The Kansas State Wildcats (7-3) thoroughly dominated Baylor (3-7) 59 to 25 in front of a purple and silver homecoming crowd.
For a brief moment, it looked like Baylor might actually challenge Kansas State. The Bears equalized KSU’s opening scoring drive with an efficient, five play, 72-yard scoring drive of their own. ESPN’s in-game win probability for the Wildcats even dropped from 97% to 94%!
It never got any lower.
Aided by a questionable pass-interference call on third and seven, KSU scored on their second drive. Two plays later their defense picked up a fumble by Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen and ran it in for a touchdown. A Baylor three-and-out gave way to another KSU score. And if you thought it wasn’t comically bad enough...Baylor fumbled the snap on a punt following another three-and-out and KSU recovered it on the two yard line. Two minutes into the second quarter and the Wildcats had a commanding 35-7 lead.
Kansas State’s offense didn’t need to be spotted 14 points to win this game. They definitely didn’t need to be spotted 21 points when Shapen threw a pick-six in the third quarter.
Baylor, on the other hand, needed some lucky breaks just to hold off KSU’s second-teamers until 9:47 in the fourth quarter. A 59-yard punt return by Josh Cameron gave Baylor excellent field position to score their second touchdown. A double-reverse pass led to a 63-yard touchdown from Shapen to Dabney.
Unfortunately, the Bears weren’t lucky enough, as their most creative and aggressive playcalling on the season hurt as often as it helped. Baylor attempted (and failed to convert) on two two-point conversion attempts. They followed up a successful onside kick with a fake field goal attempt that led to a turnover on downs.
The stats are pretty meaningless for this game because the final quarter was glorified garbage time. That caveat aside, Kansas State doubled up on Baylor’s rushing yards (183 to 85) and yards per rush (4.9 to 2.4). They converted a third of their third down attempts, and two of three of their fourth down attempts, compared to Baylor’s sub-25% conversion rate on third down and 50% conversion rate on fourth.
Blake Shapen went 22 for 45 for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns. Given how much our receivers struggled to create separation and our offensive line consistently failed to give Shapen time in the pocket, even 22 completions is pretty impressive.
Drake Dabney was our leading ‘receiver’ with 105 yards and one touchdown. Josh Cameron added a respectable 41 yards on five receptions. Our most explosive playmaker, Monaray Baldwin, had no catches until the final thirty seconds of the game. Frankly, that’s inexcusable.
The saddest thing about this game is that we expected nothing more.