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First Look: Kansas State Wildcats

Sorry for the late publish on this, but here's ODB's First Look at this week's opponent: the Kansas State Wildcats, lovingly referred to around these parts as the Snydercats.

Brett Deering

15/15 BAYLOR (4-0, 1-0) vs. NR/NR KANSAS STATE (2-3, 0-2)
Oct. 12, 2013 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Manhattan, Kan. | Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)

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OPPONENT: Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12)
2013 ROSTER, DEPTH CHART (still looking for an official Media Guide to this game)
LAST MEETING: 52-24 Baylor win, ODB Game Hub, Highlights
LAST GAME (for KSU): 33-29 loss to #21 Oklahoma State
SB NATION BLOG: Bring On The Cats
SPREAD: Baylor -17 (Over: 72)
WEATHER FORECAST: High of 73 for Saturday, 30% chance of rain (in Manhattan)

SB Nation Preview: Pros, Cons, and Kansas State

Wildcats Football Schedule

North Dakota St. Fri 08/30 L 21 - 24
Louisiana Sat 09/07 W 48 - 27
UMass Sat 09/14 W 37 - 7
@ Texas Sat 09/21 L 21 - 31
@ Oklahoma St. Sat 10/05 L 29 - 33
Baylor Sat 10/12 2:30 PM CDT
West Virginia Sat 10/26 TBA
Iowa St. Sat 11/02 TBA
@ Texas Tech Sat 11/09 TBA
TCU Sat 11/16 TBA
Oklahoma Sat 11/23 TBA
@ Kansas Sat 11/30 TBA

To say things started out poorly for the Snydercats, with a stunning loss to the North Dakota St. Bison that probably shouldn't have been so stunning, would be an understatement.  Since then, however, things have arguably gotten better, though the 'Cats have lost their last two games to Texas and Oklahoma State, respectively.  We should note that both of those games were away, and this will be KSU's first home Big 12 game of the season.  Obviously that means it will be our first road game of any kind in 2013.  That presents its own challenges, altogether.

Kansas State feels to me like a team that doesn't know who it is yet, especially on offense.  When Collin Klein graduated, he left in his wake a fully-fledged QB controversy between the runner, Daniel Sams, and the passer, Jake Waters.  For my money, the offense has looked better, albeit more limited, with Sams.  You rarely see as stark a difference between two players as this, when each have clear roles that the team absolutely will not go outside of for any reason, but that's where KSU is.

The way I see it, there are two major issues facing the Kansas State offense going into this week, one of which is the aforementioned QB controversy.  The latest reports say that Waters will start, but it's hard to know if that is true or the Magician is just trying to put one over on us.  Like I said, Sams looks like he gives the 'Cats the best chance to win, but neither is particularly good at keeping the football, something that eventually doomed them against the Cowboys last week.

The other is the availability of KSU's two best receivers: Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson.  Lockett is listed as doubtful for our game due to a hamstring injury, while Thompson is facing some kind of undisclosed discipline.  Snyder has been somewhat vague thus far in even discussing the possibility that either might play on Saturday.  My guess is that neither play, and KSU's offense loses two of the only weapons it truly has.

Kansas State Team Statistics

Team Stats - Through games 10/05/2013
Stat Rank Value
Total Offense 82 391.4
Rushing Offense 75 155.6
Passing Offense 63 235.8
Team Passing Efficiency 44 143.49
Scoring Offense 57 31.2
Total Defense 46 368.2
Rushing Defense 72 165.4
Passing Yards Allowed 26 202.8
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 41 117.77
Scoring Defense 50 24.4
Turnover Margin 121 -1.8
3rd Down Conversion Pct 24 0.492
4th Down Conversion Pct T-31 0.600
3rd Down Converstion Pct Defense 103 0.451
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense T-51 0.444
Red Zone Offense 45 0.867
Red Zone Defense 71 0.857
Net Punting 88 35.89
Punt Returns 1 26.80
Kickoff Returns 84 19.89
First Downs Offense 84 102
First Downs Defense 53 99
Fewest Penalties Per Game T-49 5.60
Fewest Penatly Yards Per Game 55 46.00
Time of Possession 49 30:36
View Complete Ranking Summary

Look for the full breakdown of the advanced stats tomorrow.  Suffice to say, as you've seen here several times over the last few days, our offense is considerably better than theirs, statistically.  Our defense, strangely enough, is also better.  Kansas State, though, is decent enough against the pass in absolute statistics, slightly worse against the rush, and solid on both third and fourth downs.  If we thought we were getting our strongest test yet last week against West Virginia, we probably actually are this week against the Snydercats, especially considering it is an away game.

Whether that makes a difference isn't really clear.  As I'll show in more depth tomorrow, Baylor took over the #1 spot in F/+ in the latest update today, which places Kansas State 47th in the country.  On the defensive side, the Cats come in at 54th by S&P+, which has Baylor 38th.  Offensively, they are 58th to our 1st ... in everything.

Saturday's game will take place at 2:30 in Manhattan and will be broadcast nationally on Fox.  This post will go in the Baylor vs. Kansas State 2013 hub that I have created (link at the top of the page), where everything else of consequence on this game will also be collected.  As the week goes on, we'll have more information about this matchup, so check back!


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