The Baylor Bears show the nation they are a team to be reckoned with beating the Oklahoma Sooners 41-12
By Tommy Smith
WACO The Baylor Bears were out to prove they belong among the best of the best in college football Thursday night as they took the national stage opposite their first ranked opponent of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners. The Bears (8-0, 5-0) entered the game ranked sixth in the BCS standings, and in front of their home crowd shrouded in black, left little doubt as they thumped the 10th ranked Sooners 41-12.
The Bears showed they are both talented and deep . They lost running backs Lache Seastrunk and Martin Glasco to injury, but red-shirt freshman Shock Linwood, stepped in and rushed for 182 yards on 23 carries averaging 7.9 yards per rush. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more “We’re just talented and we’re committed,” said Petty after the game. “I think that is all you a can really say about it. It’s a very special team.”
The Bears entered the game with the nation’s leading offense, averaging 64 points per game. Baylor was beating their opponents by an average margin of 48 points, but many around the country were not convinced the Bears were as good as they looked on paper. After a sluggish start by the offense, and trailing 5-3 early in the second quarter, the Bears scored three straight touchdowns, including two in the final minute of the first half while cruising to their first 8-0 start in school history. With the win, Baylor tied Alabama for the second-longest winning streak in the country at 12 (Ohio St. leads at 19).
The Baylor offense struggled early in the game, and after yielding a safety, Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders returned the ensuing Baylor free kick 55 yards to the Bears 12 yard line. The Baylor defense held the Sooner offense to a field goal and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Baylor’s defense held Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2) to just 98 yards rushing and picked off Sooner quarterback Blake Bell twice. The Bears are now 21-2 under defensive coordinator Phil Bennett when they force two or more turnovers. Baylor’s defense forced six Oklahoma three and outs on the Sooners’ 14 drives. The Bears entered the game leading the nation in that category, averaging seven forced three and outs per contest.
“I hope it’ll change the outlook on our defense, and it’ll change the outlook on our whole team,” said Baylor Safety Ahmad Dixon. “Even though our defense did step up, this was a team win and our offense, even though they started slow, they did a great job picking it up.”
Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops was already aware of Baylor’s talent on both sides of the ball. “I know that everyone talks about their offense,which is really good, but I knew their defense was really good with all the seniors they have.”
Linwood played a major part in the offensive turnaround, running for 142 yards on 16 carries in the second half, filling in for Seastrunk and Glasco. “We finally have Big 12 quality depth and that is something I have been saying for about a year,” said Baylor Head Coach Art Briles. “It showed off tonight. When you lose Lache and Glasco and Tevin Reese, and you still maintain and are still effective, that’s a good thing.”
Thursday’s win over Oklahoma began a tough five game stretch run for the Bears, in which they will play Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, who are currently ranked. Baylor closes the season at home November 30th against the Texas Longhorns, who are also unbeaten in Big 12 Conference play, in what could be a winner-take-all battle for the conference championship and BCS bowl birth. With representatives from the Fiesta, Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls in attendance, Baylor has seemingly claimed the attention they have wanted as a team on the rise, and they are looking to continue to build upon what Briles and his veteran players began when he lured them to Waco. “I walk around the hallways before the game and see a bunch of fourth and fifth year guys that have been around a long time, done a lot of things and weathered a lot of storms,” explained Briles. “That gave me a lot of calmness and a lot of comfort because we’ve got a mature football team. We’ve got a team that’s done a lot.”
If Thursday night’s statement win over Oklahoma was an indicator of things to come, this Baylor Bears football team has a lot more to accomplish this season and beyond.
Bob Stoops postgame press conference:
- Baylor is now 5-0 against AP top 25 teams since 2011.
- The matchup was the 23rd meeting in the all-time series. Baylor is now 2-21 all-time against Oklahoma, including a 2-4 record under Art Briles.
- Baylor is 18-1 at Floyd Casey Stadium since the start of the 2011 season, and the Bears are 22-3 at home over the last four seasons.
- Baylor is 5-0 in Big 12 play for the first time in program history. The Bears last won their first 5 league games when they were 5-0 in 1985 Southwest Conference play.
- RB Shock Linwood (23 carries, career-high 182 yards) had his 3rd career 100-yard rushing game, tied for 15th-most in Baylor history.
- QB Bryce Petty completed 13-of-26 passes for 204 yards and 3 TDs, and he added his 8th and 9th rushing TDs of the year. He’s thrown for 200+ yards and at least 2 TDs in all eight career starts.