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Kansas State vs. Baylor: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Baylor at Kansas State

Here is everything you need to know about the Big 12 match up between Baylor and Kansas State.

Game Info

2:30 p.m. CT, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kans.

TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman)

Away Radio: Baylor Sports Network, Flagship: ESPN Central Texas, Sirius 99/XM 207/ Internet 967 (John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson

Home Radio: K-State Sports Network, Sirius 111/XM 200/Internet 954 (Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, Matt Walters

Baylor Head Coach: Matt Rhule (12-17 at Baylor, 40-40 overall)

Kansas State Head Coach: Chris Klieman (3-1 at Kansas State and FBS level)

Series History: Kansas State leads 9-7. The home team has won every game since 2016. Baylor scored the most recent road victory in 2015.

Series in Manhattan: Kansas State leads 5-2

Opening Line: Kansas State -3.5

Moneyline: Kansas State -167/Baylor +153

Over/Under: 51.5

Fun Facts: Neither team has thrown an interception this year.

 

Key Players

Baylor (4-0)

QB Charlie Brewer

We all know Brewer is an excellent quarterback who has blossomed since getting his chance as a freshman when Anu Solomon was benched. Baylor is now dubbing him as “The Cardiac Kid” with four career game-winning drives. The first one came against Kansas State last season. He led Baylor to another game-winning drive last week against Iowa State. Granted, all four of them have come in the State of Texas. In fact, Baylor has not scored a conference road victory since Brewer’s first career start. Who was Baylor’s opponent? It was Kansas in 2017. If Baylor is really a contender, they must learn to win on the road.

LB Clay Johnston

Without Johnston, Baylor would be 0-1 in conference play. He secured 13 tackles in the victory against Iowa State and claimed our Defensive Player of the Week award. Johnston is the difference maker for this defense. With 37 total tackles, the next Baylor defender is 17 behind his total. Kansas State loves to run the ball and Johnston’s swarm instincts are a must-have if Baylor is to buck their road woes.

Kansas State (3-1)

RB James Gilbert

He’s fifth in career rushing yards among active leaders, but has mostly disappeared this season against Power Five teams.  After securing over 100 rushing yards in 26 carries during the first two games, Gilbert has managed just 103 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries against Mississippi State and Oklahoma State. Granted, both games were on the road. If Gilbert gets shut down at home this week, the streak of games without an interception will end. Kansas State cannot get past Baylor without its rushing attack.

DE Reggie Walker

He’s got an “OR” listed next to his name on the depth chart. I can’t imagine a scenario, other than injury, where a veteran who is third on the active list nationally for career fumbles forced would not start. However, he hasn’t produced nearly the results one would expect out of a senior whose lettered for three seasons. Wyatt Hubert has four tackles for loss and two sacks on the season. Walker has yet to produce either. If he manages to break through the offensive line, the combination might get inside of the heads of offensive lineman. Watch out if Walker gets momentum going. There may be some destruction in the backfields.

 

Key Storylines

Baylor

A good team can defend its home. A great team wins on the road. Baylor has not picked up a road victory in conference play since 2017, Brewer’s first start. That came against Kansas.  The program has just two conference road victories since the Art Briles scandal. This is the year Baylor needs to make a push for conference contention. Rhule has built this team up. Klieman, although smooth so far, is still in transition mode. Baylor can make a loud statement with a road victory this week. It’s also a must-win if they are to truly contend for a Big 12 Championship appearance.

Kansas State

Yes, it’s a must win if Kansas State wants to go to the Big 12 Championship Game. That’s completely unexpected though. What could be on the line is a bowl berth. The jury is still out on this team. Yes, they picked up a massive road victory against an SEC team. We’re quickly learning that Mississippi State is in the bottom half of that conference though. If Kansas State can win this week over Baylor, it pretty much guarantees them bowl eligibility when you assume they will beat Kansas and Texas Tech. It also helps in the sense of securing a winning record. However, if they lose this game, Kansas State might be struggling to get that seventh victory. We still think they’d be in a great spot to make a bowl berth if they can reach 6-6 though. Also, it’s worth noting that Kansas State was the final team in the FBS to commit a turnover. They lost a fumble at Oklahoma State.

Prediction

Kansas State 16 Baylor 13

Neither team commits many turnovers. It’s likely to be a field goal festival. The difference in this game will be the home field advantage combined with one turnover. Baylor’s road woes continue and Kansas State picks up a monstrous victory to launch themselves back into the top 25.

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