MANHATTAN — After three nonconference games, and coming off of a bye week, the K-State football team (2-1) now prepares for its Big 12 Conference opener Saturday afternoon against Baylor (0-4). In his weekly press conference, K-State head coach Bill Snyder talked about how his team is feeling heading into its conference opener.
“It’s hard to judge (how every player feels). I thought (Monday)’s practice collectively was probably the most spirited that we have had throughout the course of the year. That pleases me. I think getting into conference play brought some enthusiasm coming off of a bye week. I thought the enthusiasm was enhanced (by conference play arriving this week),” Snyder said.
Baylor has yet to record a win this season. Its losses have come to teams like Liberty (45-48 in week one), University of Texas at San Antonio (10-17 in week two), and Duke (20-34 in week three). However, it is coming off of a surprising 41-49 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma last Saturday. In that game, Baylor was able to put up 523 yards of total offense, with much of that coming through the passing game. Baylor even led Oklahoma in the third quarter of Saturday’s game. Snyder talked about how he thinks Baylor played so well against Oklahoma.
“I think part of it is that they have played a substantial number of players. They’re three-deep at almost every position. Everybody (for Baylor) was getting an opportunity to get on the field, which made it competitive. That’s what (Baylor) was trying to do. They’re trying to develop competition and see who evolves out of it to become the best of the group at each position. I think there was a competition in the program in addition to playing an opponent. I think that has helped them compete day in and day out. When you do that, you stand a chance to get better,” Snyder said.
Junior tight end Dayton Valentine noted that he was surprised that Baylor was able to play so well against Oklahoma.
“I think it definitely kind of shocked a lot of people. (Baylor) had a couple of tough losses to start off the year, but the way they hung with (Oklahoma), one of the top five teams in the country, was surprising. I think that really opened a lot of guys’ eyes to the fact that we need to come out and prepare and be ready for this game. I think that’s why the spirit that coach was talking about (in Monday’s practice) was so high. We know that this is going to be a tough game,” Valentine said.
Sophomore wide receiver Dalton Schoen also noted that Baylor’s performance against Oklahoma surprised him.
“I think it surprised us a little bit. We knew they were an 0-3 football team, but to go out and perform like they did against Oklahoma definitely shows that we can’t overlook them at all,” Schoen said.
Sophomore linebacker Elijah Sullivan noted that his team’s preparations for Saturday’s game haven’t really changed since watching Baylor’s game against Oklahoma.
“It really doesn’t change anything. We’re going into the game like we do every week. We’re going to be prepared and be ready and know what we have to do. (Baylor) gave us a different perspective with how they played, but the preparation is still the same,” Sullivan said.
Sophomore defensive lineman Kyle Ball noted that he is excited to open Big 12 play at home.
“It’ll be awesome. It’ll be really cool having our first game in Big 12 play (at Bill Snyder Family Stadium). My family is coming up. I’ve got friends coming in. I’m pretty excited to see them and let them see me play. I’m excited for it for sure,” Ball said.
K-State and Baylor kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.