No. 15 Baylor takes potent offense into Kansas St.
The idea that a quarterback could account for more touchdowns than incompletions through three games seems simply preposterous. It hardly happens in high school, much less major college football.
It certainly doesn't happen at Baylor, which hasn't started a season 4-0 in 20 years.
Or does it?
Robert Griffin III is putting together one of the most prolific seasons in school history -- one of the best all-around seasons in Big 12 annals -- while at the same time changing the perception that so many people around the country have about the Bears' football program.
The junior quarterback, nicknamed RG3 by his teammates, has Baylor (3-0) ranked No. 15, complete with an impressive season-opening victory over TCU. He's completed 85.4 percent of his passes (70 of 82) for 961 yards and 13 TDs without an interception, to say nothing of the 167 yards that the fleet-footed Griffin has gained on the ground.
''Who completes 85 percent or 90 percent of their passes?'' Kansas State coach Bill Snyder asked. ''We don't do that in pre-game warm-up.''
The Wildcats will try to do Saturday afternoon what the Horned Frogs, Stephen F. Austin and Rice have failed to do already. They'll attempt to bottle up one of the most exciting players in college football in a surprise matchup of unbeaten teams starting Big 12 play.
''He's one of the best quarterbacks in the nation,'' defensive end Jared Voelker said. ''He's leading the Heisman race right now, so it'll be tough. We'll hopefully contain him, keep him in the pocket a little bit and put some pressure on him. Hopefully that'll throw him off a little bit.''
The Wildcats better come armed with a little more than hope.
Griffin is coming off a season that included 3,501 yards passing and a 22-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and he's been even better this year. He jumpstarted his Heisman campaign with a 359-yard, 5-TD game against TCU on national television, and followed it up by completing 20 of 22 passes against Stephen F. Austin and throwing five more TD passes against Rice.
''To have the success we're having, it's not just me. It's everybody,'' Griffin said. ''Sometimes you can get sidetracked and get happy about what you're doing. I think the guys are doing a great job making sure that doesn't happen. We know we can continue to get better.''
That's about as hard to believe as Baylor, a perennial doormat, climbing up the polls.
''Does anyone want to be ranked 84?'' Bears coach Art Briles asked with a smile. ''It's not something we're going to shy away from and act like we're proud of it, because if you're ranked No. 15 in America, you've got a little more respect in McLennan County.''
The same goes for Riley County, in central Kansas, where the Wildcats await a surprising high-profile showdown. They're coming off their own program-building victory on the road over Miami, and are eager to prove that their own undefeated start is legit.
''They have a lot of momentum. That's why it's the premier game of the conference this week,'' Briles said. ''They're 3-0, we're 3-0. It's a great afternoon ball game.''
It's certainly an intriguing ball game.
Griffin leads the nation's second-ranked offense. Kansas State counters with the nation's sixth-ranked defense, one that stood tall in the closing seconds against the Hurricanes.
Miami was trailing 28-24 with first down just outside the goal line in the closing seconds last Saturday. Three plays went nowhere, and the Wildcats tracked down Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris running toward the edge on fourth down just shy of the end zone.
The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but the officials overturned the call after video review.
''Obviously, in the last four snaps of the ballgame, we played as well as you can play,'' Snyder said. ''I was really impressed with that. That's first-and-goal on the 2-yard line, and we had 11 guys to the ball every snap. It wasn't a matter of being able to stop them and let them carry you forward for a yard or half a yard; we got people bent back. We got lost yardage down there. The pursuit was great.''
They're going to need 11 guys setting their sights on Griffin if they want to hang with the Bears on Saturday. And if Snyder can sneak a couple more on the field, well, it probably wouldn't hurt.
''Griffin is just an amazing player,'' he said. ''If you had a single major concern - and you've got a lot of concerns, because they've got a lot of fine football players on their team - but he's heads and heels above anybody we've played against.''