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Baylor Bears Blank SMU Ponies 45-0

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A great defensive performance may eventually be remembered for injuries to offensive stars Bryce Petty and Antwan Goodley. For now, we celebrate!

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Art Briles said at Big 12 Media Days that the defensive line would be one of the best in the country this year. He stood by his claim the rest of the preseason. Tonight, as McLane Stadium was christened and injuries mounted on the other side of the ball, the key factor was the dominance of the defensive line. 60 minutes, 9 sacks and -24 yards rushing later and Baylor has its first shutout against an FBS team since 1995. Not a bad way to open up the Palace on the Brazos ...

Team Stat Comparison

SMU
BAY
1st Downs 7 31
3rd down efficiency
4-18 10-20
4th down efficiency
0-4 2-2
Total Yards 67 574
Passing 91 313
Comp-Att
21-40 27-47
Yards per pass
2.3 6.7
Rushing -24 261
Rushing Attempts
25 50
Yards per rush
-1.0 5.2
Penalties 3-25 12-106
Turnovers 3 2
Fumbles lost
2 1
Interceptions thrown
1 1
Possession 30:02 29:58

via ESPN

Offense

The offense was more of a mixed bag tonight. There were instances of wide receivers getting open deep, but too often they just couldn't hook up with Bryce Petty. How much of that was just bad luck versus Petty's injury is tough to say. If Petty were healthy (more on that in a minute) and had played the whole game, I think he eventually connects on more of those deep bombs and Baylor ends up crossing the 50 point barrier. With a bit of R&R, I think the passing game will be right back to the potent attack that we all know and love. I'm less sure about the rushing attack.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>I&#39;m a bit concerned that our OL isn&#39;t getting better push on their DL.</p>&mdash; OurDailyBears (@OurDailyBears) <a href="https://twitter.com/OurDailyBears/statuses/506264175912706048">September 1, 2014</a></blockquote>

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I mentioned on the podcast earlier this week that SMU is brought back a lot of experience in the front 7 and that the matchup against our OL in the rushing game would be very interesting to watch. While Baylor finished with an impressive 262 yards rushing, it took them 50 carries to do so and they averaged an average-ish 5.2 ypc. While outsiders like Ian Boyd may think we're spoiled for not being impressed with the production on paper, the rushing attack didn't really pass the eye test tonight. Even if SMU ends up having a Big 12 caliber front 7, Baylor's rushing attack should be able to be counted on to wear them down and produce late. With so many backups in by the end of the game, that ability went unobserved tonight.

Injuries

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Petty says it&#39;s only a bruise, nothing more serious. Already feels a lot better and not worried about missing next game.</p>&mdash; Craig Smoak (@CraigSmoak) <a href="https://twitter.com/CraigSmoak/statuses/506282721568489472">September 1, 2014</a></blockquote>

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And now we get to the most concerning part of the evening: health. Bryce Petty sustained some sort of lower back injury in the first half and was visibly wincing through much of the second quarter. The fact that he was kept in the game despite repeated conversations with Coach Art Briles and the training staff is probably a good sign, though one filled with caveats. The fact that the comments being made after the game involve phrases like "back contusion" and "not worried" and "already feels a lot better" are the best signs. No word yet on whether he will get an additional imaging, but if they're confident with the diagnosis of a back contusion (aka bruise) then you're looking at little to no missed time.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Cms186">@Cms186</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PrasFrancis">@PrasFrancis</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Ian_A_Boyd">@Ian_A_Boyd</a> It&#39;s a pulled quad.</p>&mdash; OurDailyBears (@OurDailyBears) <a href="https://twitter.com/OurDailyBears/statuses/506263602266132480">September 1, 2014</a></blockquote>

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The above tweet is in reference to Antwan Goodley, who began is quest for the Biletnikoff trophy with no catches and an early exit. It's hard to get a prognosis for this injury without knowing the severity, so stay tuned on this one.

Defense

What an incredible performance by the defense, specifically the defensive line. I could probably spend hours finding new eye popping stats from this game, but then that would rob you of that joy, so I'll abstain (for now). The most remarkable part of the defensive performance for me was the remarkable pocket collapsing and penetration that the defensive line got...even when they were rushing only 3 DL. That we saw so much of the 3 man front was surprising to me; that we saw so much havoc from said front should be surprising to everybody. That's just not supposed to happen consistently. Incredible.

There were snaps tonight where every single defensive lineman won his gap or battle with the opposing offensive lineman. At a certain point, I convinced myself that the reason SMU went with the somewhat surprising decision to rotate QBs was that neither QB wanted to go out and face that vicious Baylor DL. That SMU resorted to the 3rd string QB late in the game only solidified this crazy thought. Take a bow Shawn Oakman, Andrew Billings, Beau Blackshear, Jamal Palmer, KJ Smith, Javonte Magee, and the rest of the DL. It's been ages since Waco has seen a performance like that. Here's hoping there are many more.

While we didn't see him for the whole game, I also really liked what we saw from CB Xavien Howard tonight. Art Briles had been raving about his ability and now we've all witnessed it. Combing great size with very good speed, we saw a CB tonight who is talented enough to use his athleticism to maintain superior position with WR and make plays on the ball. I'm excited to see if he can continue this level of performance against Big 12 WRs.

Three Stars

1. Shawn Oakman: 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble. He could have texted every NFL scout individually, but this was much more efficient, I think.

2. Baylor Defensive Line: Even if Shawn Oakman hadn't suited up tonight, the rest of the DL was so dominant that SMU still had no chance. Take a bow, boys.

3. Dem Freshman: KD Cannon - 2 catches, 59 yds, 1 TD. Davion Hall - 7 catches, 86 yards. And Redshirt Freshman Johnny Jefferson looked so explosive that it's almost a shame he isn't starting.