No. 11 Baylor football looks to bring energy in battle of physicality with K-State

Baylor lines up to run a play against Oklahoma in McLane Stadium on Nov. 13 Matt Ellett | Roundup

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

Coming off a 27-14 home win over No. 13 University of Oklahoma, in which No. 11 Baylor held OU to its lowest scoring output and lowest total yardage in five years under head coach Lincoln Riley, the Bears look to carry momentum on the road to face Kansas State University at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.

“Just seeing everybody happy at the end of the game, storming the field and that excitement that it brought to everybody in the stands and on the field, it was great to get that win against Oklahoma,” senior safety Jalen Pitre said. “But now I feel like the team’s focus is heading into Kansas State because they are a good team and we know that they’re going to put their best foot forward.”

Once again, the Bears (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) will be in a novel environment, which is something they’ve struggled with so far this season, going 2-2 on the road. Their two losses came at the hands of No. 9 Oklahoma State University and Texas Christian University. In both instances the team struggled to get things going early, yet found themselves within one possession late, unable to climb over the hump. Head coach Dave Aranda said the reason for the struggles on the road is a lack of energy.

“Energy is the big piece there,” Aranda said. “One thing that we have tried to establish and have not been as successful as I’d like is that energy is not necessarily something that you catch, it’s something that you create.”

While Baylor may not have the support of the fans in McLane Stadium when they’re on the road, Pitre said it’s up to the team to bring that same type of energy on the sidelines.

“The guys that are playing, whether it’s offense [or] defense has to bring that energy to the sideline, and in turn, it’ll translate onto the field and help us make plays,” Pitre said.

The Bears will need all the spirit and enthusiasm they can muster, as they’re up against a physical K-State (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) team that has won four straight games.

“They’re a hard-nosed football team with a lot of grit [and] a lot of passion,” senior offensive lineman Grant Miller said. “That’s kind of the way K-State football has always been.”

Aranda said he sees a lot of similarities in how the Wildcats approach and play the game compared to Baylor. Aranda knows their defense — which has held each of their last three opponents to under 20 points — can make a difference.

“D-line wise, they’re causing a lot of havoc, a lot of tackles for losses and sacks. It’s going to be a big test for us,” Aranda said. “I feel what we’ve gone through before has given us the ability to pass this test, but it is certainly a test.”

The game is set to kickoff at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcasted on FS1.