Kansas State Game Prep Part 1

The last time the Wildcats faced the Bears, it was an epic night for Baylor fans, but not so much for the KSU faithful. Bill Snyder and his team of magicians look to turn the tables on the Bears and get a big upset.

The Bears hit the road for the first time in 2013, going up north to Manhattan,KS to take on the defending Big 12 champion Kansas State Wildcats. Baylor is 4-0 on the year while the Wildcats are 2-3 on the year and are still looking for their first Big 12 win of 2013.

MEDIA INFORMATION
Date Sat., Oct. 12 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Location Manhattan, Kan. | Bill Snyder Family Stadium
TV FOX
Radio ESPN Central Texas | Sirius 117 | XM 202
Online Audio Listen Online
Live Stats Gameday Central
Ticket Info Purchase Tickets
Game Notes
Baylor Notes | WVU Notes
Twitter @BUFootball

Analytical Breakdown

FEI Rank

17

46

F/+ Rank

1

47

S&P+ Rank

1

58

GE Rank

4

46

Sagarin

4

39

Massey

7

63

RealTime RPI

15

44

Average

7

49

Another opponent, another step up in terms of the difficultly. In addition to the Wildcats being the highest ranked team the Bears have faced, this is also their first road game of the 2013 campaign. Kansas State is just 2-3 on the season, with one of those losses coming against FCS power North Dakota State. While an FCS school, some believe that NDSU could compete quite well at the FBS level outside of the power conferences. In fact, the Bison are ranked ahead of ULM and just behind Buffalo according to RealTimeRPI.com at 76.

While the loss to NDSU came at home, their last two losses have both been on the road to Texas and Oklahoma State. They lost by 10 to Texas and 4 to OSU. The Cowboys were a pretty big home favorite against the Wildcats.


Offense

ADVANTAGE


Defense

Success Rate

1

87
Points Per Play

1

37
S&P

1

53
Rush S&P

1

92
Pass S&P

1

29
Standard Downs S&P

1

69
Passing Downs S&P

1

23
Average

1

55.3

The math on this is even easier this week. After ranking first in all but Rushing, where the Bears ranked second, they are now the leader in every single offensive category that FootballOutsiders.com uses. That means a lot of BU helmets in the advantage column. There is no doubt that the Bears defense has been the best in the country so far in 2013. Most thought that the West Virginia defense would finally be the first to be able to slow Art Briles' masterpiece down, but it was all for naught. Now the Wildcats are the latest to finally be able to shut them down.

However, this is a worse defense than the Bears just faced last weekend, but they might be constructed in a better way to challenge the Bears offense. Their 4-3 scheme, with a bit more speed on the field than the previous 3-4 defenses the Bears have seen is a better front to defend the run. The Wildcats are also by far the best team against the pass that Baylor has seed so far in 2013. The Wildcats are allowing 4.28 yards per rush attempt versus 6.07 yards per pass attempt, which ranks as the 25th lowest in the country.

They do this by staying back in coverage and blitzing very little. The Wildcats only get a sack on 3.52% of the oppositions pass attempts (105th in the country). Their rate last year was 6.83%, so their pass rush has been significantly weaker than their dominating defense of 2012. Their coverage guys though might be better this year though, with Ty Zimmerman leading the pack. They have an experienced group of safeties and corners and are much more capable this year in single man-to-man coverage.


Defense

ADVANTAGE


Offense

Success Rate

3

29
Points Per Play

16

42
S&P

6

39
Rush S&P

2

59
Pass S&P

45

25
Standard Downs S&P

8

21
Passing Downs S&P

11

80
Average

13

42.14

The Bears also have the advantage when the Wildcats have the ball, but not as nearly as dominant when Baylor is on offense. The Wildcats offense has been surprisingly effective, despite having some quarterback issues. They are a successful offense in terms of getting the yards they need when they need them, ranking 29th in success rate. They are not nearly as explosive as last year, with the loss of the dominating running game taking away a few of their big play-action plays a game that gave them a lot of their fire power.

What the Wildcats do though, is get themselves in good positions on offense, but running the ball well early and then converting 3rd and short. They average 4.97 yards per carry on first down, and have converted 12 of 16 third down and 1-3 yards for first downs and have gained 5.63 yards per carry on those plays. In that same situation, they have only passed the ball 5 times, converting two for first downs. However, when they get into 3rd and 4-6 yards, they are a pass heavy offense. In the 13 3rd and 4-6 situations they have faced in 2013, they have passed 10 times and run the ball just 3. They have -5 yards and no first downs when they run, while they have converted 8 of the 10 passes for first downs for an average of 8 yards per attempt.

The Wildcats are still a heavy run offense, running the ball on 57% of their offensive snaps. You can expect that number to increase the more that Daniel Sams is the primary quarterback. However, 60% of their yardage is coming from the passing game, as they still utilize the big play after getting the defense to focus too much on the run. They are 83rd in the country in overall yardage per game, but 57th in scoring.

Players to Watch

With the loss of their offensive and defensive leaders, the Wildcats lost a ton of talent off of their 2012 Big 12 Championship team. Collin Klein is no longer under center and running over defenders, while Arthur Brown is now tackling NFL running backs rather than terrorizing the Big 12. The focal point of both sides of the ball for the Wildcats has had to change as a result. John Hubert is back as the Wildcats top running back and leading a run focused offense. He is averaging just 4.1 yards per carry, which is down from 5.0 in 2012. He is the bell-cow of the offense, but not the Wildcats leading rusher so far in 2013.

That would be quarterback Daniel Sams, who has 55 more yards on 9 less carries. Sams is really only a threat to run the ball at this point of his career though, as he has more than double the amount of rush attempts (56) as he does pass attempts (25). But Sams isn't even the starter as of right now, that would be Jake Waters, the junior college transfer from Iowa Western. Waters was the top-ranked junior college recruit this year, after setting a junior college record with a 73.3% completion percentage and leading Iowa Western to a national title. The NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year is much more of a passer than Sams, but his efficiency has taken a while to be found at the FBS level. He completed just 19 of 30 against Texas and then lost the starting job against Oklahoma State after completing just 3 of 7 passes.

This will be the second week in a row that there will be some questions about who the starting quarterback will be that the Bears defense will face. Waters took the first snap against OSU, but Sams played the majority of the game until committing 2 turnovers on two straight drives in the second half. Water came in after that and then threw an interception. Both quarterbacks struggled with turnovers and keeping the offense going consistently.

The other main offensive weapon is one of the most dangerous players in the return game. Tyler Lockett has always been one of the top returners in the country, but has taken a big step on the offensive side of the ball. He had 44 catches in all of the 2012 season, but already has 31 so far this year to go along with 475 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging over 15 yards per catch and is their one big threat. Lockett did leave the Oklahoma State game quite early with an injury, so his availability is not known at this time.

Defensively, they are led by Ty Zimmerman, their returning strong safety. The returning All-American is second on the team in tackles with 39 and also has 1 interception. Zimmerman is a physical safety who does a great job of helping in run support and making sure the backend of the defense is doing the right things. He was missed greatly last year in the loss to the Bears, as Baylor fans will remember.

Ahead of Zimmerman on the tackles list is another senior, though this one did not play in 2012. Brandon Slaughter is leading the Wildcat defense from his linebacker position in tackles, and sacks. He redshirted in the 2012 season, but is back with a fury now.

What do the Wildcats want to do?

This is the same Kansas State team we all know and have seen the past few years, just with some younger players and question marks at quarterback. Sams and Waters are both flawed quarterbacks at least as of now, but each of them provides very different strengths. They are a defense first team, which relies on the running game alongside play action passes that stretch the defense out. they have reloaded with their traditional reliance on junior college players, and under-recruited players from outside of Kansas.

Defensively, they run a traditional 4-3 defense, with the strength being the linebackers. They are much better against the run than the pass, and have a lot of new starters. They seem to be playing more of a bend and don't break style than they have in the past, but they are still a strong defense.


Bears Illustrated Top Stories