Last night's win was not only sorely-needed, but also impressive in several respects.
- Give credit where credit is due-- Baylor's defense allowed just 102 yards of offense in the second half and, most importantly, zero points. The yardage was actually much lower (in the 40s) until a late drive in what I would call garbage time. I don't want to overstate things since it's just one game against Kansas, but there was a stark difference between the first and second halves of this game that was extremely positive. With a one-possession lead at the half (20-14) and Kansas taking the kick to open the third quarter, the defense could have easily buckled again and given Kansas the lead. It would have almost been poetic after a poor offensive second quarter where we only scored 3 points. Instead, they held for an entire half and Baylor ran away. I lambaste the defense enough when they play poorly that I am honor-bound to laud them when they don't. The two turnovers by Joe Williams and Ahmad Dixon were just icing on the cake.
- Offensively, if you had asked me before the game what I wished for more than anything else, it would have been a strong rushing game. We got that and much more. Of our 667 yards of total offense yesterday, 299 (really 321, but I won't argue) came on the ground, easily our best performance of the season. Glasco Martin led the way with 11 carries for 157 yards and Lache Seastrunk notched what was clearly his best game in a Baylor uniform (yet...) with 17 carries for 105 yards. He also added 5 catches for 91 yards, including one that went 68 yards for a breakaway touchdown. Before yesterday, Baylor didn't have a single 100-yard rusher in the 2012 season. One game later we have two. Both Glasco and Lache looked fantastic, and we finally got to see the combined thunder/lightning effect they can have on a defense. Glasco gashed and Lache cut. By the end of yesterday's game, Kansas' defense just didn't want any more. We hadn't seen that since Terrance Ganaway last season. I don't mean to over-hype, though I'm probably doing it, anyway, I just could not be more excited about the two of them going forward. Lache in particular is getting better and better every game. That pass he caught out of the backfield was a thing of beauty.
- Success in the running game led to the most balanced attack Baylor fans have seen all season, with 299 yards rushing and 367 yards passing. Not to be outdone by his mates in the backfield, Nick Florence went 26 for 42 for 367 yards, 3 touchdowns, and, best of all, zero interceptions. I've long felt that we needed a stronger rushing game to take pressure off of Florence and make him believe he doesn't have to win every game. We got that last night and it worked perfectly. Florence also helped himself out with 41 rushing yards on 10 carries, including a touchdown. That all of that led to a win we had to have was just the best part.
- Baylor ran 103 offensive plays against Kansas for our 667 yards. That's 6.48 (rounded up) per play. We had 327 yards in the first half and 340 in the second, a breakdown that basically mirrors our scoring.
- I thought it was absolutely perfect that the play after Cyril Richardson came off suspension in the second half, Baylor ran right up behind him for 11 yards. I'm starting to believe that we might actually lose Cyril, who is a junior, to the NFL Draft this year because he's that good. It's not easy for an interior lineman to go in the first couple of rounds, but it sounds like Cyril might. That would be another huge mark in Briles' ledger to use in recruiting, even if it would also be a big loss for our offensive line going into next season. I have faith in Briles and Kaz to hew another lineman from stone and continue building that unit. It's never a bad thing to have great players representing your program in the NFL.
- Terrance Williams (Terrence Williams) did what TWill does with 11 catches for 137 yards and 1 TD. He's now up to 1340 yards on 71 receptions with 10 touchdowns. That's in 8 games. Kendall Wright set Baylor records with 1663 yards and 108 catches last year in 13 games. Unless we play in a bowl game, Williams is no longer on pace to break the receptions record (he'll end up with 107 on his current pace), but the receiving record should fall. Terrance is averaging 167.5 yards per game receiving, a pace that will net him 2010 yards in 12 games. 167.5 ypg is more than 12 entire FBS teams. The single-season NCAA record for receiving yards, in case you were curious, is 2060 yards. That record was set by Nevada's Trevor Insley in 1999. With the defenses we're going to see in the next four weeks (OU, Kansas State, Texas Tech, and OSU), I think it's going to be pretty tough for Williams to break that one unless we somehow get to a bowl game.
- Baylor is back on top of the entire FBS in total offense, averaging 581.5 yards per game. That is about 5.5 yards fewer per game than we averaged in 2011 (587.1). We're sixth in points per game at 43.8.
- As a team, Baylor had 8 tackles for loss against Kansas, the most of any game this season. No individual player had more than one unless you include sacks. Then Terrance Lloyd and Chris McAllister both had two. Sam Holl led the defense with 11 tackles, 4 of which were solo.
- James Sims for KU gained 126 rushing yards on 21 carries, including a 58-yarder for the Jayhawks' first touchdown of the game. Take out that run, though, and he had only 68 yards on his other 20 attempts. He was/is Kansas' best player, and outside of the one play where Chance Casey totally whiffed on a tackle, our defense contained him admirably.
- Did you know we only allowed 96 yards passing?? Pretty crazy, right? I was shocked, too. It's true, though.
- Offensive line didn't allow a sack again! Yay! I think that's the third game this season where they haven't given one up. I'll take that with two extremely young tackles in Spencer Drango and Troy Baker. They also deserve a tremendous amount of credit for Baylor's success against a Kansas defense that, to date, hadn't been all that bad. On the whole, Baylor racked up almost 200 yards more in total offense against Kansas than any team before them in 2012.
- Can't say enough about the defense in the second half. They looked like a legitimate unit that actually knew what it was supposed to do. It was, to put it mildly, refreshing. How we build on that going forward against teams like OU and Kansas State, if we build on it at all, will determine how we as a program remember this season. Our offense should do what our offense does; it's basically a known quantity. I'm not saying we will beat the Sooners or the Wildcats-- I certainly don't expect us to-- but we have the chance to continue moving in the right direction. That's what yesterday's win did.
- Now, how are we going to get the same kind of lightning delay before the second half against the Sooners? Can we get one before the fourth quarter, too?