This is supposed to be the best defensive unit yet under coach Art Briles. It still might be, we just don’t know yet.
Against middling competition, the Bears have been OK. They show well statistically in some categories such as takeaways and third-down defense, but has struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and to keep teams out of the end zone. No. 6 Baylor’s competition level greatly increases in the next three weeks, starting with OU, then Oklahoma State and TCU.
If the Bears’ defense forces its offense, now led by true freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham, to outscore all three, the chances of finishing November unscathed greatly decrease, and likely keeps Baylor out of the College Football Playoff.
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Baylor defensive back Travon Blanchard had strong words to describe how he sees the defense performing against the Sooners.
"We’ve known for a while that November was going to be the toughest part of our season,” Blanchard told reporters Tuesday. “We want to improve on our mistakes that we’ve been making and make them earn everything they get. We can’t allow them any explosive passes or runs.
"This could be a statement game for our defense. We plan to pitch a shutout. We plan to keep them out of the end zone.”
A shutout would certainly send a message to the rest of the league and the CFP selection committee. Baylor has dominated the last two games against OU, allowing a combined 26 points. But the Sooners bring their new Air Raid offense that utilizes running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.
If they were watching Baylor’s 31-24 win over Kansas State — as well as a handful of other games — they had to be salivating at the space K-State quarterback Joe Hubener found against the Bears defense en route to 258 tean rushing yards.