20/19 BAYLOR (2-0) vs. NR/NR ULM (2-1)
Sept. 21, 2013 | 3:00 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000)
TV: FOX Sports 1
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Here we go, Baylor Bears. We're two days out from this Saturday's game against ULM, so it's time to put our predictions to the test. Before we do that, though, I have a few last-minute thoughts based on things I've read, as well as links to things you should read, if you haven't already.
ODB Game Hub: Baylor Bears vs. ULM Warhawks 2013
Stats Preview: Baylor vs. ULM Statistical Preview
SBNation Preview: ULM Funk
2012 Preview: The 3-3-5 Defense
First Look: Baylor Bears vs. ULM Warhawks
Player Preview: 7 Warhawks To Know
S11 Preview (BearsTruth.com): No Subscription Required
Obviously, I didn't write that last one or the one by Bill Connelly. You should read both. As for my last few thoughts on the game...
--Kolton Browning vs. Baylor's LBs--
Browning wants to run. He wants to make plays with his feet. If he's healthy, that's what he's going to try to do. So much of their offense is derived from his playmaking abilities, that stopping him is of the utmost importance. There is nothing more important to our defense than containing Browning in the pocket and taking good angles if you can't. Nothing. Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey, as well as NB Sam Holl (basically a LB at this point, anyway) have to be disciplined in coverage, so they don't chase him and he dumps the ball over their head.
-- Baylor Offense vs. Itself --
Last year, we gave ULM two easy turnovers in the first half, or else that game might have been very different, very quickly. We can't do the same again. So far, Bryce Petty has managed to take care of the ball admirably, with no interceptions and only the one fumble. That is one of two turnovers our offense has all season. I am quite confident that ULM's defense will not be able to pose a serious threat to our offense, so Baylor has to keep from killing itself offensively. With what I expect will be a stronger running game (than we had last year against them), we should be able to minimize the possibility of tremendously negative plays.
-- Baylor OL vs. ULM DL/LBs --
Their entire defensive scheme is designed to cause havoc and confusion, resulting in defensive players in the backfield that shouldn't be. Last year, our OL had a relatively difficult time coming off the DL quickly enough to get to the LBs, causing our running game to sputter. We can't let that happen again. Fortunately, the offensive line of Spencer Drango, Cyril Richardson, Stefan Huber, Desmine Hilliard, and Kelvin Palmer has looked, so far, like one of the very best in Baylor history. ULM's DL, undersized as it is with two DEs (Darius Lively and Joey Gautney) who are each only slightly bigger than our QB in weight, shouldn't be a tremendous problem for our guys.
-- Bryce Petty vs. The Expectations of Being a Baylor QB --
It really sounds like Art Briles and Phil Montgomery are going to challenge Bryce Petty this week, one way or another. I believe he's proven himself up to that challenge so far. He'll be just fine again.
Last week, I managed to underestimate the Bears on both sides of the ball with a prediction of Baylor 52, Buffalo 23. It was CFBNews-esque in that I took them to cover but only barely. I'm going to try not to make the same mistake again. This week's game has a spread, at this moment, of Baylor -29. That means Baylor is favored to win by more than 29 points. I will take Baylor on that spread.
OFFENSIVELY, Baylor scores early and often over a ULM defense drawn up to stop the run. ULM's run-oriented approach plays perfectly into Briles' desire to give Petty more chances in the passing game, and he goes over 350 yards with 4 TDs. Lache Seastrunk, with Glasco Martin still somewhat limited, gets 150 yards on ~20 carries after ULM realizes stacking the box against a team that can throw isn't wise.
DEFENSIVELY, ULM has at least 2 long pass plays, probably to Rashon Ceasar and/or Tavarese Maye, that cause Baylor fans to freak out a bit. The defense as a whole keeps ULM under 400 total yards. With our interior DL depth compromised by injury (Trevor Clemons-Valdez is the one I'm thinking of), we see more of the 3-man front than we're accustomed to.
FINAL SCORE, Baylor 59, ULM 17.
Now I'll probably be wrong on everything, but let's hope not.