(1-5, 0-3) Rank: NR/NR
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 46,825
(6-0, 3-0) Rank: 12/12
Tonight, the Baylor Bears secured victory #6 on the young 2013 season, which now looks even more full of promise than even the most optimistic Baylor fans (except Peter) could have imagined.
- Three years ago, Baylor fans mobbed the field after a lightning delayed game against Kansas State that finally ended our bowl drought. The picture of Robert Griffin holding up a newspaper became an enduring symbol of the Baylor turnaround. Two years ago, we celebrated bowl eligibility after a dramatic comeback in Lawrence with Robert Griffin leading the way, in what would become the best Baylor season in a generation. Last year, after a midseason swoon in which we dropped 5 of 6, we took down #1 Kansas State to earn a bowl berth once again, with the fans streaming onto the field to celebrate. Now, we're 6-0 and nobody really cares because there are bigger goals. Just making a bowl game isn't enough. This team wants a Championship, Big 12 or otherwise.
- In the Post-Game Thread, I put up a poll about where Baylor might be in the debut BCS rankings tomorrow. It will almost certainly be between 5 and 9, with the spot depending on where 3 teams (Stanford, Mizzou, and Clemson) fall in relation to the Bears. I can make a good argument for as high as #5, behind only Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. I would buy an argument as high as #4, ahead of Ohio State. My guess (and vote in the poll) is #6, behind those 5 and either Stanford or Miami. I base that mostly on the fact that Stanford was behind us when this week began. It's not like Baylor could have done any more tonight to show how worthy we are.
- I really wanted that shutout, which would have been our first ever over a Big 12 opponent and the first in Floyd Casey since 1985. The defense, which played so well for 59 minutes in this game, wanted it, too. If we could agree after the game to give back the Corey Coleman return TD in exchange for the shutout, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Everyone here would ISU wouldn't, as was evidenced by the fact that they tried so hard to score in the first place. Nobody wants to get shut out.
- Speaking of the defense-- it's easy for a great defensive effort to get lost when you score 71 points. It's even easier if you're the Baylor defense, and you watch the offense you play in practice every day get plaudits over and over again. But the biggest thing that came out of tonight's game for me was easily the play on that side of the ball, where the Bears responded to giving up over 400 yards to Kansas State last week by holding the Cyclones to just 174, over a third of which came on the last drive of the game.
- The defensive line, led by true freshmen Byron Bonds and Andrew Billings as well as mammoth transfer Shawn Oakman, dominated the point of attack on basically every play, harassing Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach every time they tried to throw and holding the Cyclone rushing game to 41 yards on 33 carries. What a difference a week makes. I was particularly impressed with the alignment on third and long that saw Oakman and Chris McAllister play inside, flanked by Jamal Palmer and Terrance Lloyd at the ends. That's a great wrinkle that will give opposing offenses something else for which they have to prepare.
- Looking at the Box Score from BaylorBears.com, the defense racked up 10 TFL, 5 sacks, 8 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 INTs. Eddie Lackey led the team with 8 tackles. Oakman was second with 5 tackles, 2 of which were for loss, and a sack.
- What more can you say about the offense? Though it misfired a bit in the first half, leading to field goals that should have otherwise been touchdowns, Baylor's incredible O managed to keep pace with itself with another 714 yards on 92 plays (by my count). I'm sure this week's Numerical will be positively filled with crazy stats from Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk, Antwan Goodley, and everyone else. I was a bit critical of the playcalling inside the 5 and for good reason; simply running Glasco Martin up the gut isn't going to do it every week, and we're not fooling anyone in that regard. But Briles knows that, I'm sure, and I won't belabor the point.
- I was very happy, however, to see the rushing offense get back on track after last week. Lache and Glasco combined for nearly 200 yards before giving way to Rashodrick Linwood and Devin Chafin, and the team as a whole had almost 300 yards rushing. That's what Baylor needs to do to be successful, and we did it.
- The special teams tonight were both amazing and awful, though not at the same time. Levi Norwood took back the first punt return for a TD that I can remember, then Corey Coleman got into the act in the closing seconds by taking a kickoff 97 yards to the house. I've never actually seen Coleman return kicks before, but I like it. We should try that more often. Also, the guy you saw flying down the field on ISU's long kick return would be #59 Peni Tagive. There is zero quit in that man.
- For the rest of the Big 12, things went about as expected, right? OSU beat TCU's lifeless offensive corpse to a pulp, Texas Tech won by double digits in Morgantown to improve to 7-0, and OU overcame an early funk to beat Kansas in Lawrence. Nothing awful happened, and besides Baylor, neither did anything great. Texas Tech is sure to rise in the polls, possibly quite a bit, as will OU and OSU. I wouldn't be surprised to see UT sneak into the back end of the Top 25, either. That would give the Big 12 five teams in the poll, pretty much as it should be.
- I've read elsewhere that over 500 students were turned away at the door for a maximum capacity game. If that's true, it's the first time that's ever happened. Baylor fans showed up in force tonight, creating an incredible atmosphere to watch an incredible team. I only wish I'd been there to share in the experience!
- Peter would be pissed at me if I didn't include a plug for the Podcast voice line. If you have something to say about today's game, being a Baylor fan in general, or anything else, really, leave us a message at 774-25-SICEM (257-4236). Thanks!