Kendall Adams made the big defensive plays, returning an interception and a fumble for touchdowns in Kansas State’s victory over Charlotte last Saturday.
That made Adams, K-State’s junior free safety, an easy choice as Big 12 defensive player of the week on Monday.
“Kendall balled out,” said Wildcat running back Alex Barnes. “Two touchdowns as a safety — that’s pretty rare.”
Adams intercepted Charlotte quarterback Hasaan Klugh in the first quarter and took it back 30 yards for a touchdown, and in the second quarter he scooped up a backward pass and returned it 46 yards in the 55-7 victory.
“You talk about being in the right place at the right time, he did exactly that,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “He was where he needed to be — where he was supposed to be — and, obviously, it paid off for him in both occasions.”
Adams did much more than score two touchdowns, turning in a solid all-around performance that caught Snyder’s eye. Adams made five tackles before an early departure along with the other starters, and in two games he has a team-high 13 tackles for the No. 18 Wildcats, who play their first road game this week at Vanderbilt.
“I think he’s becoming more and more comfortable being a returning starter,” Snyder said. “He processes information a lot faster and that gives him a chance to get a jump on the ball, which he did on the interception.
“It was more than just the fumble recovery and pass interception. He played well throughout the ballgame in a number of other areas.”
Other Big 12 player of the week honors went to Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (offense), Oklahoma State kicker Matt Ammendola (special teams) and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (newcomer).
RISNER QUESTIONABLE — Offensive tackle Dalton Risner left the Charlotte game after the opening series with an apparent leg injury. He did not return to the game and his status for the Vanderbilt game is uncertain.
“We’re hoping that we’ll have him back for the ballgame and for the vast majority of the week of practice,” Snyder said Monday. “It remains to be seen.”
Nick Kaltmayer took over for Risner at right tackle. Kaltmayer is a 6-foot-8, 280-pound sophomore who redshirted last season after transferring from Western Illinois.
“Nick is a pretty athletic young guy for an offensive lineman,” Snyder said. “He just needs to learn what the game is all about. He’s still young and doesn’t get all of it. When he does and learns all the things he’s responsible for from a fundamental standpoint, he’s a pretty good player. He has a lot to learn about the system and schemes.”
FAST START FOR VANDERBILT — The Commodores are 2-0, outscoring Middle Tennessee and Alabama A&M by a combined 70-6. They were 6-7 last year with a loss to North Carolina State in the Independence Bowl.
“I can look back at their schedule last year … five losses, I think three of them by seven points, one of them by three points and one of them by eight or nine points so they were extremely close to being an 11-win team last year,” Snyder said. “I think that gets overlooked in the shuffle a great deal. They are an awfully good football team.”
Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.