MANHATTAN, Kan. — Leave it to coach Bill Snyder, the wizard who turned around the moribund program at Kansas State, to come up the most logical way to slow down No. 15 Baylor’s high-flying offense.
“We’re going to take the first snap,” Snyder said in his deadpanned manner, “and run into the locker room and stay there until halftime.”
The Bears (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) are averaging 779.5 yards per game, an absurd number even in an era of prolific scoring. They’ve piled up more than 70 points per game, lead the nation in pass offense at more than 430 yards per game and are second in rushing at more than 340 yards.
They’ve been at their best early, too. Baylor scored 28 first-quarter points against Wofford, Buffalo and West Virginia and 35 against Louisiana-Monroe.
Hence, Snyder’s suggestion that the Wildcats (2-3, 0-2) take the ball and run.
“The concept isn’t complex but they execute it so very, very well,” he said. “They’re a big-play offense and if you breakdown in the back end they’ll find a way to get it over the top of you. They’ve done that consistently this year and they did that against us last year.”
Last year, the Wildcats were unbeaten and barreling toward the BCS title game when they headed to Waco, Texas. But they couldn’t slow down Baylor’s speedy offense, led by running back Lache Seastrunk, in a 52-24 loss that knocked K-State from contention.
“Going into that game, we were very confident that we could beat them,” Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey recalled. “We were just really confident in the game plan and executing it. We had all the motivation possible to go into that game and do what we did.”
Now, the Wildcats have that motivation heading into Saturday afternoon. Here are five things to keep in mind as they try to turn the tables and spoil Baylor’s perfect season:
STOPPING SEASTRUNK: The Bears’ star running back ran for 185 yards in last year’s win. He’s averaging 147.3 yards per game, second nationally, even though he’s carried just twice in the second half of blowout wins. “If you watched the West Virginia game you saw (the offensive line) pushing bodies out of the way for me to do what I do,” he said. “In order for me to do well, I have to thank the guys up front.”
SAMS I AM: Kansas State’s Daniel Sams appeared to take over the starting job from Jake Waters in a loss to Oklahoma State last week. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 181 yards and ran for 118 more, but also threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. “Each one of them has their own strengths, both of them have their weaknesses as well that they need to build upon, so we’ll continue to let the two of them compete during the week of practice,” Snyder said, “and most importantly, improve upon some of the mistakes that we’re making.”
NOT SO PETTY: Move over RG3. Junior quarterback Bryce Petty has helped make him a distant memory. Petty leads the Big 12 in yards passing (337 per game) and completion percentage (72.8), and leads the nation in yards per completion (20.12), helping the Bears extend their winning streak to eight consecutive games dating to last season.
WIDE RECEIVER WOES: The Wildcats could be without their top two wide receivers because of injuries. Tramaine Thompson did not play last week, and Tyler Lockett left the Oklahoma State game with a hamstring injury. “Whether or not they’ll be unable to go is an uncertainty,” Snyder said. “It’ll be through the course of the week that we’ll be able to determine that.”
BAYLOR WITH CHIP: The Bears have put up mind-boggling numbers, but so far against some lowly competition – and all at home. Now, they head on the road for the first time for their stiffest test, and they want to prove that their winning ways haven’t been smoke and mirrors. “To come in week-in and week-out and put up the numbers and get defensive stops and keep hearing doubters makes me mad,” Petty said. “It is motivation for us. Any kind of chip we can have we are going to use. We’re going to use that and run with it.”