With an NFL-bound receiver, 3-4 defense and a quarterback capable of making all the plays, Baylor rolls into Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday as a near replica of Oklahoma State.
Baylor doesn’t have a Heisman hopeful at running back. John Lovett starts in the backfield alongside quarterback Charlie Brewer, and Lovett has fewer yards on the season than Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard had in a game against the Wildcats.
Here is a full array of what to expect as K-State look to move to 4-1 with a victory against Baylor:
Denzel Mims is the guy to watch.
Mims is the Bears’ leading receiver in an offense that throws the ball more than 33 times a game. He eclipsed 2,200 yards in his Baylor career in last week’s 23-21 home win over Iowa State.
Mims had 106 yards on six catches with a pair of touchdowns in the victory. He has 24 catches for 355 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Similar to how Oklahoma State used receiver Tylan Wallace last week, Baylor likes to isolate Mims. It’s rare to find another receiver on his side of the field.
The Bears will frequently put a tight end on Mims’ side, but that tight end is mostly there to block. Brewer is quick to get his eyes on Mims and slow to take them off him at times. The tight end is used to combo block and give Mims more time.
Most often, Mims is on the isolated side of a trips formation. Safeties shade to his side, but Brewer has a lot of confidence in his senior playmaker.
But when Mims isn’t targeted, Baylor has a lot of other receivers who can stretch a defense.
Brewer’s best ball comes on a deep post. In Baylor’s past two games, Brewer has been perfect on a couple of touchdown throws to Chris Platt and R.J. Sneed.
Baylor starts two seniors, a junior and a pair of sophomores on the offensive line. The Bears do a good job on their home-run balls. Brewer has 10 touchdown passes this season, third-most in the Big 12 behind Texas’ Sam Ehlinger and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts.
Baylor and Oklahoma State run three-man defensive fronts. In their most recent games against K-State and Iowa State, the defenses had four sacks, nine tackles for losses and 12 quarterback hurries.
Baylor’s defensive line does a lot of stunting, like OSU’s did. The Bears also do a lot of delayed linebacker blitzes.
In Baylor’s 21-14 win over Rice, the Bears had Rice in a third-and-17 with the game on the line. They dialed a stunt and got to the quarterback to ice the win.
Baylor has the No. 2 scoring and run defense in the Big 12. Most impressive: The Bears have the most sacks in the conference.
Baylor has 12 sacks in four games. K-State has allowed just four sacks this season. Something has to give.
For how good K-State has been on special teams through the years, Baylor has been outstanding, too.
The Bears have blocked seven kicks in their past nine games, including one against Iowa State that helped contribute to the two-point win.
Last year, Baylor blocked an extra-point attempt against the Wildcats. K-State coach Chris Klieman said special teams is always an emphasis, but especially this week.
Klieman said Baylor gets great penetration through the line on field-goal attempts. He said the Bears, “just refuse to be blocked.”
“Just like when we had the big return against Mississippi State, I know that people know special teams is always good at K-State, but I think that made Oklahoma State put that much more emphasis on it,” Klieman said. “Same thing with us.”