Once again the Kansas State Wildcats (2-3 overall, 0-2 Big 12) were right in the thick of another Big 12 Conference game down in Stillwater on the road last week, but could not make the crucial plays down the stretch to come out with the victory against the then #21 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Three weeks ago, the Wildcats were about to make a comeback against Texas, and could not do it because of mistakes K-State made turning the ball over. Kansas State came out in Stillwater with better attitude but the mistakes still remained. Team mistakes like penalties and turnovers were the story of this game against Cowboys.
After Jake Waters started the first play of the game, backup quarterback Daniel Sams came in and took over ship. He had the Wildcats moving the football almost throughout the game. On the bright side Sams was accurate more often than not, but there were the throws that make you question who is he throwing the ball to.? Sams had 2 touchdown passes, one to Glenn Gronkowski, and the other to Torell Miller.
The sophomore quarterback also threw 3 interceptions; one to basically seal any hopes 0f a late fourth quarter comeback. Jake Waters came in during parts of the game, and was very ineffective. Waters was hit from behind, and lost the ball, chalking up yet another turnover in his first year at Kansas State.
The Wildcats still had opportunities to possibly steal a game on the road despite not having 2 of their top playmakers - wide receivers Tramaine Thompson, who did not play because of an injury, and Tyler Lockett. The latter, who is having a great season, was lost in the second quarter to a hamstring injury. With those top targets out, it definitely put a hold on some of the play calling with Sams in the football game.
Miller, Curry Sexton, and even Kyle Klein made some plays but it was not even to come out of Stillwater with the win.
The defense, despite allowing a few big plays, played very well, making quarterback J.W. Walsh work for every yard. Add the special teams in as a positive once again for the Wildcats. A blocked field goal attempt by the Cowboys in the second quarter was returned 65 yards from Kip Daily who was just standing there untouched when the ball finally came down and touched his hands.
This year’s version of the Kansas State Wildcat football is obviously very different from last year’s team who won the Big 12 title plus made a BCS appearance vs. the Oregon Ducks. K-State must get away from the bad habits of penalties and turnovers if they have any type of shot of even getting to a bowl this season.
That task will have to start back at home in Manhattan where the #15 Baylor Bears come into Bill Snyder Family Stadium with tons of momentum, and a team that is ready to take on any type of challenge.
Last season, Baylor ruined any chance Kansas State had of a national championship by thrashing the Wildcats 52-24 in Waco.
Since that night, Baylor has been one of the hottest teams in the country. Now, the Wildcats get them at home for a shot at revenge ,and deliver a blow that would put the Bears’ Big 12 title hopes in jeopardy.
To do that, K-State would have to play a near perfect game to upset Baylor. That means no penalties, turnovers, or even little mistakes that would give the Bears a chance to score with their quick lighting fast offense.
Kansas State is already in a 0-2 hole in the conference and has a huge mountain to climb. They can ill afford to lose yet another game at home.
Kansas State Offense vs. Baylor Defense
Last week in Stillwater, K-State somehow had more yards than the Cowboys, yet still found a way to lose the game. The Wildcats had 336 total yards against Oklahoma State, mostly under the direction of Daniel Sams, who ended up with 181 yards passing in the football game and added 118 yards on the ground with a touchdown.
For the Wildcats to even go toe-to-toe with Baylor in this game, time of possession will be huge in keeping quarterback Bryce Petty and Baylor’s offense off the field. The offensive line with have to stay consistent in opening holes for Sams and running back Hubert as well. A carryover from last week’s loss that the Wildcats would like to have on offense, is for the players who stepped up like Torrell Miller, Kyle Klein and Curry Sexton, all make an impact this week as well.
Also, it would be nice to have back the best 2 playmakers. Tramaine Thompson could be a go while Tyler Lockett is questionable.
K-State is going to have to get John Hubert more involved, otherwise they will not win this game. It may not be the only reason (turnovers), but is will be difficult to beat a team like Baylor without a positive contribution from the primary running back.
Kansas State Defense vs. Baylor Offense
K-State’s defense did make strides in last week’s contest against the Cowboys but Baylor is a whole animal. Baylor is averaging nearly 70 points per game thus far. While Baylor has played lesser opponents in their early schedule, but they put on a show last week against West Virginia in 73-42 victory.
If the Wildcats do have some type of advantage, it is the fact that it will be Baylor’s first road game of the year. It might or it might not have an effect on their play.
K-State will have to find a way to create turnovers and slow down Lache Seastrunk. Linebackers Blake Slaughter and Jonathan Truman have a huge task ahead of them. Safety Ty Zimmerman had a good game last week and will will need to be a factor Saturday, as Zimmerman did not play in last year game in Waco due to a leg injury. Dante Barnett and Zimmerman will need to be on top of their game going up against Petty and his receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese.
#15 Baylor Bears (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas at 2:30pm