Big 12 football: Baylor’s string of success started with upset against Kansas State

Posted Monday, Oct. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Big 12 Players of the Week Offense RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor: The junior ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in the Bears’ 73-42 win over West Virginia. He averaged 11.5 yards per carry and did not play in the second half. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards for the ninth consecutive game, the nation’s longest active streak. His 80-yard TD run in the first quarter is the fourth-longest rush in Baylor history. Defense LB Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State: He led the Cowboys with eight tackles, including one for loss, forced a fumble, and recovered another fumble in OSU’s 33-29 win over K-State. His interception late in the game sealed the win. Special teams K Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State: The freshman from Arlington Martin High School set an OSU freshman record with four field goals and 15 points scored, with three PATs, in the Cowboys’ 33-29 win over K-State. Quotable “We’re going to take the first snap and go into the locker room.” — K-State coach Bill Snyder on how he plans to slow Baylor’s start. “I keep it pretty secluded to my office and my house but it’s been incredible. The support for our entire team has really been amazing and has really helped push our players and push our staff to work hard each and every day.” — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on dealing with his rising fame. “One reprimand’s enough. I’ll let that go.” — Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, declining to comment on the reprimand the Big 12 issued him after complaining about the officiating in the Cyclones’ Thursday night loss to Texas.

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A year ago, Baylor derailed Kansas State’s national title hopes with a 52-24 thumping of the unbeaten Wildcats.

The win reignited the Bears’ season. They won their last four games in 2012 and have won their first four in 2013, scoring at least 41 points in the eight-game stretch.

This year, the 15th-ranked Bears (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) are the ones riding high as they travel to take on Kansas State (2-3, 0-2) in Manhattan, Kan., at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Wildcats coach Bill Snyder doesn’t remember seeing an offense put up the kind of numbers as Baylor has in 2013. The Bears lead the nation in both scoring and total yards, averaging 70.5 points and 779.5 yards per game.

“I haven’t taken time to look at a record book and I don’t want to because it would probably frighten me,” Snyder said. “I don’t recall anybody being as productive in terms of numbers.”

Baylor coach Art Briles said last year’s win against K-State was a turning point for the Bears, who were 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the league entering the game.

“It meant a lot,” Briles said. “We were kind of in a dire strait situation. Our back was inside the wall; it wasn’t even up against it.”

Trying to pinpoint what exactly makes Baylor so potent with quarterback Bryce Petty after two very good offensive years with quarterback Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence is difficult, Snyder said.

“They have a very adept system in place,” he said. “They all have been excellent players. The one they have now is every bit as good as the others. They spread you out like so many teams do. If you put too many people inside they throw it outside, if you put too many outside, then they run it inside. The concept is not complex but they execute it so very, very well.”

Snyder suggested that running back Lache Seastrunk, who leads the Big 12 and is second nationally with 147.3 yards a game, is one reason why the Bears have been so unstoppable.

A big, talented offensive line doesn’t hurt, either. And on top of that, the Bears are playing their best defense in years.

“They’re playing with a lot of confidence and it’s confidence they earned through the end of last season and it’s carried on through this year,” Briles said of the defense.

Two years ago Baylor lost at Kansas State when an RGIII interception set up a game-winning field goal in the final 3:10. “We understand it’s going to be a tough, tough out,” Briles said.

But Baylor beat a better Wildcats team a year ago and turned around its season.

“At that time in our season last year we were hanging on trying to get something going,” Briles said. “Kansas State just happened to be the opponent. We were looking for a breakout game and it just happened to come the night they were here.”

Floyd Casey finale

Baylor’s Dec. 7 regular-season finale against Texas is sold out.

It’s the Bears’ final game at Floyd Casey Stadium after 64 seasons. The $260 million Baylor Stadium opens next season.

The largest crowd in stadium history was 51,385 for the Bears’ Oct. 29, 2006, game against Texas A&M.

Baylor will wear NIKE retro uniforms inspired by the 1950 Bears team that first played at the stadium.

There will be a pregame flyover by vintage 1950 aircraft, recognition of 1950 Baylor lettermen and a postgame “turn out the lights” ceremony.

Mayfield’s knee OK

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said that starting quarterback Baker Mayfield’s right knee has no structural damage after the freshman was hurt during the No. 20 Red Raiders’ win at Kansas.

The walk-on’s injury doesn’t “appear to be a season-ending type,” Kingsbury said. “Timetable-wise, I’m not sure yet but that was good news.”

Kingsbury said he’s not sure whether Mayfield will start or even play against Iowa State this week.

Mayfield went down with seconds left in the third quarter, tackled while he was in the pocket attempting a pass. He hobbled slowly off the field with someone helping him under each arm. A short time later, he left the field on crutches.

Mayfield, ranked No. 18 in the nation in passing, threw for 368 yards and a touchdown and ran 19 yards for another score before being replaced by backup Davis Webb.

For the season he’s 132 for 201 for 1,488 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s thrown five interceptions, including one in the first quarter that led to a Jayhawks field goal.

Kingsbury said Monday’s practice, while a lighter workout than other game-week workouts, would give him more information about Mayfield.

“Got to get him over here, see how he’s moving around, see how he’s feeling and then take it from there,” he said.

Co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie said he’s talked to Mayfield since the game.

“His spirits are pretty good, really,” he said.

Mayfield’s injury could accelerate the time frame for Michael Brewer, the presumptive starter heading into fall workouts, to get more playing time alongside Webb, Kingsbury said. Brewer has been out of the rotation after reinjuring his lower back in August.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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