Hard fought wins are back in the Big 12 as we move through the early part of conference play, and this week features another game that could go down to the wire in the contest between Baylor and Kansas State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Last year’s game in Waco was decided by a field goal, with the Bears coming out on top.
This year, Baylor has jumped out to a 4-0 start following a last minute win over Iowa State. Most people thought Iowa State would come out the victor with their defense and style of play, but it was Baylor that played better on both sides of the ball. Now, the Bears did try and give the game away with a near fourth quarter collapse, but they were able to hang on for the victory. They have another tough test this weekend as they travel to Manhattan, Kansas.
For their part, the Wildcats have been licking their wounds from a defeat on the road against Oklahoma State last week. The 2019 season started strong for them, as they surged into Top 25. The loss was the first for Kansas State on the season, and the first loss for head coach Chris Klieman in almost two years. Kansas State is, of course, still technically in the Big 12 hunt, but they need to begin racking up some wins in the Big 12 if they want that to be a legitimate possibility for them late in the season.
- When: SAT, OCT 5, 2:30pm CT
- Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
- Forecast: Scattered Thunderstorms, around 73°
- TV: ESPN2
- Stream: WatchESPN
- Betting Line: KSU -1.5, O/U 49
By Matt Workman
Charlie Brewer put on another stellar performance throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over Iowa State. That brings Brewer’s season stats to 972 yards in the air with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. Saturday was a coming out party of sorts for sophomore wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. The young receiver notched 11 catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. Along with Thornton, Denzel Mims had another solid outing with 6 receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively the Bears are continuing to show progress and may be one of the best defensive units in the conference. They are ranked 20th in SP+ and have a knack for creating havoc on opposing offenses. They are led by linebacker Clay Johnston. Johnston had 13 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups against Iowa State. Chris Miller and Grayland Arnold are two players that are making their presence felt from the secondary as well.
Baylor Keys To The Game
Stop the run– Eventhough Kansas State has a new head coach they still want to do what Kansas State does. That means control clock and run the ball. Baylor must find a way to stop the run and force Kansas State into passing the ball which is not their strength. If Baylor can do this the have a good chance to escape Manhattan with a victory.
Run the ball – On the flip side Baylor must establish a running game and attempt to beat the Wildcats at their own game. Baylor and Matt Rhule want to win the line of scrimmage and control the clock as much as Kansas State. By establishing run game it will open the passing game and give Baylor their best chance to put points on the board.
Stop defensive fourth quarter lapses- Baylor has been great in the first three quarters of games giving up and average of five points in quartes 1 through 3. But in the fourth quarter Baylor is averaging 11.25 points given up per game. Baylor cannot continue this trend and expect to win Big 12 games on the road.
Workman’s Game Prediction
This is going to be another tough physical game for Baylor. I expect Baylor to take advantage of a run defense that Oklahoma State exposed and to have success running the Ball with John Lovett and their stable of effective running backs. The Baylor offense will be able to put more points on the board than they did last week led by another dynamic performance from Charlie Brewer. I think the Baylor defense has another good performance and limits opportunities for Kansas State and escapes Bill Snyder Family Staduim with a win.
Kansas State Wildcats
By Josh Cowan
The conference opener ended up being somewhat of a referendum on the Kansas State offense, which managed only 244 yards of total offense against an Oklahoma State defense that was regularly giving up more than 400 yards to their opponents going in. In the weeks prior, the Wildcats pounded on their foes with their run game, but in Stillwater the ground attack never really took off.
And the Pokes were more than willing to sell out to stop that dimension of the Kansas State offense, opting to let quarterback Skylar Thompson beat them if he could. Thompson, a junior, has been having his best season yet under the new coaching staff, but his struggles in Stillwater – like completing just under 48 percent of his passes – have raised some questions about how productive the Wildcats can be in the Big 12.
Along the lines of scrimmage is where Kansas State has their real strength, and that’s continued to shine throughout 2019. Defensively, the Wildcats have a stout defensive line that, combined with skill in their secondary, is holding opponents to 127.2 yards per game through the air. A.J. Parker is a player to look out for in that back end, since he already has two picks on the season.
Kansas State Keys To The Game
Have Success On Early Downs – Look for Baylor to use the same general approach to this game that the Cowboys did last week in getting Kansas State into obvious passing situations. Those are not the Wildcats’ strength, and they should look to make the most out of first and second down to avoid having to convert longer third downs. That will help them keep the chains moving.
Limit Big Plays – Against Iowa State, Baylor was able make enough plays to win the game at home. Kansas State will need to do all the things necessary for them to limit those big plays, including tackling in space and having good pursuit in defending the run.
Play A Cleaner Game – Last week, the Wildcats won the turnover margin in Stillwater, but they had two more penalties than the Pokes. This week, they need to try to play more of a mistake-free contest by minimizing penalties and in order to give the Bears fewer advantages in Manhattan.
Cowan’s Game Prediction
This one is shaping up to be the kind of game that’s not all dissimilar from the Bears’ contest against Iowa State last week, with relatively little scoring until later in the game. Last year, these two teams combined for five total turnovers, with Baylor edging out Kansas State in that category by having one less turnover.
The good news for the Wildcats is that Baylor only has one Big 12 road win in their first two seasons under Matt Rhule, and they are stepping into one of the tougher road environments in college football. At the end of the day, this game will likely be determined by the degree to which Kansas State can keep the chains moving on offense.
I think the Wildcats are able to get just enough offense in this one, and maybe they even get a turnover or two to help themselves out. Give me Kansas State to eek this game out by about a field goal at home.