First Look: Kansas State

As the Baylor Bears head on the road for the first time this season, they will run into a Kansas State team that is still searching for its identity. In this First Look, we scratch the surface on the Wildcats.

In 2012, Kansas State was riding high when they came into Waco, Texas, to face the Baylor Bears. They were the #1 team in the nation, a sure-fire bet to play in the national championship game, and had perhaps the Heisman front-runner in Collin Klein.

That dream season for K-State came to an abrupt halt as the Bears stomped them 52-24. Although K-State went on to win the Big 12 and earn a bid to the Fiesta Bowl, they were thumped again by another high-speed attack in the Oregon Ducks. Now, K-State hopes to halt the Bears dream season before it even gets going.

In the off-season, Kansas State lost a ton. Not only did they lose their leading quarterback in Klein, but depending on how you count it they lost 8 to 9 starters on defense. The changeover in personnel has certainly effected K-State in the early going of 2013. They have gone from a Big 12 champion to a 2-3 team (0-2 in conference), and lost to an FCS team in North Dakota State. Currently, their only wins are over Louisiana Lafayette and UMass.

The most intriguing story-line for the Wildcats has been who will be their quarterback. They have two solid, but not overpowering, options at the position. Jake Waters was the classic Coach Snyder junior college transfer, and he has received the majority of the snaps, especially in passing downs. However, Daniel Sams was the system player with the dual-threat ability, and he likely staked his claim last week in a loss to #21 Oklahoma State (33-29).

In that game, Sams attempted 21 passes (his most this season by far), and Waters only attempted 7. On top of that, Sams carried the ball a whopping 27 times for 118 yards and 1 TD. If Snyder sticks with a similar time distribution, it is apparent that the Bears must prepare for the dual threat ability of Sams.

Many wondered about his passing ability, but 15 of 21 for 2 TD's is certainly respectable numbers. Where Sams ran into the problems and what could ultimately lead him to Synders bench is the fact that he threw 3 interceptions.

Currently, Kansas State seems to be a team that is not terrible at anything, but also has not excelled in any one category in the first half of this 2013 season. They are 58th in points scored, and 50th in points against - signifying they are smack dab in the middle. By comparison, Baylor is #1 in the first category and #14 in the second, both extremely good numbers.

Moving beyond the quarterback position, John Hubert is a name to watch. A hometown Waco product, Hubert has been the Wildcat running back for quite some time. In the last 2 seasons, Hubert has averaged 4.9 and 5 yards per rush; thus far in 2013 he is averaging just 4.1 yards. Hubert is actually the second leading rusher for the team with 268 yards with 4 TD's; he falls behind Sams who has 323 yards and also has notched 4 rushing TD's.

Tyler Lockett is the most notable wide receiver, and has already garnered 475 receiving yards and 31 receptions. On the entire season in 2012, he had only 44 receptions and 687 yards. Lockett has nearly 300 more receiving yards than the next closest wide receiver - Tramaine Thompson.

It is difficult to find a comparable game on the schedule thus far for K-State. Both of the Texas and Oklahoma State losses were on the road, and the 3 first home opponents are simply not on Baylor's level.

One story line that is being offered this week has to do with Baylor's poor road record and an all time 0-fer performance in Manhattan. One thing that should be noted however is that the history there is really not that old. Remember Baylor did not play Kansas State before the Big 12, and for most of the Big 12's existence, Baylor was not playing K-State every year. With that said, Baylor's record in Manhattan is 0-4, something that the Bears certainly hope to rectify this year.

We will have plenty more on this game throughout the week, so keep checking back for a much more in depth analysis, players to watch, and storylines to be aware of.

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