Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Jayd Kirby Gives K-State Defense a Boost with Sack, Fumble Recovery

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Jayd Kirby Gives K-State Defense a Boost with Sack, Fumble Recovery

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Kansas State isn't a heavy blitz defense, normally employing the tactic in obvious situations. The lack of a strong pass rush and coverage breakdowns in the secondary have caused issues in pass defense, making the blitz a vital part of the scheme.

One successful blitz Saturday proved crucial. Kansas received the second-half kickoff, and with a touchback had first down at the 35-yard line when Jayd Kirby recorded the trifecta with a 7-yard sack of quarterback Carter Stanley, forcing a fumble and recovering on the 18.

"I got the call and lined up and everybody executed well and left me a wide open lane to get to the quarterback," Kirby said. "I guess it was a pretty big play in the game. It gave our offense the ball back around the 20, so it was a good play."

The Wildcats converted the takeaway into a 3-yard touchdown run by Alex Barnes for a 17-6 lead and went on to a 30-20 victory over the Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium.

"We knew we've had some trouble disguising our blitzes and people could see it coming, so we tried to hide it a little more, and I thought we did a better job hiding it," Wildcat linebacker Trent Tanking said.

"It was a big play. I was on the back end and scrambling to cover, and I turned around and saw Jayd sack the quarterback. There was a scuffle going on and Jayd has the ball. It was an awesome play by Jayd. It was huge because the offense has a short field and put the ball in the end zone and gave us some momentum."

Kirby forced three fumbles in the game, with four tackles for loss among his five stops, but overall it wasn't a good day for the K-State defense. Facing a KU team that managed only 21 total yards the previous week at TCU and was shut out in two straight games, Stanley made his first start of the season and passed for 418 yards.

"I think it was more of us kind of busting assignments," Kirby said. "They did do a good job. Carter Stanley is a good quarterback and they played hard, but we had some busted assignments that didn't help us."

That was true on KU's final touchdown, a 60-yard pass to Steven Sims, who had nine receptions for 233 yards.

"We did everything we could to make the attempt to stop them," K-State coach Bill Snyder said. …

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