Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Bold Football Predictions: Kansas State Will Hold Baylor To 35 Or Fewer Points


Unless you live under a rock or are simply choosing not to believe Baylor’s offense has done the things it’s done, you know that Oregon does not have the attack that’s frightening defensive coordinators more than any other in the nation. That offense does not lie in Columbus, Ohio, or in SEC country. It practices at a small, private school in Waco and is currently the source of more nightmares than the movie Saw when it first came out. And K-State is about to do something no one else has come close to doing: limit it.

Quickly, here are the pertinent stats on the offense that are making Baylor a 17-point favorite this Saturday:

  • #1 in points per game (70.5), yards per game (779.5), and yards per play (9.6);
  • 14 of 35 scoring drives (40 percent) have taken 60 seconds or less;
  • 29 of 35 (83 percent) have taken 120 seconds or less;
  • First team to begin season by scoring 66+ in first four games since data available in 1980;
  • Starting quarterback Bryce Petty left the game against West Virginia after just one drive in the second half. At that point, the offense had already accumulated 674 yards, scoring touchdowns on nine of 10 possessions, for a 63-21 lead.

That’s scary stuff. Or at least it should be. However, I’m maintaining my faith in the team keeping this one close. Here’s why:

Baylor hasn’t faced a defense like K-State’s.
Stop laughing. Just stop. The Wildcats are trotting out a top-ten defense when they step onto the field, but look at who Baylor’s been beating up on. Wofford, Buffalo, LA-Monroe, and West Virginia? One of those teams has a winning record (Buffalo, at 3-2), but needed a five overtime victory over FCS Stony Brook. There’s just not a lot of talent there.

K-State is talented. Ty Zimmerman won’t be an All-American this year, but he should be. The linebacking corps is finally developing into the unit it should have been at the beginning of the year, Travis Britz and Ryan Mueller are two nasty defensive linemen, and Kip Daily may not be completely lockdown at cornerback but he’s a damn fine playmaker. And make no mistake about it – Oklahoma State is a good offense. The Wildcats turned the ball over five times and still held the Cowboys to 33 points. That includes two turnovers that gave the Poke the ball inside the red zone. In fact, K-State forced three-and-outs on six of seven second half possessions (two of which were field goals). That’s a defense that stepped up and locked down the team picked by many to win the conference.

K-State will control the clock.
I understand this stat doesn’t mean a lot in and of itself – Baylor scores quickly. The time of possession split was an even 30/30 with West Virginia, though the Bears won 73-42. However, assuming the defense does a better job of limiting big plays, K-State’s offense will seek to control the tempo. That’s the only way to win this game – wear down the Baylor defense while keeping the Wildcat defense fresh. Daniel Sams will start and see the majority of playing time. He has to – Jake Waters is still throwing interceptions. Sams will be a predominantly running threat, limiting passes (particularly if Tyler Lockett remains injured and Tramaine Thompson continues feeling the effects of having mono). Even if Baylor can score a touchdown every two minutes it has the ball, if K-State limits the Bears to just 4-5 possessions per half and with a couple punts plus a field goal, that score starts dropping real quick.

Deviation to the mean.
Baylor is the top passing team AND the second-best rushing team in the nation as measured by yards per game. You get one or the other, but not both. Sooner or later, you’re due for a dud. I called Baylor the second-best in the conference going into the season, with the potential to be the best. But that doesn’t mean they can sustain an average 70.5 points per game average.

Because I deserve it.
Yes, me. Personally. I’m still not over the obscenely poor officiating decision that upheld a fumble by Daniel Sams. Three days later, I’m still not over the multitude of penalties K-State racked up on Saturday (though the Wildcats deserved pretty much every one of those). It’s time John Hubert finally looks good – I’ve been suffering lackluster games from him all season. I was deprived of a single exciting return against the Cowboys – the team had -1.0 yards in punt returns (one return by Ty Zimmerman), and all seven kick returns were worthless. If I’m going to root for the squad with the best return game in the nation, I deserve to be entertained. It’s all about me, and I’ve been unduly deprived. It’s time I enjoy the product I watch. This is the weekend.

There’s no place like home.
Baylor is 4-0 this year, but 0-0 on the road. It’s time for Wildcat fans to demonstrate their loyalty despite the frustrating start to the season. I want to see Bill Snyder Family Stadium rocking harder than the cathedral bells overseen by Quasimodo. In 2011 an unstoppable quarterback – Robert Griffin – brought led an undefeated Baylor team into Manhattan. That K-State wasn’t as talented as the one that won the Big 12 in 2012, but the Wildcats still emerged victorious, 36-35. Yes, 35 points – my ceiling for this week’s game. David Ubben of Fox Sports makes an excellent observation in an article published Monday:

Since beating a 5-7 Texas team in Austin back on Oct. 30, 2010, the Bears haven’t won a conference road game in regulation. Baylor is just 1-8 in its last nine Big 12 road games, and the only win came against 2-10 Kansas in 2011.

Maybe I’m just a dreamer. However, those dreams are not nightmares. Baylor’s offense is to be respected, but I refuse to fear it. Not on K-State’s Big 12 home opener. The Wildcats struggled at the beginning with three false starts on the first drive because the linemen couldn’t hear the snap count. Baylor expects to come in and run play after play with Bryce Petty calling plays at the line of scrimmage. Assuming the students uphold their responsibility and show up with noise, Baylor’s rhythm will be severely interrupted in a way that just doesn’t happen when teams get to play at home. And that may be the true key to limiting Baylor to half its season scoring average. So show up, get loud, and let’s help get this season back on track.

Tags: Baylor Game Preview K-State Kansas State Predictions

  • Justin

    You have to be out of your mind, Baylor hasn’t played 3 quarters all season. I doubt a team that is averaging 56 points in the first half all season won’t score 35 in four quarters. Pray, just pray.

    • davethoman

      Baylor played a full four quarters today. Good game. 35 points.

  • RebelT

    “One of those teams has a winning record (Buffalo, at 3-2), but needed a five overtime victory over FCS Stony Brook. There’s just not a lot of talent there.”

    Umm…last I checked, they did win their game, despite needing overtime to do it. Kansas State didn’t win, in overtime or otherwise. What’s that about talent, again?

    • clayboy

      What he said^^

  • BearMace

    That is certainly a bold prediction. Crowd will certainly be a factor, but unless they rush the field and the game is called at halftime there is ZERO chance Baylor is held under 45 for an entire game. Then again, even if you did hold Baylor in the 30′s it probably wouldn’t matter given that you average just over 30 pts per game and Baylor averages just under 30 pts in the 1st quarter. Good luck with that.

    • davethoman

      Obviously this K-State offense still needs to figure out how to score in the red zone. Probably the difference in the game. Fortunately, this game wasn’t called at halftime, as it was exciting until the end.

  • clayboy

    Hahahahaha!

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  • WarDamnBear

    This is satire, right?

    • davethoman

      The best satire is reality in disguise.

  • Bob

    You mean 35 in the first half, right?

    • davethoman

      Nah, final score. Good game.

  • Lizzybear

    Hahahahaha hahaha haha Just like they did last year right? With a better defense than they have this year? … oh wait. I think you mean 35 points in the first quarter. You better hope we dont keep our first string in after the first half! Even snyder laughed when asked how to stop baylor. Good luck holding us to 35… actually, good luck holding us to 65.

    • davethoman

      35 in the final. Good game.

      • Lizzybear

        Definitely alot closer than I was expecting. Bears kept dropping passes and almost shot themselves in the foot. But Kstate has a solid defense and their offense eats up the clock! Great game!

  • TopQuarkBear

    Yes, KSU held OSU to 33 points…. and WVU’s “inferior” defense held them to 21 points. In case you can’t do the arithmetic, that means that KSU gave up 55% MORE POINTS to the same offense. That means that KSU’s defense is roughly 55% WORSE than WVU’s defense.

    Since we hung 73 points on WVU, we should easily be able to hang well over 110 on you. But we won’t do that. Because Art Briles is merciful. Once we reach 50 points in the 2nd quarter, we’ll spend the remainder of the game trying as hard as we can NOT to score. But we won’t be able to stop ourselves. So I’m thinking 70+. Again. Enjoy the game!

    • davethoman

      Oklahoma State was scoring after K-State turned the ball over in Cowboys’ territory over and over again. The defense actually held tough against OSU, just couldn’t overcome the offensive mistakes. I did enjoy the game exciting to the end.

  • Brandon

    Bill Snyder just turned 74… 74 points against his defense seems like a fitting birthday gift.

  • Jeffrey Hinkle

    Your statement that Baylor has not faced a defense ilk K-State is misleading.
    Baylor most certainly has met an Offense like K-State and it was K-State them selves last year. This Baylor team went on to defeat Ranked Oklahoma state and Ranked UCLA in the Holiday Bowl. (Why is UCLA ranked ahead of Baylor) Then Baylor continues where they left off last season and indeed has turned their program into a Juggernaut. So to say Baylor who has greatly improved over last season has not faced an offense like K-States in Mis-Leading. It would be better to say Kansas State has not face a Baylor Offense such as this Juggernaut coming to play them Saturday.

    • davethoman

      Both statements are true.

      • davethoman

        Also, I don’t believe UCLA should be ranked ahead of Baylor.

  • thomas waterdog

    Hmm,,,,,think your estimates are a little optimistic…
    Punt 2 or 3 times in a half?…..Baylor NEVER punted in the game against WV
    2 minutes to score….try 1minute 20 seconds on average……
    try 618 yds in a half……..try 8 DIFFERENT PLAYERS scoring touchdowns…
    8 different threats…
    Try …not an “Almost all american” to Cyril Richardson the Backbone of Baylors offense 345 lbs..who IS an ALL AMERICAN.
    Just remember last year Baylor’s defense was ranked 99th in the country….bad…
    this year ranked 16th in the country…yes the Defense is for real !

    • davethoman

      Good game. Baylor did punt five times today. 35 points.

      • thomas waterdog

        K State Play a very good game….hats off to Snyder…
        he did his homework…

  • Luke Nichols

    Serious props to you callin it exactly like it happened. I am very happy for my Bears to just get the win. K-state did exactly what it needed to to stop them; long clock chewing drives and timely turnovers. Beat of luck to the cats. Snyder scares the hell out of me and he had them ready to play.