Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty looked good enough to compete in the Olympics as he hurdled an Iowa State defender before running into the end zone for a touchdown en route to a dominating 49-28 victory against Iowa State Saturday night. The score could’ve been bigger for the Bears but Coach Art Briles mercifully pulled the first stringers in the second half and let the clock run out without trying to score a touchdown as the Bears drove inside the Cyclone 10-yard line with Seth Russell at the controls. More importantly, No. 7 ranked Baylor improved its record to a perfect 4-0 and remains in contention for the four-team playoff at the end of the season for the national championship.
Russell provides the Bears insurance at quarterback if Petty re-injures his back. Russell was signed by Baylor after R.G. III turned pro with a year of eligibility left in college. When Griffin signed with the Washington Redskins it opened the door for another scholarship. Russell originally was going to Kansas, but chose the Bears instead when the opportunity presented itself.
Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino was on the sidelines as offensive co-ordinator for Iowa State in Ames for the Baylor game. His experience both at Kansas and as an assistant coach for Bob Stoopes at Oklahoma was evident as the Cyclones were able to score 28 points.
However, before Baylor can even think about making the playoffs they will have to defeat dangerous University of Texas in Austin this Saturday. And the Longhorn defense was impressive Saturday as they shutout Big 12 rival Kansas, 23-0. Young quarterback Tyrone Swoopes continues to improve as he had his best college game against the Jayhawks. The highly-recruited Swoopes ran for one touchdown and threw for two others as he led the Horns to a 1-0 record in conference.
Swoopes took over at quarterback after starter David Ash went down with a concussion earlier this year. Because of a long history of injuries, Ash wisely decided to retire from the game for health reasons. Ash was a highly-recruited high school star who could both run and throw the ball with ability.
Texas is still in the running for the Big 12 championship in Coach Charlie Strong’s first season at the helm in Austin. Parity may have arrived in the conference this year as no one team seems to be the clear favorite although Oklahoma is favored by most to win the title. Baylor has been ranked second in the conference in many polls.
A victory by the Longhorns against Baylor would establish them as a contender for the title. The Steers lost to Baylor in the conference championship game last year in Waco as the Bears won their first Big 12 championship ever in the last game at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Petty threw for 336 yards and a touchdown as well as well as scoring twice on running plays in Baylor’s thumping of Iowa State. The Bears also showed signs of a running game as Shock Linwood racked up three touchdowns on the ground.
Baylor’s defensive line was also impressive as talented Shawn Oakman sacked and harassed ISU quarterback Sam Richardson for most of the night. Oakman has made his presence felt in the Baylor line ever since he transferred from Penn State.
Baylor coach Art Briles was voted the best offensive college coach in America this past week, according to a vote of coaches across America. Briles received 22 percent of the votes in the poll conducted by ESPN of fellow FBS head coaches. Gux Malzahn of Auburn was second with 18 percent. Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M was third with 14 percent followed by South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier with 8 percent and Oregon’s Mark Helfrich with 6 percent.
Briles will need his offensive abilities this week as his Bears trek to Austin for the showdown with Texas as the new UT coach is respected as a top coach of defenses. The outcome of that showdown may well depend on how well the Longhorns can defense the Bears no-huddle, spread offense which employs a plethora of receivers. All-American receiver Antwain Goodley returned from injury for the Iowa State game and should be available against Texas.
Freshman sensation K.D. Cannon could also cause the Longhorn defense problems at wide receiver. However, Strong produced outstanding defenses during his tenure at Louisville so this could well develop into a showdown between one of the greatest offensive and one of the best defensive coaches in the land.
The Baylor-Texas game will be televised live at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday on ABC. There are approximately three thousand tickets available for the showdown.
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