This Saturday, the Kansas State football team will host the Baylor Bears at home in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Last year, the Wildcats traveled to Waco, Texas, where they beat the Bears 42-21.Currently, neither Baylor nor K-State is ranked.
Before the game on Saturday the Baylor Lariat’s sports editor Nathan Keil caught up with the Collegian’s editor-in-chief and sports editor DeAundra Allen to talk about Saturday’s game. To look further into the game, Keil talked about Baylor’s quarterback, the preparation and the underdogs of the team.
DeAundra: Zach Smith has proved a lot of himself during the game against Oklahoma. What should K-State watch for when watching him?
Nathan: I think that Smith showed that he is once again comfortable in the offense. After making his three starts in 2017, he watched the Liberty and UTSA games from the sideline with the exception of two plays. His first start against Duke, he showed glimpses of finding a good offensive rhythm against a much-improved Duke team. Against Oklahoma, he showed that the confidence is back. He showed that not only he is tough and can lead the offense, but when given enough time, he can hit the home run plays like he did with wide receiver Denzel Mims on Saturday.
DeAundra: After watching K-State play Vanderbilt, do you think the Baylor coaching staff has changed anything in preparation for the game at K-State?
Nathan: I think that Baylor’s coaching staff is expecting a different looking offense than what Kansas State showed against Vanderbilt. I think that it starts with Ertz. Mayfield and the other quarterbacks Baylor has faced this season have been able to buy time in the pocket to find open receivers, so I think that they will look to get pressure on Ertz with a variety of different defensive looks while also trying to contain Ertz’s scrambling ability.
DeAundra: Who is one player a lot may not know about, but should?
Nathan: Sophomore Blake Lynch. Lynch played wide receiver last year for Baylor, but due to need and lack of depth in the secondary, switched to play cornerback for the Bears this season. He has had an exceptional attitude regarding the change and learning the new position. Whenever someone makes a change from a new position, especially from one side of the ball to the other, there are going to be hiccups and hard lessons to learn. Lynch has done a great job improving each week, especially against some pass heavy teams like Duke and Oklahoma.
DeAundra: Defensively, Ira Lewis and Clay Johnston are two of the statistical leaders for Baylor. Lewis in sacks (2.5) and Johnston in tackles (36). What makes them so dangerous to the other side of the ball?
Nathan: Lewis is relentless in pursuit of the ball and DC Phi Snow will move him to different spots on the field, looking to take advantage of different matchups. Clay Johnston just plays at a totally different speed. He runs all over the field and has great vision and anticipation for where the ball is being thrown or where the ball carrier is going. He gives up his body with reckless abandon and has emerged as a sure tackler and a leader for the defense.
DeAundra: What is your prediction for the game?
Nathan: Baylor continues to improve each week, especially defensively. I expect that to continue, but also with Smith finding his feel for the offense, I think the Baylor offense will continue to improve each week as well. Kansas State is a great defensive team and they have a great leader in Jesse Ertz as well as a hall of fame coach in Bill Snyder. I won’t give a score, but Kansas State is going to need to play much better than it did offensively against Vanderbilt, especially if Baylor’s offense clicks like it did last week. I think it will be close and it could go either way.
Look for DeAundra’s answers on the BaylorLariat.com. Follow Nathan on @Nathan_Nation and the Baylor Lariat at @bulariatsports.