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Seth Russell, Baylor Blow Out SMU in Second Half 56-21

After an early scare from a clearly improved SMU team under Chad Morris, the Bears pulled away in the second half en route to a 56-21 win.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor went into halftime up just a single score at 28-21.  Thirty minutes of game time later, the Bears had a 56-21 win built on a dominant second half.  A big part of that was Seth Russell, who finished the game with 376 yards passing, 59 yards rushing, and a combined 6 touchdowns. Another big part was a defense that responded to an abysmal first half by allowing just 114 yards thereafter.

At one point, in the context of comparing Baylor's game tonight with TCU's last night, Mack Brown on the telecast mentioned that the two games gave the respective coaches about everything they could have wanted.  Both get to enjoy opening wins in seasons full of expectations.  But both also get plenty to talk about in meetings and practice, particularly since neither team looked as bulletproof as they probably thought they were.  That's the optimistic take, I think, on a game that didn't go well at all for Baylor in that second quarter.

The pessimistic take focuses on the fact that we don't really know how good this SMU team actually is at this point, and the reason those high expectations for Baylor going in existed is that we have a lot more talent than they do by almost any measure.  But despite that, the Ponies put quite a scare in Baylor in that first half, when the game probably should have been tied except for Matt Davis forgetting what timeouts mean.

I've yet to find anywhere with a box score I can easily steal and paste in these post-game threads, so we'll have to do without.  As I mentioned on Twitter, despite having just 1 total yard in the second quarter, Baylor still managed to put up 723 on the night, with 423 coming through the air and 300 on the ground.  The statistical leaders for the Bears:

QB Seth Russell: 15/30 for 376 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
WR Corey Coleman: 5 catches for 178 yards, 1 TD
RB Shock Linwood: 8 carries for 75 yards
RB Devin Chafin: 12 carries for 71 yards, 1 TD

You can check out the full box score here.

5 Quick Thoughts:

  1. Despite a few plays that could have easily gotten away from him, Seth Russell passed his first test this season with flying colors.  His athleticism is something we haven't seen since RGIII left, and he could be really special this season.  That his incredible TD run got called back proved a blessing in disguise since Stidham came in right after that, but WOW.
  2. Speaking of Stidham-- I'd love to know how many true freshman QBs come in and throw 40+ yard TDs on the first pass of their careers. It's probably all downhill for Jarrett Stidham after that.
  3. Andrew Billings had a monster second half in the middle for Baylor.  SMU couldn't handle him once they started to get tired.
  4. Corey Coleman is a beast.  One of my favorite tweets (you'll see it later) was about him.
  5. I see you, Jay Lee. 3 TDs on the night for the fan favorite senior.