Kansas State defensive end Meshak Williams is still waiting to hear from Ralph Guidry.
Guidry, who had a penchant for blocking kicks in his K-State career on the defensive line, may have found the next Wildcat to carry his torch, as Williams not only blocked a key field goal in the first half of K-State’s 55-24 win over Texas Tech, but also got a big hit on quarterback Seth Doege that helped set the tone for the Wildcats in the rout.
Williams insists the call will come.
“As a matter of fact, he hits me up before every game,” he said. “He tells me to play hard and not lose sight of what I’ve got in front of me. I thank him for that.”
Saturday’s 55-24 win over Texas Tech got out of hand in the second half, but early on, the Wildcats needed a strong defensive effort.
They got it from Williams.
The senior had a pass breakup to go along with the blocked kick and the vicious hit on Doege that resulted in a fumble and a change in momentum for K-State, all of which came in a competitive first half that didn’t at all reflect the final score.
“We’ve been going up and down, but those plays right there gave us a lot of momentum at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second half,” he said. “And the rest of the game.”
With five minutes to play in the second quarter, Williams was able to get a hand on Ryan Bustin’s 50-yard field-goal attempt to keep the game tied. K-State would go on to kick a field goal to end the half with a lead.
But it was Williams and the K-State pass rush that proved to disrupt Tech’s offensive gameplan, especially in the second half.
Williams said he and fellow defensive end Adam Davis compete to see who can get to the quarterback first. Today, Williams came out on top.
“Me and Adam, we’re just competing,” he said. “We compete with each other and see who can get there first. I feel like that’s why we do well as a defensive line.”
Williams said the hit on Doege was the kind of play he enjoys most on the defensive line.
“Those are the hits d-ends look for,” he said. “If the quarterback isn’t looking for you and you get a free shot, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Williams has thrived this season as an every-down player, but said the transition hasn’t been easy.
“When you’re not in there every down, you have plenty of rest,” he said. “But in the Big 12, they’re moving quick, quick, quick, so you have to be more conditioned when you’re an every-down player, and I feel like I’ve been that.”
Head coach Bill Snyder said Williams has turned a corner the last four games.
“His improvement had been there, but small,” Snyder said. “Then all of a sudden it took off and I think he’s playing well now. He’s made immense improvement.”
Part of that improvement has come in the film room. That’s where Williams says he gains the most advantage over opposing offensive linemen.
“I do a lot of film watching now,” he said. “I watch who I’m going against, seeing who’s in front of me and what I have to do to beat the offensive linemen.”
While Williams’ hit on Doege and forced fumble was a momentum changer, the defensive line has given the K-State secondary plenty of help in containing the league’s top passing attacks all season long.
But Williams said none of the Wildcat defensive backs have offered to buy him dinner just yet.
“I wish,” he said, laughing. “But no, we thank each other, we congratulate each other. I tell them all I’ll put pressure on the quarterback and ya’ll just stay on your man.”