While Baylor had last weekend off, it wasn’t the greatest of bye weeks. In addition to the season-ending injury to quarterback Seth Russell, the Bears have had to sit around and watch the hype grow for rival TCU. Now back for a Thursday night Game, the Bears are a -17.5 point favorite (at 5 Dimes Sportsbook) at a struggling Kansas State.
Things haven’t been so great for Kansas State, while they are also having quarterback problems of their own. After letting Games against Oklahoma State and TCU slip away, the Wildcats have completely fell off, losing to Oklahoma 55-0 and then Texas 23-9. Once a dynamic offense, KSU has scored just nine points in the last two Games and they’ll need more than that in this one.
Baylor hasn’t had trouble scoring, but that may change with freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham getting the first start of his career. He has big shoes to fill as Russell had 29 TDs and 6 INTs through the first seven Games. The good news is that Stidham gets to face a lackluster Kansas State defense that hasn’t stopped anyone. In addition, the Bears have a great run Game, averaging 6.9 yards per carry as a team to go with 23 rushing TDs. Shock Linwood leads the way with 974 yards (8.1 ypc) and 9 TDs. In the passing Game, Stidham will do his best to throw to Corey Coleman as often as possible with the receiver at 962 yards and already 18 touchdowns.
Baylor hasn’t been great on the defensive side and so far that hasn’t mattered with the No. 1 scoring offense in the country, but will that be the case with Stidham? Only time will tell.
Bill Snyder and Kansas State have to figure out something and maybe the extra half-week off helped a little bit. After Baylor, KSU’s Schedule is a bit easier, but that won’t take away from a 3-5 record and five-straight losses if they fall here.
Quarterback remains an issue for the Wildcats with Joe Hubener still under center. His numbers have been putrid with a 45.5% completion rate to go with 5 passing TDs and 5 INTs. His 258 rushing yards and 6 rushing TDs save some face, but not a whole lot. If Hubener struggles again, wide receiver turned QB, Kody Cook may see some more time at quarterback. He’s played sparingly and had some success against Oklahoma State earlier in the year when Hubener was hurt. And it’s not like the Wildcats have a good running Game to support their iffy QB situation. Charles Jones rushed for 122 yards last week, but they haven’t had anyone consistent all year with Jones at 302 yards and Justin Silmon with 283.
Even with Stidham at quarterback, Baylor should still put up plenty of points in this Game. This team still has the ability to run through most defenses and with KSU’s recent problems, that should help Stidham in his first start.
The home team has covered in Four straight Games in this meeting, while the underdog is also 4-1 ATS in the last five. The over is 7-1 in KSU’s last eight home Games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Bears are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven following a bye week.
Our Pick – Kansas State is struggling as of late but they have competed with Baylor in 4 of the last 5 years with close Games (winning in 2011) and we see that trend continuing this week. At a time when most will be hopping off the bandwagon, we’ll jump on. Kansas State +17.5