May 25, 2024

Wildcats smash Bears and delivers Dave Aranda a losing campaign

Baylor Bears Football

Baylor Coach Dave Aranda watches a play during the second quarter against Kansas State Saturday November 11, 2023 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Baylor’s trip to Manhattan Saturday ended in the worst loss of the Dave Aranda era.

After all, Kansas State throttled Baylor 59-25 in front of 51,790 fans, and ended Aranda’s hopes of bowl eligibility. Not to mention the Bears have lost four of their past five games, including three-straight. It’s a head-scratcher that Aranda’s team has basically hit rock bottom, considering they’re two years removed from winning a Big 12 Title.

Aranda tried everything against the Wildcats, from trick plays, to fourth down attempts, but nothing gained any traction. Turnovers cost Baylor tremendously, so now he has to pick up the pieces and head back to the drawing board. Despite the adversity, Aranda is keeping his head high following the blowout road loss.

“There’s a lot to learn from that, I think a lot of young guys that are playing has to see this as what can happen if detail isn’t there, and execution doesn’t match preparation,” Aranda said. “There can be good that can come out of this, but it’s hard to kind of embrace that now.”

Baylor (3-7) led Kansas State in number of plays, and time of possession, but still lost by 34 points. On top of that, the 59 points the Wildcats scored was their most in a single since 2016. Aranda thought the Bears had some bright spots that he’s encouraged about for next week.

Quarterback Blake Shapen completed 22 of his 45 passes for 253 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. The gunslinger’s four touchdown tosses were a season-high, and three of those were to different players. Running back Dawson Pendergrass caught two touchdowns, and tight end Drake Dabney eclipsed the century mark in receiving yards and scored.

Shapen’s 63-yard touchdown strike to Dabney was Baylor’s highlight of the afternoon. It pulled the Bears within 19 points, which was the closest they got the entire second half. It didn’t matter though, because Baylor’s defense missed several tackles, provided poor coverage against the pass and got mauled at the line of scrimmage. Aranda couldn’t believe his eyes as it all transpired in the trenches.

“There’s a great physicality with Kansas State, but there is a real intricate,” he said. “You find yourself in a rabbit hole real quick, so you got to pack pretty heavy because you’re going to go down deep, and that’s just an area we did not do well with today.”

The Bears won’t be going to a bowl for a second time in four years, so it’s going to be challenging for Aranda to build his squad’s motivation for their last two games. There’s no denying Aranda’s back is against the wall, and his future looks gloomy with Baylor following this loss. The Big 12 will have four new teams next season, and parity is at an all-time high. The fans want more, so it’ll be intriguing if Aranda can ignite his players, or worry about his job security.