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Final: Duke 34, Baylor 20

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Again, the offense is a big problem.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Turns out changing the QB didn’t change the results, as Baylor continued to struggle mightily in the running game and failed to sustain drives. You’re not going to win many games when you get your first third down conversion with 3:30 to go in the game no matter how many big plays you get, and today was no exception. Outside of those big plays, the offense managed just 124 yards on 58 plays and turned the ball over 4 times, wasting an encouraging defensive effort led by Clay Johnston and Eric Ogor. Suffice to say that I don’t think our starting QB was the problem, after all, and now the Bears are 0-3 on the season as a result with Oklahoma coming to town next week.

I’ve harped a bit this past week about trusting the process, and I’m going to keep doing so. The defense has clearly improved from the first game and did a really good job today of knocking around Duke QB Daniel Jones. We had at least 5 sacks, several more QB pressures, and even a tipped pass that helped us get the ball back down 24-20. Duke has a fairly good offense, so I’m pretty excited about that effort. Don’t let the final score fool you; there’s plenty of reasons to be encouraged with how far they’ve come.

The problem is that we still have no offensive identity outside of just trying to get the ball to Chris Platt in whatever way we can. Oftentimes, it doesn’t look like we know what we want to do, much less what we can do, and we still look best when we’re doing what they probably don’t want to do, which is to just chuck it deep and let our receivers run underneath it. As we’ve seen in the past, that’s hardly a recipe for consistent offensive success unless you just out-talent everybody you play, and we don’t.

There’s going to be a lot of talk about Anu Solomon vs. Zach Smith in the coming week or weeks, and I don’t know the right answer. Depending on who you like, you could easily make an argument for either side. Some of the good things Zach did, Anu couldn’t do. Some of the bad things Zach did, Anu probably wouldn’t do. I tend to think that our disaster of an offensive line puts a premium on mobility, but reasonable minds differ. Honestly, that same offensive line probably means it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Still, all that being said, and recognizing how much it’s going to suck to (probably) go into our bye week in October 0-5 before we travel to Stillwater to take on that buzzsaw of an offense, I can’t help but think that better days are ahead eventually. I’ll still support these guys, regardless. They haven’t quit on us, so we can’t quit on them.

Wish we’d covered, though.

(Rather than set up an open thread for the rest of the day, we’ll just use this one for now).