KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET
SITE: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.
SERIES: Kansas State leads 6-2 (last meeting, 2010, Baylor 47-42)
RECORDS: Baylor 3-0, 0-0 Big 12; Kansas State 3-0, 0-0 Big 12
POLLS: Baylor (No. 15 AP, No. 16 USA Today)
PREDICTION: Baylor 34-24
KEYS TO THE GAME:
-- For Baylor: Get stops on defense. K-State ground out a win at Miami and will put Baylor's rush defense to a big test. The Bears figure to score points, so just a few stops could be the difference in the game.
-- For Kansas State: Corral Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. That may not be realistic, which means the Wildcats are going to have to control the clock with their offense to limit Griffin's time on the field. A solid kicking game will help in the field position battle.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS:
Baylor has two electrifying offensive performers in QB Robert Griffin III (167 yards rushing, 962) passing and IR Kendall Wright (31 receptions, 420 yards and four touchdowns). The emergence of senior RB Terrance Ganaway as a legitimate rushing threat (286 yards) makes the Bears one of the toughest teams in the country to defend.
The defense has improved, but in what was its only real test, Baylor had problems in the fourth quarter in the win over TCU. The Bears are allowing opponents 152 yards a game on the ground, a figure that should light up the eyes of K-State QB Collin Klein and RB John Hubert. The Bears have only three interceptions and just four sacks on the season.
Kansas State's offense depends heavily on the skill and toughness of QB Collin Klein, who continues to absorb a lot of hits. Klein attempted more rushes than passes in each of the first three games while providing 295 yards on the ground and 350 through the air. He came up slow with an aching shoulder after one hit at Miami, yet stayed in and engineered the win, which he started by going 6-for-6 passing for 80 yards in the first quarter. Knock his unorthodox delivery if you want, but Klein's value cannot be underestimated.
After dominating a pair of inferior opponents to begin the season, Kansas State's defense gave up some big plays against Miami, but preserved the victory with a goal-line stand at the end. LB Arthur Brown, a Miami transfer, provided a complete overhaul to the linebacking unit with his speed. In addition, the move by LB Emmanuel Lamur from the secondary has paid dividends, and LB Tre Walker is blossoming as a sophomore. On big gain for 59 yards was essentially it for Miami in the run game as it finished with 139 yards rushing.
Bears: Something has got to give. Baylor ranks second nationally in total offense (594 yard a game) and pass efficiency, third in scoring (51.3 points), seventh in passing yardage (353.3), and 15th in rushing offense (240.7). Kansas State is yielding only 246.3 yards a game in total offense (No. 6 nationally), ranks 12th in pass efficiency defense, an gives up just 10.3 points a game (No. 7), 153.3 yards passing (No. 11), and 89 rushing (No. 21). ... Baylor's victory over Kansas State last year stopped a disturbing trend for the Bears in the series. The Wildcats had outscored the Bears 278-78 in the previous seven meetings. ... Junior QB Robert Griffin III leads the country in passing percentage (85.4 percent on 70-of-82) and has more touchdown passes (13) than he does incompletions (12). He has yet to throw an interception. ... IR Levin Norwood, a redshirt freshman, leads the Big 12 in punt return average (7.2). He has six returns. ... Junior QB Nick Florence, who set a school single-game passing record in a win over Missouri as a freshman in 2009, is expected to redshirt this season and retain two seasons of eligibility.
Wildcats: This will be just the second time since 1998 that the Wildcats have opened conference play against a ranked opponent at Bill Snyder Stadium and the first since 2008 that they have opened Big 12 play against a ranked team. ... K-State is trying to even its record in Big 12 openers. The Wildcats are 7-8 going into the game against Baylor. ... The Wildcats are 3-0 under coach Bill Snyder, who is in his 20th season at K-State. ... K-State is even in turnover margin, gaining five and losing five on the season. The Wildcats have fumbled nine times, losing four. In a 28-24 win at Miami last week, QB Collin Klein fumbled four times, though each was recovered by Kansas State. Twice he lost the ball while cocking his arm to throw. ... LB Arthur Brown, who had 12 tackles at Miami, leads the team in stops with 25, which ranks fourth in the Big 12. ... Five different defenders have record sacks for the Wildcats and three others have intercepted passes with CB Nigel Malone leading with three picks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Robert Griffin III -- He's one of the most exciting players in college football today. Griffin is completing 85.4 percent of his passes and is only 38 yards short of reaching 1,000 yards passing for the season. He has 13 touchdown tosses in just three games (less actually, since the win over Stephen F. Austin was shortened to three quarters) and is the team's No. 2 rusher (167 yards).
IR Kendall Wright -- The senior has completed his only two pass attempts of the season, including one for a touchdown, but, of course, his big contributions are as an inside receiver. He is Baylor's career leader in receptions with 225 and has caught at least one pass in every one of his collegiate games.
LB Brody Trahan -- A former backup quarterback, Trahan, a sophomore, has made quite an impression with his move to defense. He and senior Elliot Coffey will lead the charge to stop K-State's rushing game.
LB Tre Walker -- Walker was named the Big 12 defensive player of the week after getting in on 10 stops against Miami, including the fourth-down hit that concluded a goal-line stand and preserved Kansas State's win inside the final minute.
CB Nigel Malone -- Malone intercepted his third pass in as many games at Miami, though he was also penalized for pass interference in the end zone late in the game, which gave the Hurricanes the four cracks they tried from the 2-yard-line in.
PK Anthony Cantele -- Cantele missed a field goal from 46 yards at Miami, which was partially blocked. Cantele also had difficulty booting kickoffs deep, and Kansas State's kick coverage gave up an average of 23.4 yards on five returns, putting the defense in some precarious spots.
CB Tyler Stephenson (leg, questionable).
OT Manase Foketi (undisclosed, out), QB Collin Klein (shoulder probable).
Baylor Heads to Manhattan
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