Baylor football played inconsistently and came just short in a 33-20 loss to Kansas State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
The Bears fought back from 20-3 to make it a one-possession football game in the fourth quarter. However, the Wildcats drove down the field and kicked a field goal to push the game out of reach. The Bears held Kansas State to 349 yards, but it wasn’t enough.
Here are three quick takeaways from the game.
1. Mistakes are killing Baylor
Baylor was not that far away from winning this football game. The Bears had the ball last in the third quarter down 27-20, but a snap flew right over Zach Smith’s head and Kansas State recovered. It hit a field goal to push the game to two-possessions.
On an earlier drive, Baylor forced a fumble on a return to set up a first down from the Kansas State 20. However, the Bears took a sack and had a six-yard loss on a pass to push the Bears out of field goal range. These mistakes and missed opportunities are killing Baylor this season. It can’t continue.
2. Offense is on Zach Smith’s shoulders
Baylor doesn’t have much protection on offense. However, the Bears were able to get going when quarterback Smith threw the ball. Smith only threw for 291 yards, but his performance was critical. The Bears were unable to get any offense going in the first half, so Smith was relied on to create offense in different areas.
The Bears did a pretty good job of getting to 3rd-and-short, but the Bears can’t seem to convert those short opportunities. Baylor even – bizarrely – burned quarterback Charlie Brewer’s redshirt in an attempt to run zone read. The timing and execution was horrendous. Baylor just has to rely on Smith heading forward until the line becomes good enough to run block.
3. Flashes of a coherent team
Halfway through the game, Baylor fans were panicking. Other than that stretch, Baylor’s offense and defense looked like they found a game plan that complemented each other.
The first drive of the game went for nearly seven minutes, which gave the defense a chance to rest. Later, the Bears had another 16-play drive that led even more time off the clock. When the Bears can get some consistent offense at the second level, they’re pretty dang good. Baylor just has to do it more successfully.
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