By Bailey Brammer | Editor-in-Chief
The Kansas State Wildcats currently lead the Baylor Bears 20-3 at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
The Bears (0-4) came out with a strong showing from sophomore quarterback Zach Smith, but were shut down by the Wildcats’ (2-1) strong defense and big rush game. Baylor recorded just 80 total yards to Kansas State’s 229, 122 coming on the ground.
On Baylor’s opening scoring drive, Smith was five-for-five and connected with four different receivers, but still could not make it into the red zone. Sophomore place kicker Connor Martin got the Bears on the scoreboard with a 38-yard field goal with 6:01 left in the first quarter. Baylor’s 7:01 drive was the longest scoring drive of their season.
Martin took over for junior punter Drew Galitz, who was ruled out for the game because of an injury on his first kick.
Kansas State and Baylor continued to trade off for the rest of the first quarter with no real gains on either side. Wildcats senior kicker Matthew McCrane began the second quarter with a 37-yard field goal, brining Kansas State’s lead to 10-3.
Smith continued his perfect passing streak into the second quarter, making it to 11-for-11 before throwing an incomplete pass to sophomore wide receiver Pooh Stricklin. Martin punted 37 yards to the Kansas State 3-yard-line, where the ball was caught by Wildcats junior defensive back D.J. Reed, who then fumbled the ball with pressure from Baylor sophomore long snapper Ross Matiscik. Baylor’s sophomore cornerback Marques Jones recovered the fumble, giving the Bears the ball back on the Wildcats’ 14-yard-line.
The Bears struggled to score again after Smith was sacked for a seven-yard-loss by senior defensive end Davis Clark, and Martin’s attempt at a 44-yard field goal was blocked by sophomore defensive end Reggie Walker.
Kansas State took over with 9:55 left in the half and Ertz connected with Zuber and junior fullback Winston Dimel for two 20+ passes before a 1-yard rush from Dimel and a kick from McCrane brought the Wildcats’ lead to 17-3.
Baylor got the ball back and continued to grapple with the Wildcats for another score but was forced to punt after less than two minutes. Kansas State continued its attack with a potential third touchdown after a 43-yard rush by sophomore running back Alex Barnes, but the call was reviewed and it was determined that Barnes was down at the Baylor 38-yard-line.
Ertz continued to look for that third touchdown in the last five minutes of the game, but could not connect with his receivers and settled with a 21-yard field goal from McCrane to bring the score to 20-3 at the half.
Baylor will receive the second half kick-off.