Know Your Opponent: Baylor

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The Baylor football teams lines up before the game against K-State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on September 30, 2017. (Cooper Kinley | Collegian Media Group)

The 3-2 Baylor Bears are set to host the Kansas State football team at McClane Stadium in Waco, Texas, Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Matt Rhule is in his second season at Baylor after a sexual assault scandal caused the university to clean house. His offensive coordinator, Glenn Thomas, and his defensive coordinator, Phil Snow, followed him to Waco after a 10-4 season at Temple.

Thomas and Rhule’s offense is a fairly basic and balanced spread attack headed by sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer.

Brewer is a solid quarterback and he can deliver the ball where it needs to be for his receivers to make plays, but the scary part about him is that he is a sneaky good runner.

Brewer is the kind of quarterback where it looks as if the defense has him bottled up, but he is mobile, deceptively quick and can make plays on the ground. He is Baylor’s third-best rusher, averaging 21.2 rushing yards per game.

The Bears are still stacked at receivers with junior Denzel Mims returning and former Tennessee running back senior Jalen Hurd making the switch to Baylor receiver.

Mims averages 89.8 yards per game and Hurd is right behind him with 83 yards per game.

Schematically, they like quick wide receiver screens and run plays to set up deep balls. Baylor’s receiving corps torched Kansas on a lot of deep passes into the end zone. K-State fans can expect plenty of that as well.

K-State’s secondary is undersized this year and it will really show this week against the 6-foot-3 Mims and the 6-foot-4 Hurd. In fact, only one Baylor receiver on their two-deep roster is shorter than 6 feet: 5-foot-11 speedster Chris Platt.

Backup quarterback Jalan McClendon has also appeared in every game this season and will likely play in this game as well.

Brewer could have a very nice day against K-State’s defense unless K-State can come up with some uncharacteristic pressure and force Brewer to check down or run the ball.

On defense, Baylor runs a standard 4-3, but will shift to a three-man front in obvious passing downs. They have a preseason Nagurski Trophy watch-list honoree in the center of that defense in senior tackle Ira Lewis.

Despite that talent, Baylor’s defense ranks dead last in the conference in points per game and eighth in yards per game. They have the worst second-worst rush defense in the conference and last in turnovers.

K-State should absolutely start sophomore quarterback Skylar Thompson, although head coach Bill Snyder has been stubborn about allowing Thompson to start, favoring junior quarterback Alex Delton.

Key matchups

Thompson versus Delton: K-State’s quarterback battle should have ended a long time ago, but it has not mostly because of Snyder’s reluctance to let it end.

K-State can do two things with Delton on the field: quarterback option runs and straight up runs with the running back. This has led to defenses filling up the first five yards with defenders “stacking the box” and flowing to stop the run.

Thompson, on the other hand, forces defenses to be honest. He can make all the option reads that Delton can as well and the quarterback run game does not suffer that much as well as throwing the ball and handing it off the K-State’s running backs.

The only reason Delton should be on the field is if K-State is up three or more scores in the fourth quarter.

K-State OL versus Baylor front seven: K-State’s offensive line was supposed to be great this season, but outside of senior guard Dalton Risner, they have been between average and bad.

K-State’s offensive line has a chance to buck that trend this week. Baylor has not been able to stop the run this season and that falls mostly on the talent on their front end.

Watching film of their games against Kansas and Duke, no one really stood out to me on the defensive line. K-State could exploit this weakness with their talented stable of running backs. K-State wins, 27-24

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