By Shehan Jeyarajah
After thrashing West Virginia in the first Big 12 conference game, No. 15 Baylor football looks to continue its incredible offensive start in the first road game of the season at Kansas State. The Bears have never won in Manhattan, but Baylor looks to turn that streak around.
Baylor is coming off a dominant win against West Virginia, where the Bears set an all-time Big 12 record with 864 total yards, and dropped 70 points or more for the third straight game, the first time an offense has scored 70 or more points three straight times since 1930.
“I just think it’s funny how people still say we still have something to prove when we’ve had four weeks,” junior quarterback Bryce Petty said after the win. “Seventy points, I guess, isn’t enough.”
Baylor’s offense has quickly become the stuff of legend. The Bears lead the country by far in total offense with 779.5 yards per game. Excluding Baylor’s first game against Wofford, Baylor is averaging 808.7 yards a game against FBS teams.
Petty was recent added to the Maxwell Award watch list and bolsters an offense that leads the nation in passing yards with 432.3 yards per game. Petty himself leads Baylor with 1,348 yards, and leads the nation in yards per attempt with 14.7 yards per pass. The second place passer is more than three yards behind him. Petty also ranks sixth in the country with a 72.8 completion percentage.
Junior running back Lache Seastrunk was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after running for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Seastrunk leads college football with 11.1 yards per run. Seastrunk is part of a rotation that is second in college football with 347.3 yards per game.
Junior wide receiver Antwan Goodley and senior wide receiver Tevin Reese have been arguably the best duo in all of football. Goodley leads the nation in yards per catch with 25.7, and is fourth in college football with 135.0 yards per game. Reese is fourth in the nation with 23.6 yards per reception, and is top 20 in the nation with 106.3 yards per game.
Baylor’s defense has been solid throughout the season. Baylor is 17th in total defense by allowing 321.3 yards per game, and is No. 14 in scoring defense with 16.3 points per game allowed.
Baylor is outscoring teams 282-65 on the season. That’s a margin of 54.3 points per victory.
Kansas State comes into this game after losing its first two Big 12 conference games by slim margins: against Texas in Austin 31-21 and against No. 21 Oklahoma State in Stillwater 33-29. They have managed to maintain a top 50 defense.
Kansas State plays two guys at quarterback: junior Jake Waters and sophomore Daniel Sams. Waters has been the better passer of the two with 959 yards and four passing touchdowns through five games, but Sams has been the team’s best rusher with 323 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Waters has started more games, but Sams played more in the last game, so it’s not clear what to expect against Baylor this week.
The Wildcats pass the ball at an average rate, rush the ball at an average rate, and defend at an average rate. Simply put, Kansas State will have a difficult task against Baylor.
Kansas State turns the ball over almost three times per game, and that is a perfect scenario for an opportunistic Baylor defense that has forced 10 turnovers.
When Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder was asked for his game plan, he laughed it off.
“We’re going to take the first snap, run into the locker room and stay there until halftime,” Snyder said. “What’s the biggest challenge facing Baylor? Keeping them for scoring 100 points, I guess.”
Baylor head coach Art Briles knows that going on the road is new experience for the team.
“Anywhere you go on the road, you’re in a different environment,” Briles said. “You have to change a few things. We had a tough game up there two years ago where they came back and won, but fortunately we’re back with another opportunity.”
The Bears have never won in Manhattan, Kan. This is a much improved Baylor football team, and the Bears are ready to break the streak.