Depending on how this season plays out for Baylor and its captivating redshirt junior running back Lache Seastrunk, Nov. 17, 2012 could be remembered as the turning point.
That was the night the Bears ambushed Kansas State, ranked No. 1 in the BCS at the time, and delivered an emphatic 52-24 win, paced by Seastrunk's 185 rushing yards and one touchdown.
"We were in dire straits," Baylor coach Art Briles told the Waco Tribune. "Our backs were inside the wall, not even against it. The Kansas State game got us to that point where we thought, 'OK, now it's going to start happening.'"
Since then, BU has won eight consecutive games and scored at least 41 points in every one of them.
Seastrunk has rushed for 1,226 yards and 11 touchdowns in that span, averaging a shade under 10 yards per carry.
Now BU again faces the Wildcats this Saturday for only its second road game in this winning streak, though the Bears also thumped UCLA, 49-26, in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. And Seastrunk is the focal point for the K-State defense.
"We are going to have to stop them at the line," defensive end Marquel Bryant told the Kansas City Star. "Trying to stop the run this week is big. If we can keep Seastrunk inside, we can give the secondary time to get there."
It is a dangerous balancing act for K-State. Attack the run, BU's spread passing attack is more than capable of exploiting one-on-one matchups. Drop into a more cautious shell, Seastrunk has improved dramatically running between the tackles and can deliver consistent gains, with the constant threat of tapping into his unreal speed and going the distance.
At 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, Seastrunk could bring the same jolt to an NFL team that Reggie Bush has offered for the Detroit Lions this season. Seastrunk does not provide the same versatility in the passing game -- he does not have a reception this season and has only nine career catches -- but everything else about his skill set will terrify defensive coordinators at this level and the next.