Robert Griffin III has put up gaudy numbers through Baylor's 3-0 start, but the versatile quarterback may face his toughest challenge yet when his team opens Big 12 play.
Griffin and the 15th-ranked Bears visit undefeated Kansas State on Saturday, pitting the nation's most accurate passer against one of the top-ranked defenses in the country.
Griffin is coming off another impressive game after he combined for a career-high six touchdowns -- including five passing for the second time this season -- in Baylor's 56-31 win over Rice last Saturday.
After punting on their first drive, the Bears scored touchdowns on their next five possessions, with Griffin throwing for three TDs in the first quarter.
"Robert Griffin is one of the greatest I have ever seen as a player and a coach," Rice coach David Bailiff said. "What he is and what he worked himself into this season compared to last season is just frightening with where he can take his game."
Griffin completed 29 of 33 passes for 338 yards. He also ran for 51 yards and another score as he continues to pad his candidacy for the Heisman Trophy.
His accuracy might be the most impressive stat of all as he challenges Colt Brennan's 2006 NCAA single-season record for passer rating (186.0). Griffin leads the FBS in both rating (236.2) and completion percentage (85.4), with more touchdown passes (13) than incompletions (12). He hasn't thrown an interception.
His ability to put up big numbers should be no surprise to Kansas State. Griffin was exceptional in a 47-42 win over the Wildcats (3-0) last October, throwing for a career-high 404 yards and four touchdowns.
"I can't think of anyone that presents the problems Robert does," Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said. "Who completes 90 percent of their passes? That's unheard of. ... Robert might be the best quarterback in football, exclusive of what level."
Led by Griffin, whose top target Kendall Wright has 31 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns, the Bears rank second in the FBS in yards per game with 594.0 and third with 51.3 points per game.
Although they opened their season with a 50-48 win over then-No. 14 TCU, the Bears may face their toughest challenge from Kansas State. Snyder's team, like Baylor, went 7-6 last year, but is making noise on the national scene thanks to one of the top defenses in the country.
The Wildcats rank sixth in the nation in yards per game allowed (246.3) and 11th against the pass (157.3).
Kansas State received votes in this week's AP poll following a 28-24 win at Miami on Saturday. Although the Wildcats yielded a season-high 411 yards, the defense came up with an impressive stand late, stopping the Hurricanes on fourth-and-goal with 49 seconds left.
Linebacker Tre Walker made three straight tackles inside the 2-yard line, earning Big 12 defensive player of the week honors.
"I'm proud of them for a lot of reasons," Snyder said. "It's not just that play. To have that stand down there was really special."
Walker stepped up last week, but the anchor of the defense is Arthur Brown, who leads the team with 25 tackles, including three for loss.
Baylor coach Art Briles expects the victory to give Kansas State a lot of confidence going into this weekend. The Wildcats haven't defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 7 Texas in 2007, dropping eight in a row against the Top 25.
"That's definitely a signature win against a great opponent on the road, and to win it in the fashion that they won it will certainly give their guys a lot of boost and energy," Briles said. "I was impressed."
Baylor is seeking its first 4-0 start since 1991.
This is the Bears' first visit to Manhattan since a 51-13 loss in 2007. They've never won on the road in the series, losing six of the eight meetings overall.
Top 25 Overview
Baylor and Kansas State earned big-time wins this season: Kansas State at Miami last week and Baylor over TCU in its opener. The conference opener for both teams will give us a great idea of what to expect from both teams throughout the year. The Bears' offense, led by Robert Griffin III, will be the toughest test yet for a much-improved K-State defense.