Kansas State hopes a bye week before its Big 12 opener against visiting Baylor on Saturday allowed the offense to refocus after a forgettable performance against Vanderbilt. The winless Bears can score in bunches, and the Wildcats will need to be ready to answer.
Coach Bill Snyder wants his team to establish a balanced running game to take some of the load off quarterback Jesse Ertz. “I would like to see more balance in what we do so it’s not always that aspect of the quarterback run game as much,” Snyder told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “Once again, if that’s what you have to do, you take what they give you.” Baylor’s receiving corps has scored with big plays as its 11 touchdowns average 47.6 yards but may have taken a hit last week. Chris Platt, who has recorded four of the team’s five 70-yard TD catches, likely is out of the season with a knee injury.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Kansas State -14
ABOUT BAYLOR (0-4, 0-1 Big 12): Sophomore Zach Smith (46-of-84, 742 yards, seven TDs, four interceptions) has registered at least 200 yards passing and two TDs in each of his six career starts, including last season’s loss to Kansas State. Denzel Mims leads the Bears with 18 catches for 406 yards and six scores while Platt had 16 receptions for 401 yards and five TDs before getting hurt in the 49-41 loss to Oklahoma. Baylor is allowing 37 points and 503.8 yards but leads the Big 12 in tackles for loss (32) and sacks (11).
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (2-1): Ertz (36-of-65, 587 yards, four TDs, two INTs) leads the Wildcats with 237 rushing yards and a pair of scores. Alex Barnes (162 rushing yards) and Dalvin Warmack (76) also have two rushing touchdowns while Isaiah Zuber is the only receiver to reach double digits in catches (13, 129 yards, one TD). Kansas State starts conference play leading the Big 12 in scoring defense (13.3 points allowed) and passing defense (153.7 yards).
1. Baylor is last in the Big 12 and 116th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 236.5 yards.
2. Bears DE Xavier Jones (six tackles, 1.5 sacks) will miss the rest of the season after breaking a bone in his leg.
3. Kansas State is 20-9 following a bye under Snyder.
PREDICTION: Kansas State 37, Baylor 27