(2) Kansas State (10-0) at Baylor (4-5)|
Saturday, November 17, 8 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The Kansas State Wildcats, who are the No. 1 team in the most
recent BCS rankings and the No. 2 team in this week's AP Poll, continue their
quest for perfection as they pay a visit to the Baylor Bears for a Big 12
Conference showdown on Saturday night.
Kansas State has beat up on all comers this season, running out to a 10-0
record by outscoring the opposition by an average of 24.5 ppg. The Wildcats
won at TCU last weekend, 23-10, and they will clinch a share of the Big 12
title and the league's automatic BCS bowl bid with its next win.
Baylor is a Jekyll-and-Hyde squad when it comes to offense and defense, as the
team ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring (42.7 ppg) while checking in
the bottom 10 in points allowed (39.4 ppg). Since opening the season at 3-0,
the Bears have lost five of their last six, the most recent setback occurring
last Saturday at Oklahoma, 42-34.
The all-time series between these two conference rivals favors K-State, 7-2.
Baylor is 0-11-1 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in any poll.
Led by Heisman hopeful QB Collin Klein, the Kansas State offense averages 42.2
points and 421.1 total yards per contest. Klein has completed nearly 70
percent of his passes for 2,020 yards with 12 TDs against only three
interceptions, and he is one of the team's top ground gainers as well,
checking in with 748 yards and a whopping 19 rushing TDs. John Hubert has
amassed 783 yards and 12 scores in averaging better than five yards per carry.
Chris Harper and Tyler Lockett both have 36 receptions, and the two have
combined for 1,160 yards and five TDs. The KSU offensive line has allowed just
10 sacks this season.
The Wildcats' strength on defense has been their ability to shut down the run,
as foes are generating just 98.9 ypg on the ground and have scored only six
rushing TDs. Those same opponents, mostly in an effort to battle from behind,
average more than 250 ypg passing, but they are just 38 percent successful on
third-down conversion attempts. Arthur Brown leads the 'Cats with 69 tackles,
while Ty Zimmerman has five picks and Meshak Williams has 8.5 sacks. Adam
Davis has 6.5 sacks.
Klein threw for just 145 yards with no TDs and an interception last week at
TCU, but scored twice on the ground to help push the 'Cats past the Horned
Frogs in what was their lowest scoring output of the season. TCU managed just
96 net rushing yards and coughed the ball up twice.
Williams logged two of K-State's six sacks on the day, and Zimmerman had yet
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder knows his team is on the cusp of something
pretty special, and he spoke recently about the reception he and his team have
received from the fans.
"There are people that are followers of our program, supporters of our
program, that are very gracious. I think they feel good about the direction of
the program and feel good about the young people in our program."
Like Kansas State, Baylor has a pretty good quarterback of its own in Nick
Florence. A 61.5 percent passer who has thrown for nearly 3,200 yards with 25
TDs and 11 interceptions, Florence has been everything BU fans could have
hoped for following the departure of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.
It certainly helps to have extremely talented guys tracking down your passes,
and Terrance Williams is among the best in the nation as he has 77 grabs for
1,431 yards and 10 TDs. The run game isn't asked to do a whole lot, but the
Bears do have four guys who have rushed for at least 362 yards this season,
the quartet combining for 19 TDs.
Simply put, the Baylor defense is an absolute mess. Opponents have had a field
day mainly through the air (321.1 ypg, 26 TDs), although the effort against
the run (198.7 ypg, 23 TDs) hasn't been much better. Despite the unit's
ineffectiveness, Bryce Hager has logged a team-high 89 tackles. The Bears have
recorded only 11 sacks this season, and that lack of pressure has taken a
significant toll on the guys in the secondary.
Former Oregon Duck Lache Seastrunk ran for 91 yards and scored three TDs last
week for Baylor, but it wasn't enough as the team fell short in its upset bid
of Oklahoma. Florence had a rough day, going 12-of-33 for 172 yards without a
TD, although he did manage 83 yards and a score on the ground. Williams still
managed to haul in six balls for 91 yards.
The Bears allowed OU quarterback Landry Jones to pass for 277 yards and two
TDs, while giving up 183 yards and four scores on the ground. Hager was a man
possessed, logging 16 tackles, which included the team's only sack. The Bears
did come up with a pair of turnovers, but the Sooners converted the majority
of their third-down opportunities (9-of-13).
Baylor head coach Art Briles was asked about facing a top-ranked team, and
while not taking anything away from the opponent and all they've accomplished,
he put the onus on his club to play up to its potential.
"It's all about us. We have to continue to fight hard to get our fifth win and
it just so happens that Kansas State is coming to town. If you play in this
league, you will play really great football teams, so we have to be one of
them. I think we're very determined, I think we're hungry, and I think we're
getting better, and that gives me a lot of inspiration at this point in the
While the Bears aren't about to go into hibernation as they strive for bowl
eligibility, the Wildcats have way too much to lose. Expect Klein and company
to keep their perfect record in tact, and claim the Big 12's automatic BCS
berth with another big win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 49, Baylor 31
11/14 10:53:43 ET