Player to watch: Robert Griffin

Robert Griffin This space is normally used to highlight an opposing player that isn’t already in the limelight. So far this season, we’ve advised you to watch a kicker, a cornerback and two linebackers. But this week we go with an obvious choice: the quarterback.

Why? Because Robert Griffin means everything to Baylor. When he was injured at the beginning of last season, the Bears went from a trendy pick to reach a bowl game right back to the Baylor of old.

Now that he’s back and healthy, the Bears sport one of the most explosive offenses around — they average 33 points and 446 yards per game — and are on the verge of becoming eligible for the postseason for the first time since Starter jackets were cool.

He is more important to the Bears than Daniel Thomas is to the Wildcats. He is the most popular athlete in Waco. Heck, even the mascot likes him.

Stopping him will be Kansas State’s top challenge. Bill Snyder understands it will be difficult.

“He can run. He can throw. He can lead and motivate his team,” Snyder said. “He is a complete player. He is fast, quick and he can change directions fluidly.”

What makes Griffin so explosive is his versatility. Try to blitz him and he will make you pay with quick passes and screens. Drop back into coverage and the former high school track star will run for first downs. Play him straight up and he rarely makes mistakes.

So far this season, Griffin has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and tossed 14 touchdowns compared to three interceptions. He has also rushed for 376 yards and six touchdowns.

Aside from TCU’s well-respected defense, which held Griffin to 16 completions on 28 attempts for 164 yards and a touchdown and only 21 yards on the ground, the opposition has been unable to stop him. The Bears’ only other loss came to Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders had to score 45 to win that one.

K-State did drop 59 points on Kansas last week, so I suppose the Wildcats could try to simply outscore the Bears as well. But touchdowns may not come quite as easily in Waco as they did in Lawrence.

If they don’t, K-State will need to effectively defend Griffin.

As he goes, so goes Baylor.