Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Baylor to Provide Barometer for K-State Defense

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Baylor to Provide Barometer for K-State Defense

Article excerpt

MANHATTAN -- The numbers look good.

Through three games, Kansas State ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 Conference in pass defense at 153.7 yards a game, pass defense efficiency with a 108.8 rating and total defense at 286.3 yards.

Those were three nonconference games, so K-State hasn't faced a Big 12 caliber offense. That changes when the Wildcats (2-1) open the conference against Baylor at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The Bears (0-4, 0-1 Big 12) rank only No. 8 in the Big 12 in passing offense (285.2) and last in scoring (29.0) but they should provide a better gauge of where the Wildcats stand.

"It's a significant barometer," K-State coach Bill Snyder said. "Their track record throwing the ball would certainly indicate that. I don't think we're where we need to be by any stretch of the imagination. The numbers show up decent right now. I think we lead the conference in pass defense but we haven't been in the conference with teams that do put the ball in the air as much as our conference does.

"The jury is still out, but I think we've made some headway. Some of the things that have been somewhat concerning have been addressed and I think we're making improvement in the areas where we might have felt maybe not quite as strong as we'd like to. This will be a good barometer."

Zach Smith, the Bears' sophomore quarterback, is coming off an impressive performance when he completed 33 of 50 passes for 463 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 49-41 loss to Oklahoma.

"It's going to be a test," Wildcats linebacker Jayd Kirby said. "I don't think we've seen 50 pass plays in a game, yet. It's going to be something new but we have to defend and play it well."

K-State's three opponents have attempted 35, 25 and 23 passes. The biggest change for the Wildcat defense will be facing an up-tempo offense, even if the Bears aren't quite what they have been in the past under first-year coach Matt Rhule. …

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