. He added a two-point conversion catch and then on the next drive, the actual winning drive, caught a key pass.
"He's done that throughout his career," Gundy said of Blackmon. "Do I want him to not make mistakes, you bet I do. I want guys that are willing to fight. Guys that get punched in the face I want them to get off the canvas and get back up and fight and that is what he does."
It is performances and attitudes like Blackmon that will hopefully keep the Cowboys "bad" nights from becoming bad results. No matter how you saw that game last night, the record today is 9-0. There are no promises next week in Lubbock, a future cold Friday at Iowa State, or Bedlam at Boone Pickens in December, but you can't be unbeaten without that close call that had a little ugly on it last night.
My thought is they can handle it.