(2-2, 0-0) Rank: NR/NR
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 42,967
(3-0, 0-0) Rank: 20/19
As I'm sitting here, with preparations for my family's eastward trip to Disney World nearly complete and UT-KSU on the television, I'm still basically in awe of what Baylor has done to open the 2013 campaign. Against an admittedly weak schedule, the Bears have done exactly what you'd expect a team that hopes to be referred to among the elite to do: win overwhelmingly. Just winning wouldn't be enough, especially since the competition hasn't been great. As an up-and-comer in the CFB world, we have everything to lose from a performance that could even be viewed as subpar. That's why it's so important that Baylor leave no doubt-- no ground un-scorched-- who the better team is every time it plays. We won't get the benefit of the doubt until we've earned it.
Forgive me if you've heard this before, but today's game might have been the most impressive complete performance, against a team that gave us everything it had a year ago, that we've ever seen from a Baylor squad. When the game was close early, the offense did its job and the defense responded, creating a duet of dominance that left in its wake a ULM team down 35 after the first 15 minutes. 30 minutes later, they'd be down by 63. We've seen the offense before; it's Art Briles' staple. But the defense ... that's where I have been truly impressed. For a healthy portion of the game, we played two true freshmen -- two guys just months off their high school proms -- at defensive tackle. That they didn't just play, but played extremely well (I think Billings, in particular, must have leased a timeshare in the ULM backfield), a testament to both our talent and our depth. We didn't expect either of those guys to play major roles in our third game of the season, but they did.
Did I mention the defense held ULM to 13 total yards in the second half? 21 in the third quarter, -8 in the fourth. Part of the reason our offense looks so good, so far, is that our defense has given them the ball back quickly with the opposing team unready to handle them. I truly believe that.
I've been called it enough times to know that I'm a homer. I can't help it. I can't help thinking that this team can actually be the favorite we're starting to be called in the Big 12. This offense, with speed and power everywhere, can score on anyone. The defense, which looks as good as any Baylor fans have seen in a long time, should be able to, at worst, do its job. The refrain has always been that with our offense and playmakers, we needed a defense that could just be bad instead of awful. Now it looks like they could be much more than that. In a Big 12 that isn't so much "down" as "bereft of an obvious choice", why can't Baylor win? How many times are people going to ask that question before the answer becomes simply: They can?
STARS OF THE GAME:
- Bryce Petty: 18/27 for 351 yards and 4 TDs. Baylor challenged him and he responded. Art Briles is a QB wizard.
- Lache Seastrunk: 10 carries for 156 yards, 1 TD. I was a fool to question whether he'd get 100 yards. Of course he would.
- Antwan Goodley: 5 catches for 156 yards, 2 TDs. I ... don't know if I've ever seen a WR like Goodley before.
- Terrell Burt: 7 tackles, 1 63-yard TAINT (TD after INT).