After a very well played game against in-state rival Kansas last week, the Wildcats traveled to Waco, Texas to take on the Bears this week. With both teams looking for bowl eligibility, the game promised to be a good one, and if you’re a fan of shootouts, you were in luck.
After the second rain delay of the season for Kansas State, Baylor started the game with a quick touchdown on the opening drive that did not face much defensive opposition at all. Thus was the story of the Kansas State first half. Very quick big plays from Baylor, answered by, for the most part, scores from the Kansas State offense.
The halftime score was 31-21 in favor of the Bears. Credit them for having an offensive scheme to tear apart the Wildcat defense for 387 total yards in the first half (124 rushing and 263 passing for those counting at home). In comparison, Kansas State managed to put up just 253 yards (106 rushing and 147 passing). Yet at the break, hope still seemed to be there for the Wildcat faithful.
This hope seemed to be in doubt moments into the second half when Daniel Thomas (22 carries 113 yds, 2 TDs, 3 rec. 27 yds) fumbled on the opening drive giving Baylor the ball deep in Wildcat territory. However, the defense finally stepped up and held the Bears to a field goal and a 13 point lead. On the ensuing kickoff, William Powell finally broke one and took the kick 100 yards for a touchdown.
The Bears appeared to have countered with a quick score of their own until a review of an 86 yard run by Baylor running back Jay Finley showed that he had fumbled the ball into the end zone and the Wildcats recovered. After a Three and out by the offense, the Bears responded with another touchdown drive and elected, but failed to convert the two point conversion. Baylor tacked on yet another touchdown to go up 47-28.
The Wildcats came back with a little trickery and scored on a 67-yard TD pass from RB Daniel Thomas to WR Aubrey Quarles, one of the first plays of its kind for the Wildcats this year. The two teams traded punts after this, and Kansas State punched in another touchdown with seven seconds left in the game to make the final score 47-42.
The Bears outgained the Wildcats 683-407 in total offense. They also had 29 first downs compared to 20 by Kansas State. Baylor Quarterback Robert Griffin III was 26-38 for 404 yards 4 TDs and 1 INT. Running Back Jay Finley had 26 rushes for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Carson Coffman went 20-29 for 231 yards and an interception, but added two rushing touchdowns. Daniel Thomas eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the first time since playing against Iowa State early in the season. Quarles also had his best game of the season catching 6 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Sadly, receiver Tramaine Thompson left the game in the fourth quarter with is leg in a cast with what has been presumed by many to be a broken leg.
With a second receiver lost to a broken leg (B. Smith against Nebraska) and a defense that looked much less than impressive against one of the nation’s top offenses, many Kansas State fans are questioning how the rest of the season will go.
While there are many question marks on the defensive side of the ball, and in the play calling of the offense for long stretches of this week’s game, there is also a lot to build on. The offense has put up 101 points in the last two games, both of which being on the road, albeit against two other very poor defenses. The defense, while abysmal in the first half, rebounded to cause the Bears to only score only 16 second half points. While that is probably more than most fans would like to give up in a half, you must look at it in comparison to the first half where they could not stop Baylor at all.
The Wildcats need to rebound next week on Homecoming against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This will not be an easy game for Kansas State at all as the Cowboys have another very potent offense, but it will be played at home in front of a very rowdy Bill Snyder Family Stadium crowd.
Look for the coaching staff to make a change in the play calling, and look for the defense to work hard this week and come back with an inspired performance and a little Bill Snyder magic next week. If the Wildcats are unable to make some improvements and have at least a very respectable game next week, Kansas State fans could end up looking toward basketball season a lot sooner than expected.