Kansas State vs. Baylor prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Wildcats and Bears.
Kansas State vs. Baylor Game Preview
When: Saturday, November 19 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: McLane Stadium, Waco, TX
Baylor, which spent the first half of the season amassing a head of steam, has run out of gas. And now it’s up to Jim Grobe, who has limited history with this roster, to find a way to motivate these Bears down the stretch. The team has lost three straight, the last two to Oklahoma and TCU in lopsided fashion. Plus, Seth Russell is done for the season with an ankle injury, kicking off the Zach Smith era in Waco earlier than anyone expected. K-State is coming off a bye week that allowed the team to recharge and refocus on the remainder of the regular season. The Cats have three shots to win the one game needed to qualify for a seventh bowl game in a row under Bill Snyder.
What To Know About Kansas State
The Wildcats have been led by the defense this season, a unit that tops the Big 12 in total D. DE Jordan Willis leads the league with nine sacks, and there’s toughness and experience at every level. However, the offense was pulling a little more of the weight as well heading into the bye. While Jesse Ertz is never going to be a scary passer, he is a dangerous scrambler with a team-best 630 rushing yards and nine scores. And the ground game, including backs Charles Jones, Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon, slapped 345 yards and four touchdowns on Oklahoma State two weeks ago.
What to Know About Baylor
This will be a very difficult assignment for Smith, the touted 6-foot-4, 235-pound rookie from Grandview (Tex.) High School. He has received some reps this year, including last week after Russell went down, but not so much that he’s built chemistry with his receivers or learned to read college defenses. Smith should get help from the return of running back Shock Linwood, who was suspended for last week’s Sooner game. Smith will be asked to overachieve to compensate for a fading defense that was absolutely gashed the past two games, particularly between the tackles by opposing running backs.
Offense: Baylor. True, the margin narrowed after Russell went down, but the Bears still boast playmakers, like Linwood and receivers KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora.
Defense: Kansas State. Flood of new starters finally catching up with Baylor. Meanwhile, Manhattan is home to the Big 12’s sturdiest and most consistent D.
Special Teams: Kansas State. Cats rock-solid here, from punter Mick Walsh and placekicker Matthew McCrane to return men Dominique Heath and Byron Pringle.
Coaching: Kansas State. It’s a battle of cagey veteran coaches, with Snyder rating higher than Grobe.
Intangibles: Kansas State. The Wildcats can become bowl-eligible. Bears playing these days as if the offseason in Waco can’t come soon enough.
Matchup To Watch
Smith vs. Kansas State corners Duke Shelley and D.J. Reed
Sure, Smith lacks experience. But if he gets time to survey the field, he’s liable to connect with Cannon and Zamora. As well as the K-State defense has played this year, the secondary has hardly been airtight, giving up five touchdown passes apiece to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the past month.
Kansas State vs. Baylor Betting Odds
Spread: Kansas State -2.5
Over/Under: No line as of post
Kansas State vs. Baylor Prediction
Smith has a bright future in Waco. This week, though, he’ll look like a rookie in the face of the seasoned Kansas State defense. Plus, the true freshman will be surrounded by teammates struggling badly on both sides of the ball. The rested Wildcats will play keep-away on offense, pounding the ball with Ertz and a rotation of fresh backs. There’s little about Baylor’s current trend that indicates the team is ready to snap the losing skid and finish the regular season on a high note.
Kansas State vs. Baylor Score Prediction: Kansas State 31, Baylor 28