By Daniel Hill
Despite losing 42-34 to the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners in Norman on Saturday, the Baylor football team is certainly showing signs of improvement.
The offense is displaying multiple facets within the passing and rushing attack.
The evolution of the offense has led to a multi-dimensional scoring attack with the added production from the rushing game.
In the past two games, the defense has also started to force turnovers.
All of this lines up for an enormous opportunity on Saturday.
Baylor wants nothing more than to upset the best team in the nation and become one game closer to earning a bowl berth. The Bears are currently 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the Big 12 Conference.
With three games remaining, the Bears must win at least two in order to qualify for a bowl game for the third straight season.
“It’s a lot of motivation,” junior safety Ahmad Dixon said.
“To get a chance to play against a team that is ranked number one first of all and a great team like that, it’s very motivational.”
With the former No. 1 Alabama just getting upset by Texas A&M, Baylor knows that No. 1 teams can lose just like any other team.
“That’s something that coach told us after the game,” Dixon said. “That he felt that Alabama was about to lose to Texas A&M and that it could be the same case with us next week. We looked at it, I mean once the game was won, the first thing that was in our head was that Kansas State is the number one team in the nation. This is the biggest opportunity that a football team can ask for, going up against the number one team in the nation. We are trying to become bowl eligible and this is just like the story that you would want to have as your comeback season or something like that. We know it and we just have to stay focused.”
Baylor is still looking for its defining moment of the season.
“We talk about each year that Coach Briles has been here, there has been some kind of defining moment,” sophomore inside receiver Levi Norwood said. “Last year, the whole season was defining. We really haven’t had anything like that this year. We need something and we’ve been wanting something to happen, but we feel like this week we have a chance.”
While the Bears do have a 1-5 conference record, several games have been lost even though the Bears are one possession short of tying or winning the contest.
Eventually, the Bears are due for a win.
“I think we’ve been due for a while, but the other team feels like they’re due also and that’s what makes it so great,” head coach Art Briles said.
“We have to perform at a high level every snap. That’s the difference between winning and losing. We have to play the whole game and then we’ll have a good result.”
Collin Klein is the quarterback of Kansas State and the current favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Klein has passed for 2,020 yards and 12 touchdowns and has also rushed for 748 yards and 19 points. Klein is the heart and soul of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats are also incredibly balanced. They boast top nationally ranked units on both offense (8th) and defense (14th). Even with the balance of Kansas State, Baylor’s high-octane offense can give them a chance to win every time they take the field.
“It’s motivation to play whoever comes to Waco,” senior quarterback Nick Florence said.
“They are a good team. They have a lot going for them, they play great football, and they play disciplined football. And yeah, they are number one, it is what it is. Our goal is for them to not be number one when they leave Waco, so we are going for it and that’s the way we have to approach the game.”