Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah sacks TCU quarterback Chandler Morris in the fourth quarter of last month's game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Anudike-Uzomah's has six forced fumbles this fall, tied for K-State's single-season school record and ranking first among FBS players in 2021.

Nearly any sentence about Felix Anudike-Uzomah these days begins and ends with talk of his sack total. And rightly so. His 11 sacks are tied for third nationally among FBS players this fall. One more will give him Kansas State’s single-season school mark in that category.

Yet because of his quarterback-sacking prowess, another area where Anudike-Uzomah is excelling has been overshadowed: his penchant for forcing fumbles.

He has six this fall, which not only is tied for most in a single campaign in K-State history — Darren Howard had the same number in 1999 — but leads the FBS.

Wildcat head coach Chris Klieman partially credits defensive ends coach Buddy Wyatt and defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo for that. The pair, Klieman said, emphasize strip sacks every day at practice.

“We do a circuit once a week where we’re either working strip sacks or strip on the ball carrier,” Klieman said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. “Felix takes that to another level, and what an impact it has when you’re able to not only get the sack, but strip the football.”

Klieman pointed to another play in last week’s win over West Virginia: Anudike-Uzomah’s forced fumble in the fourth quarter. Though it didn’t count as a sack — he stripped it from running back Leddie Brown, not quarterback Jarret Doege — it still was a key moment, as it essentially sealed the victory with the Wildcats up 31-17.

“That was a big play in the game,” he said, “and got us another chance to score and took the momentum away.”

Anudike-Uzomah is familiar with the feeling of something being taken away, too. In the best game of his career, last month versus TCU, he tied the single-game school record with four sacks. But he initially had six — which would have been the most ever by a Big 12 player and tied the FBS single-game mark — before the NCAA ruled that two of his sacks weren’t, well, sacks.

It circled back, ironically enough, to forced fumbles.

On the two sacks the NCAA negated, Anudike-Uzomah knocked the ball away. On both plays, the Horned Frogs recovered the ball past the original line of scrimmage. Thus, the NCAA deemed these plays rushing attempts, not passes.

Klieman couldn’t help but joke about it.

“To force six fumbles on top of however many sacks he has — or should have, probably a couple more of them — he’s had a phenomenal season,” Klieman said.

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