In basically 2.5 quarters before shutting things down, the Baylor Bears showed why they're considered a contender for this year's national championship and how they'll win it, if they do: an incredible, unmatched offense. The rest of the way was mostly a mishmashed miasma of running plays designed to run out the clock. As much as I loved the first part, I hated the second, and I don't think I'm alone.*
*Style points matter. We need to understand that. Just winning isn't enough, regardless what Briles says. And beating Tech by 35 or 42, as we should have, is more impressive to the Committee than 28, which is what happened when we stopped trying and they didn't. It's not that I want to score a million points on Tech because I just want to; I don't want uninformed media or Committee people using this against us. Not to mention the fact that every time we decided to just lay on the ball, it gave Texas Tech another opportunity to put up yardage, something people will use against our defense down the line. CFB today is all about the perception of dominance, but we seem to be more concerned about the perception of fairness.
Still, there's not a lot you can complain about when you open your Big 12 schedule with a 28-point win over a team as powerful offensively as Texas Tech and your defense actually looks fairly competent in doing so, particularly in the second half. Once again, Baylor dominated on the ground with more than 350 rushing yards (a number that, in somewhat ridiculous fashion, actually brought down our per-game average) and Seth Russell performed magnificently, adding 4 TDs through the air and 2 on the ground to his nation-leading total. It's crazy to think, but even though Russell had 6 TDs total, I'd probably give the game ball to Shock Linwood, who started the game with a 79-yard TD run, the longest run since Lache Seastrunk wore green and gold, and finished it with a total of 20 carries for 221 yards and 2 TDs. That total was good enough for the fourth-best performance by a running back in Baylor history, and it's good enough to get a game ball from me.
On the other side, I'd probably give the defense a B- on initial review. Sure, Tech put up over 600 yards (about 200 of which came in what I'd call "garbage time"), and had several near-misses that could have made the game more interesting, but I'm generally satisfied, if not happy, with the effort considering Tech's strengths. The Red Raiders had just 130 yards rushing, well below their season average, and never really mounted a serious threat to Baylor from about the middle of the second quarter on. The big problem we had came on passing downs, where we gave up long conversion after long conversion. That's something that needs to get cleaned up, for sure.
Players of the Game:
QB Seth Russell -- 15/23 for 286 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT and 12 carries for 81 yards and 2 TDs
RB Shock Linwood -- 20 carries for 221 yards, 2 TDs
WR Jay Lee -- 3 catches for 120 yards
WR Corey Coleman -- 7 catches for 110 yards and 3 TDs
Defenders to come when we get actual stats for them:
5 Quick Thoughts:
- Baylor clearly wanted to get Seth more involved in the running game, and it worked! Russell had a career-high 81 rushing yards and probably could have had many more. Adding him to the list of threats opposing teams have to account for makes this offense virtually unstoppable, so that's something I'm very glad to see.
- I was disappointed to see that we couldn't get any sacks on Mahomes in this game, but I wasn't altogether surprised. Because of his athleticism and escapability, he's only been sacked once so far this season. Despite not getting any sacks, however, it was clear that Baylor affected him on several downfield throws, and that affect was at least partially responsible for the two interceptions.
- Building off the thought above, people will probably ask where Shawn Oakman was in this game and will be completely right in doing so. It wasn't his best performance.
- I like what Patrick Levels brought in the second half, particularly the play where he correctly read and then jumped the screen pass. That was an outstanding play. As much as you can give credit to any member of the secondary after giving up 530 passing yards, I'd say Xavien Howard also impressed. On his interception, he was actually covering a different receiver down the field before coming back and making the play on the ball.
- Special teams were actually much better than they have been in the past, particularly on punt and kickoff coverage. Drew Galitz has been really good punting the ball so far for a freshman. That's good since we literally don't have any other options.
Bonus Thought: Our best penalty performance of the year! Yay!
Bonus Thought #2: Uniforms looked clean.
|3rd down efficiency||8-18||11-16|
|4th down efficiency||2-5||0-1|
|Yards per pass||8.2||13.0|
|Yards per rush||4.4||7.1|