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No. 6 Wildcats proficient at forcing turnovers

Associated Press Modified: October 11, 2012 at 5:31 am •  Published: October 11, 2012
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Tannahill said Klein naturally tucks the ball up the way his coaches want, while Hubert might tend to leave it swinging out a bit more. Still, he adheres to the instructions the vast majority of the time, particularly in the most dangerous situations.

"Through the middle and through piles, he's always got two hands on that ball, which Coach emphasizes a lot," Tannahill said. "He's being coachable and doing what the coaches say. It's always kind of the cool thing to have the ball way out here, you see the NFL guys doing it, but that's not the team way to do it, and he's doing it the right way."

Defensive players are encouraged to strip the ball whenever they see it.

Seven Wildcats have forced fumbles this season. Three have intercepted passes. Cornerback Nigel Malone has done both, and he returned his most recent interception 55 yards in last Saturday's 56-16 victory over Kansas.

Malone said the secondary's better coverage of receivers combined with the defensive line's improvement in rushing the passer has resulted in a stronger defense.

"We're getting some good pressure on guys," Malone said. "In practice we make an emphasis of trying to strip the ball out there in practice, so it really did justice for us in the game."

The only program in the Big 12 with more forced turnovers this season is TCU, which has 14, but the Wildcats have a good chance to pull back ahead on Saturday. They visit Iowa State, which was last in the league in turnover margin last season and is seventh with a minus-1 margin this year.

So what's more important, the offense holding onto the ball or the defense popping it loose?

"It all just goes together," Malone said.