The Baylor Bears hit the road to Manhattan on Saturday to take on the No. 25 Kansas State Wildcats in Week 11 of the Big 12 football season. Kansas State was coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Texas in the previous week narrowly losing 33-30 in overtime. While the Wildcats ended up on the losing side of an overtime game, the Bears did the same losing 25-24 in OT to Houston. Kansas State has an opportunity to wind up back in Arlington with help from others, while Baylor needed to win their final three games of the season to make it to a bowl game.
The Wildcats jumped out early over Baylor and never looked back ending the Bears’ hopes of a bowl game in 2023 to the tune of a 59-25 win. Here are three thoughts on the game.
HOWARD MAKES HISTORY
Kansas State quarterback Will Howard made history on Saturday afternoon becoming the program leader for most passing touchdowns in a career with 45. Howard jumped past former Wildcat Josh Freeman with a dominant first-half performance against Baylor featuring three touchdowns through the air, and one on the ground.
Howard started off slow in his senior season before catching fire in the month of November. The Pennsylvania native crossed the 2,000 passing yard mark with his start against Baylor and finished his day off with an impressive stat line. Howard finished his day off with 19 completions for 235 yards and three passing touchdowns in Week 11. The performance brought his season total to 2,190 passing yards, a touchdown to interception ratio of 21-8, and seven scores on the ground in 2023.
Anytime a team rattles off two defensive touchdowns in a given outing, that team deserves a tip of the cap. Kansas State’s defense controlled the game from start to finish only surrendering 25 points to Blake Shapen and the Bears.
Joe Klanderman’s defense started things off early with junior defensive end Cody Stufflebean getting to the quarterback and recording a strip sack in the process. Sophomore linebacker Desmond Purnell then recovered the fumble and took it 15 yards to the endzone for the first defensive score of the game.
Senior defensive back Keenan Garber (who played wide receiver less than one year ago) baited Blake Shapen into making a bad throw down the sidelines in the third quarter which Garber jumped and took back 45 yards to the house for a pick-six. K-State’s three turnovers on the day capped off a big win following a disappointing outing at Texas, which put Klieman’s group back into the driver’s seat pending some help from others.
VIEWS FROM THE HOT SEAT
While the Bears entered the game as 20-point underdogs on the road, Dave Aranda‘s group looked downright awful. Aranda did everything in his power to try to confuse the Wildcats with multiple two-point conversion attempts, a fake field goal, a flea flicker, two double passes, and an onside kick. Credit to Aranda for trying, but it just plain did not work.
With the loss, the Bears are now solidified to miss a bowl game in 2023 and have entered a complete nose dive since winning a Big 12 title in 2021. Since finishing off as the Big 12’s best team in 2021, the Bears are just 9-14 in their last 23 games.
If Dave Aranda wasn’t on the hot seat before this game in the minds of fans, he absolutely is now. The program is headed in the opposite direction of anything remotely positive and has not done anything in the transfer portal or recruiting to change that. While I don’t see a major change being made immediately or anything, Dave Aranda is firmly planted in the hot seat.