James McClinton is deeply spiritual and one of the all-around nicest guys on Kansas University's football roster.
So it was a bit of surprise during KU's 58-10 victory over Baylor on Saturday to see McClinton, KU's standout defensive tackle, getting in the face of Baylor quarterback Blake Szymanski at the end of the second quarter.
"On the second interception, when he got that flag, he chop-blocked me," McClinton said. "I'm trying to block him, and he took me straight to my legs. I'm like, 'Dude you chop-blocked me, man.' I was a little mad.
"Thank the Lord, I got my head right. I wasn't trying to get a penalty for us. You can see he got the penalty. I respect the dude. I ain't going to disrespect him, but man, let's go out there and play fair. Play football."
After the play - an interception by Chris Harris - McClinton was seen getting in Szymanski's face as other Baylor players got in the middle. Szymanski was flagged 15 yards for an illegal block, and it helped KU get into the end zone just before halftime and take a 31-3 lead.
"I respect my opponents," McClinton said. "I pray for them. I have mutual respect for them. I'm not going to try to disrespect them in no way. But if you disrespect me? It's motivation to make me play harder."
Though McClinton finished with just one tackle and no sacks, the All-Big 12 candidate did his part in keeping Baylor's quarterbacks uneasy.
The prolific passing offense of the Bears was a dud Saturday.
It worked for just 154 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.
"We didn't get a bunch of sacks," KU coach Mark Mangino said, "but we pushed back the pocket and took away some sight lines from them."
Added McClinton: "Like coach always said, if you can rattle up the quarterback, then he will know that you are coming."
It worked, but McClinton ended up a little rattled himself after the illegal block. Still, he holds no hard feelings toward Szymanski.
"After the game," McClinton said, "we chit-chat like men."