MANHATTAN, Kan. – Things are looking up for Baylor with a 4-0 start and head coach Matt Rhule's newly announced contract extension which could take him through the 2027 season. The Bears, though, will leave the state of Texas for the first time Saturday when they travel to Kansas State for a Big 12 road clash.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Kansas State -1
Rhule's squad squandered a 20-0 lead Saturday in its Big 12 opener against Iowa State, but redshirt-freshman kicker John Mayers hit a 38-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining to keep the Bears perfect with a 23-21 win. "It was a great game, a gritty game, a tough game, but it certainly wasn't a dominant game and it had a chance to be that and we didn't do it," Rhule said Monday at his weekly news conference. "... You know whether we're 4-0 or 0-4, we're not anywhere near where we want to be and so we have to just get better right now." Kansas State, meanwhile, wasn't so fortunate, falling at Oklahoma State 26-13 on Saturday in its Big 12 opener after a 3-0 start. "The thing about it is I think you can learn a lot more from a loss than you do with a win," Wildcats first-year head coach Chris Klieman said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "We're going to learn an awful lot from this."
ABOUT BAYLOR (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Against the Cyclones, Charlie Brewer threw for a season-high 307 yards and had his third three-touchdown passing game of the season, connecting twice with wide receiver Denzel Mims on scoring tosses. Brewer ranks third among Big 12 quarterbacks in efficiency, completing 66.4 percent of his throws with 10 TDs and no interceptions. The Bears' defense, led by linebacker Clay Johnston's 37 total tackles and 2.5 sacks, has been the driving force behind the team's 4-0 start, ranking second in both total (297.5 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (16.3 points) in the conference.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (3-1, 0-1)
The Wildcats also possess one of the Big 12's top defenses, ranking third in total defense (323.5 yards) and first in scoring D (16.0 points), but were gashed for 526 total yards, including 296 from FBS rushing leader Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State, despite holding the Cowboys to a season-low 26 points. On offense, Kansas State entered the contest averaging 280 rushing yards (10th nationally) but finished with 126 on 32 carries and converted only 1-of-13 third downs. Running backs James Gilbert and Jordon Brown average a combined 121.8 yards per game, while quarterback Skylar Thompson is a dual threat, averaging 173.8 total yards of offense.
1. Kansas State leads the series 9-7, including a 5-2 advantage at home, but Baylor prevailed 37-34 last season in Waco on a 29-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
2. The Bears' 4-0 start is their best since beginning 2016 with six straight wins, and they're one of 18 undefeated FBS teams entering the week.
3. Kansas State's second-leading receiver, wideout Malik Knowles (nine catches-137 yards-two TDs), missed the Oklahoma State game with an unspecified "lower-body" injury, and his status remains uncertain for Saturday.
PREDICTION: Kansas State 27, Baylor 26