The Baylor Bears acquitted themselves well in their first conference road game, but Kansas State managed to be nearly flawless in order to start out 1-0 in conference play.
Bill Snyder’s squad started off making the Bears pay for mistakes like only KSU can.
The Wildcats marched down the field relatively quickly to open the game on a drive highlighted by an Alex Barnes 38 yard run. On first down from the Baylor 16 yard line, the Bears jumped offside and Jesse Ertz took a deep shot to Isaiah Zuber in the corner of the end zone that paid off for six. KSU was up, 7-0.
Zach Smith found enough success to put the Bears in position for a field goal that put them on the scoreboard. A Byron Pringle punt return down to the Baylor 38 yard line gave the Wildcats good field position, but they managed only a field goal to go up 10-3.
The second quarter started off scary for Kansas State when D.J. Reed fumbled the punt return at the Kansas State 14 yard line and Baylor recovered. The Wildcat defense bailed him out, though, and Baylor would come up empty when their field goal attempt was blocked.
Ertz then drove the ball down the field, at one point hitting Isaiah Zuber for a 29-yard gain, and the Wildcats score on a Winston Dimel handoff at the one yard line.
With less than five minutes to go in the half, the Wildcats got the ball and engineered a drive that got them inside the redzone, mostly thanks to Ertz’s legs. They were unable to get a touchdown, however, forcing the Matthew McCrane field goal that made it 20-3 at halftime.
Baylor received the kickoff to open the third quarter and turned that into a seven minute drive that was highlighted by a fake punt that punter Connor Martin took 16 yards to pickup the first down. The defense in purple bent plenty on the drive, but kept the Baylor offense out of the end zone and Martin came back onto the field to knock in another field goal, making the score 20-6.
A K State three-and-out followed and after being held out of the end zone for almost three quarters, Baylor scored on a 74 yard run by Jon Lovett after he took the zone read handoff.
Just as Baylor was beginning to catch some momentum, however, an errant snap on their next possession gave the KSU offense the ball inside the redzone. The Wildcats capitalized on it with a Jesse Ertz 15-yard TD run to distance themselves 27-13.
Baylor would respond four plays later, however, when Smith hit Denzel Mims as he sliced through Kansas State’s zone coverage and he raced to the end zone for the 70 yard score.
The Kansas State running game started to get going again and even though the Baylor D held up, KSU extended their lead with the 49 yard McCrane field goal to 30-20.
Then, a special teams miscue by the Bears’ punter Martin gave the Wildcats the ball on the 17 yard line. Kansas State could have made it a three score game with just under five minutes to play, but they came up with only a field goal to extend their lead.
Baylor then began making big plays down the field with Smith making big throws through the air, but a Kendall Adams interception sealed the win for KSU. Final score: 33-20.
|3rd Down Eff||5-15||4-11|
|4th Down Eff||2-3||0-0|
|Yards Per Pass||6.6||7.0|
|BU – Z. Smith||26/44||291||6.6||1||1||47.7|
|KSU – J. Ertz||7/17||119||7.0||1||0||85.0|
|BU – J. Lovett||7||95||13.6||1||74|
|KSU – J. Ertz||12||95||7.9||1||15|
|BU – D. Mims||7||127||18.1||1||70|
|KSU – I. Zuber||4||79||17.0||1||29|
EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK
Jesse Ertz was every bit of The Man today for Kansas State. He led the team in rushing and came up with big plays every time KSU found themselves in a tight down-and-distance situation. K State ran the quarterback draw multiple times on third and long and were successful. Ertz was also able to come up with big throws when they were necessary. It didn’t always look pretty offensively, but Ertz was efficient and what seemed to be a mostly mistake-free day.
Kansas State threw the ball 28.3 percent of the time in this contest. It’s no secret that Bill Snyder’s crew likes to run the ball and be physical, but the Wildcats only completed seven passes against a team that gave up 14.9 yards per pass last week. Any hope the Wildcats had of trying to showcase a semblance of balance didn’t get any help from the multiple dropped passes by the K State wide receivers, one of which was a drop by Isaiah Zuber in the end zone that could have given the Wildcats a 17 point lead late in the fourth.
The Wildcats don’t get credit for being ‘special’ on special teams, but they were above average. D.J. Reed’s fumble inside the ten yard line could have been disastrous had the KSU defense not been able to come up with some big plays. Other than that, Kansas State made all the field goals they attempted and had some returns that put the offense in good field position.
Other Big 12 teams should take notice of Zach Smith, who has shown a really outstanding ability to find the open guy in the defense and is really smart with his ball placement in his last two games. Baylor made it clear they are going to try and throw deep to Denzel Mims any time he’s in one-on-one coverage, but the Bears showed that they still have some talent and speed at wide receiver.
It’s pretty safe to say that Matt Rhule’s team is getting better every week, but there were still some mental errors that kept Baylor from being able to possibly win this game. There were problems with penalties for both teams in this one, but multiple false starts in particular hurt the Baylor offense. Multiple bad snaps in this game also worked to gift great field position to a Wildcats offense that sometimes struggled to move the ball consistently