For most teams, scoring 35 points would be a solid day on offense.
Not for No. 15 Baylor.
The Bears were averaging an absurd 71 points per game before Saturday but were held to about half its average in beating a spirited Kansas State squad, 35-25, on the road.
The numbers for Baylor were a bit odd. The Bears had just 15 first downs, its fewest since also getting 15 in the third game of the 2010 season, but Baylor still put up 446 yards of offense. This can be explained by the quick-strike nature of the Bears attack as quarterback Bryce Petty threw touchdown passes of 93, 72 and 54 yards. Petty averaged an astounding 27.6 yards per completion — is it any wonder he leads the nation in passing efficiency?
For all the explosiveness of Baylor’s offense, Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams was almost the hero in this one. He rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns — part of a 326-yard rushing effort by K-State — as the Wildcats held the ball for over 39 minutes. If you are going to beat the Bears, you have to keep the ball way from them…and the Wildcats almost got it done.
The third quarter belonged to Kansas State, which bounced back from a 21-10 halftime deficit to take a 25-21 lead thanks to two Sams touchdowns. But the fourth quarter belonged to Baylor and Petty’s 54-yard strike to Tevin Reese 27 seconds into the quarter turned out to be the deciding points.
It’s the second-straight close loss for Kansas State (2-4), but on the bright side it may have found its quarterback in Sams, though the Wildcats still made use of Jake Waters, who is a more adept passer. Perhaps a combination of the two will work best going forward.
As for Baylor (5-0), it showed it can overcome adversity in a hostile environment. It wasn’t as pretty as most wins for the Bears, but it will pay dividends down the road. If Baylor is going to challenge for the Big 12 title, it has to learn to win games like these.
With Iowa State and Kansas on tap the next two weeks, Baylor should be 7-0 when it hosts Oklahoma on Nov. 7. If the Bears get by the Sooners and we might be looking at another miracle season in Waco.