31-24 Against the #2 Ranked team in the Nation. Much better that most K-State fans were expecting. No one likes “Moral” Victories, but in a Season that has had more injuries to a team that was already challenged by youth and lack of experience in key positions, probably an exception can be made.
Baylor is an incredible offensive team in 2015. In the games leading up to this one, they averaged 61 points per game. Pretty ridiculous, even in this era of ‘Nintendo’ offensive systems. Yes, they were starting a true Freshman QB, but he made all the throws. However, the Baylor running game was largely held in check, with no runner getting even 50 yards on the ground. Many might say the points being 50% less than average is entirely due to the QB, but I would say that the K-State Defense had something to do with it.
For the ‘Cats, while the Defense kept them in the game, the offense continued to display it’s greatly challenged ways. There were few smooth drives accomplished by the unit, they were able to run roughshod over the Baylor Defense to keep the game close. The QB run game along with some great runs by the RB gave the ‘Cats over 200 yards on the ground. In past years, that would’ve most-likely resulted in a K-State victory. But in a year where K-State’s starting QB went down on the 1st play of the year, and the skill positions are either young or lacking speed, it was too much to ask for the offense to drive 70 yard with less than 1:00 left on the 4th quarter clock.
For the rest of the season, Baylor will rightfully be competing for not only the Big XII Conference Championship, but also a place in the College Football Playoff. They have tough games left against Oklahoma and TCU. If the Bears are to be successful, they must figure out how to make their defense more consistent. Their Defense is led by Co-ordinator Phil Bennett, who once performed the same duties at K-State. While Phil’s defenses are talented and often among the best in the Nation, for some reason the longer he is at a school it seems his defenses get worse every year. It may be issues with scheme, such as blitzing too much at times, but it also seems that Phil’s defenses ability to wrap-up and tackle have always been severely lacking in the later years. If Baylor has it’s eyes on the Big prize of a National Championship, they must figure that out.
For my ‘Cats, I had a feeling this was going to be a tough year. In some ways it has exceeded even my worst-case thoughts. But, as all K-State teams have done under Coach Snyder, they never gave up. Hopefully with all the bad injury luck used up this year, and more experience for younger players combined with more talent coming in, things will be much better next year.