Baylor is coming off a hard-fought 23-21 win over Iowa State. That victory kept head coach Matt Rhule and the Bears very much alive in the race to the Big 12 Championship Game.
Kansas State suffered its first loss of the season last weekend against Oklahoma State in Stillwater. An inability to slow down an explosive Cowboys rushing attack ultimately cost head coach Chris Klieman and his Wildcats the game.
Saturday's matchup between these two teams likely serves as a de facto elimination game for Kansas State as far as the Big 12 race is concerned.
Baylor at Kansas State
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Kansas State -2
When Baylor Has the Ball
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer has emerged as one of the most efficient passers in the nation. Head coach Matt Rhule and Brewer's teammates will lean on that efficiency on the road in a tough environment. Look for Brewer to come out firing the ball early to his underrated receiving corps, putting constant pressure on the Kansas State defense.
As the game rolls on, Baylor has a stable of backs who have the ability to expose weaknesses in Kansas State's run defense. The early passing onslaught by Brewer should have loosened things up in the box.
The Wildcat defense must figure out a way to get turnovers against a team that doesn't give the ball away very often.
When Kansas State Has the Ball
The Wildcats had a tough time getting the running game going last weekend in Stillwater. They'll want to come out right away and set the tone on Saturday in hopes of controlling the tempo. Moving the chains consistently and keeping Brewer and the Baylor offense off the field is key to Kansas State winning this game. That's going to be easier said than done, especially if Baylor is scoring on most possessions and turning the game into a shootout. At that point, Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson is going to need to take some risks through the air.
This game might be overlooked, but it should be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. These are two programs that are trending up right now, and both could become major players in the Big 12 over the next couple of years.
On Saturday, however, this game will be about the quarterbacks — and Baylor simply has the advantage in that category.
Charlie Brewer has been solid all season for Baylor, and that's going to continue in a tough road environment. Kansas State will keep it close early, but Brewer is eventually going to lead too many drives that end in points.
Prediction: Baylor 27, Kansas State 16
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, USA Today and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.