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at Kansas State 36 … Baylor 35

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2011


Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Baylor at Kansas State


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Baylor at Kansas State

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Oct. 1 at Kansas State 36 … Baylor 35
CFN Analysis: How did Kansas State pull it off? The secondary was bombed on, the passing game was mediocre, and the defense couldn’t come up with any big plays … until Arthur Brown came up with a big play. The running game kept the chains and the clock moving with Collin Klein finishing with 113 yards and a touchdown to make up for his 13-of-28 passing day, and while the defense might have gotten torched by Robert Griffin, it was solid against the run while getting off the field time and again on third downs. It hasn’t always been pretty, and three of the games easily could’ve gone either way, but Kansas State is 4-0 with Missouri coming into town. With the way the run defense is playing and with the pass rush consistent, this is quickly turning into a dangerous team to watch out for if Klein can start throwing a bit better.

It’s sad that all most people will remember from this game, or from the highlights, was the Robert Griffin pick at the end. He was magnificent once again, completing 23-of-31 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns, but he did throw the key pick and he didn’t get going on the ground with just six net yards after having problems with the KSU pass rush. Kendall Wright continues to play like an All-American with 201 yards and three touchdowns on nine grabs, and Tevin Reese has become a nice deep threat running mate. As good as the first part of the season has been, things will quickly change if the run defense isn’t stronger in a hurry. Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are coming up soon after the Iowa State date next week.

(AP) MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Robert Griffin III threw his first interception of the year at exactly the wrong moment.

Arthur Brown picked off Baylor's star quarterback in the closing minutes Saturday, setting up a 31-yard field goal by Anthony Cantele that sent unbeaten Kansas State to a 36-35 upset over the No. 15 Bears.

Collin Klein threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns and added 113 yards and another score for the Wildcats (4-0), who won their third straight Big 12 opener -- this one in dramatic fashion.

Kansas State trailed 35-26 midway through the fourth quarter when Klein engineered a 13-play, 70-yard drive that he capped with a short touchdown plunge.

Still, Baylor (3-1) took over needing only a couple first downs to wrap up its first 4-0 start since 1991. Instead, Griffin missed Brown sliding over across the middle and Kansas State's defensive captain hauled in the throw after a slight, heart-stopping bobble.

It was the first interception thrown by Griffin all season.

Cantele, who missed earlier in the game from 42 yards, hit the go-ahead field goal with 3:10 left to set off a raucous celebration at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The Bears still had time, especially given their quick-strike ability. But Brown sacked Griffin on first down moments later, and after two plays covered just 11 yards, Griffin's fourth-down pass intended for Kendall Wright fell incomplete.

The ending spoiled another virtuoso performance for Griffin, who has emerged as an early Heisman Trophy contender. He came into the game having thrown more touchdown passes than incompletions, and it remained that way until late in the fourth quarter.

Griffin finished 23 of 31 for 346 yards and five touchdowns -- and one big interception.

Most of Griffin's offense was directed at Wright, who caught nine passes for a school-record 201 yards and three TDs. Gerald McNeil had held the previous record since 1981.

None of the Bears' five scoring drives took more than 2 minutes, 36 seconds, even though all of them covered at least 48 yards. That included a two-play, 75-yard drive that took all of 20 seconds late in the first half that gave them a 21-19 lead at the break.

Kansas State pulled ahead early in the third quarter, thanks to Klein's 63-yard run and Angelo Pease's 12-yard touchdown scamper, but the Bears quickly found an answer.

Griffin connected with Wright on fourth-and-5 on the Bears' ensuing possession, with Wright laying out in the end zone to make a diving over-the-shoulder grab as he slid out of bounds for a 34-yard touchdown catch. Officials upheld the play and Baylor led 28-26.

The Wildcats put together another promising drive, but Klein was picked off by Baylor safety Sam Holl at the Bears' 33. Griffin immediately hit Wright for 23 yards, and seven plays later, the pair connected again for a dazzling 35-yard touchdown reception. It capped an eight-play, 79-yard drive that took just 2:36 off the clock and pushed Baylor ahead 35-26.

Too much time was left, as it turned out.

Behind another gutsy performance by Klein, the Wildcats marched downfield for a touchdown to get within 35-33, and the defense -- which stopped Miami four times at the goal line in a 28-24 win a week ago -- once again made the biggest plays of the game when they mattered most.

Baylor (3-0) at Kansas State (3-0) Oct. 1, 3:30, ABC/ESPN/ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … All of a sudden, shockingly, Baylor-Kansas State has become almost as big as Oklahoma State-Texas A&M was last weekend and Oklahoma-Texas might be next weekend. Of course it won’t be big on a national scale, and yes, it’ll take a major upset or three for the winner of this game to have any real shot at winning the Big 12 title, but at 3-0 with a few excellent wins on the résumé, these two might be for real.

Kansas State started out the season with a rough, last-second win to get by Eastern Kentucky, and then the offense turned it on over the last two weeks with a shockingly efficient day against Miami, finishing up with the great goal line stand holding Jacory Harris inches away from the goal line. The defense has been phenomenal, the running game has been terrific, and with a home date against Missouri coming up followed up by winnable road games at Texas Tech and Kansas, there’s a chance the Wildcats could go on a terrific run if they can get out of this shootout alive.

Baylor has been unstoppable, and while blowing up Stephen F. Austin and Rice might not seem that impressive, the performance against TCU to start the year will be pumped up as a season-definer all year long.

Robert Griffin has been the best player in college football over the first three weeks, the offense ranks second in the nation, and Baylor might be the real deal. With Iowa State up next, 5-0 is likely for the bests if they can beat Kansas State for the third time in four tries, and a win might finally prove to the world that the team is for real.

Why Baylor Might Win: There’s a chance Baylor can simply outbomb Kansas State. The Bears have the firepower for a shootout; the Bears don’t.

The Wildcats have gotten by on a strong running game and great defense, and while Collin Klein had an effective day against Miami, he’s not going to put up 300 yards through the air. If Baylor can come up with a few early scores and take the Wildcats out of their game plan, it’ll take the attention away from a Bear defensive front that’s one of the team’s weakest areas. The less Kansas State is running, the better.

Miami has a mediocre passing game and Eastern Kentucky and Kent State are Eastern Kentucky and Kent State; don’t let the stats fool you. This is a good Wildcat secondary with some great safeties, but they can be beaten by speed targets. Miami’s Travis Benjamin got loose a bit too much last week, and Jacory Harris was able to spread the ball around for 272 yards and two scores. Griffin will keep on bombing away, and with his speed and quickness in and out of the pocket, he’ll be able to negate the solid-looking KSU pass rush.

Why Kansas State Might Win: Field position could be meaningful. It doesn’t matter where Baylor is on the field, it can strike from anywhere, but Kansas State isn’t going to go on too many long marches. Baylor hasn’t punted much with just five kicks, with Griffin pooching one of them, but it’s 118th in the nation in punting averaging just 31 yards per game and the team isn’t getting too much out of the return game.

The only way Kansas State wins is by dominating the time of possession and by cranking out long, slow drives. The Wildcat offensive line hasn’t been great in pass protection, but it has the toughness and the strength to push around a mediocre Baylor defensive front. KSU is eighth in the nation in time of possession, holding on to the ball for over 34 minutes per game, while Baylor’s quick strike attack is 114th keeping the ball for 25:30. It’s all about shortening the game, and the Wildcats will do that.

What To Watch Out For: Robert Griffin has been even better than you think. While he’s running a bit more than last year, now that he’s well over a year past the knee injury that knocked him out of the 2009 season, he’s been a pinpoint passer completing 70-of-82 throws for 962 yards and 13 touchdowns without a pick. He’s not missing, completing 89% of his throws over the last two games and hitting on 85% for the year. If he can have yet another huge game against a team as decent as KSU, he’ll be everyone’s front runner for the Heisman.

Kansas State’s Collin Klein had a phenomenal game against Miami. He took some hits and some sacks, but he ran for 93 yards and a score and was terrific on third downs helping the offense convert 9-of-15 chances on the ultra-athletic Cane defense. He’s not going to bomb away, but he completed 12-of-18 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. As long as he and John Hubert – who ran for 166 yards and a score – can control the game early on and keep Griffin on the sidelines, KSU has a shot.

What Will Happen: Baylor’s the real deal, and Griffin will be great, but it’ll be a fight. The Bear defense won’t be able to get Kansas State’s running game off the field, and while Griffin will come up with big pass plays when he gets his chance, he won’t get that many chances. BU has too much offense and is playing too well and too efficiently, but it’ll be a frustrating, tough win.

CFN Prediction: Baylor 37 … Kansas State 31
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