Earlier this week, Kansas State center B.J. Finney was asked about Baylor’s jaw-dropping offense. As an offensive lineman, he has spent most of his time leading up to Saturday’s game against the Bears studying their defense, but he had an answer prepared anyway.
“Time of possession,”Finney said. “The way you halt that is keeping that offense off the field. That is a big gameplan, as it always is, for us, to control the clock and control the tempo. We can’t let that slip away from us.”
Finney’s response wasn’t surprising. K-State coach Bill Snyder loves to win the time-of-possession statistic. When the Wildcats run the ball effectively and control the clock, he likes their chances.
But it’s worth pointing out that Baylor ranks 110th nationally in possession time, holding the ball for an average of 27 minutes, 12 seconds a game. It loses the possession battle weekly, yet wins games so easily that starters come out in the third quarter. The Bears are averaging 70.5 points and 779.5 yards.
It’s safe to say they don’t care a lick about possession time. They care about scoring when they have the ball, which they have done at an incredible rate, scoring 39 touchdowns and punting seven times.
So, will sustaining 7-minute drives really give K-State an advantage on Saturday? Maybe.
The Wildcats rank 49th nationally in possession time, holding the ball for 30:56 a game, and their defense looked much improved last week while it had to play for less than 25 minutes against Oklahoma State.
“Yes, I think (time of possession) always (matters), particularly against teams like Oklahoma State or like Baylor that go so fast,” Snyder said. “There is either the need to be extremely well conditioned or have some rest time that comes along with it. I like to think that our young guys are well conditioned, but you can always use some time on the sideline talking about it, too.”
But Oklahoma State held on to beat K-State 33-29 a week ago. A rested defense helped matters, but what K-State needed was more stops, fewer turnovers and more points.
Pressure will be on K-State’s offense to play at a high level against Baylor, but it can do that in several ways. Possession time is a priority, but it won’t be the only priority.
“Baylor is a good team. I don’t think it puts any more pressure on us than playing a good team,” sophomore receiver Kyle Klein said. “One thing we will try to do is keep the ball out of their hands, because if their offense isn’t on the field they can’t score. As an offense I would say our goal is to control the ball, but we do that every game. I’m not sure that is any different against Baylor.”