No. 20 Baylor scores fast – and scores a lot
Baylor is in a hurry and it’s paying off on the scoreboard.
Baylor’s starters have played less than 25 minutes combined in two lopsided victories, but the 20th-ranked Bears have already scored 101 points and piled up more than 1,000 total yards. That’s four points a minute.
”Kind of like a fast, full-court basketball press,” coach Art Briles said.
Two years after Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy and then a record-setting season by Nick Florence, the Bears are putting up even more head-spinning numbers. They are the nation’s highest-scoring team (69.5 points per game) and most productive offense (737 total yards per game).
In the Bears’ last game, the No. 1 offense scored touchdowns on eight of nine drives and the only non-scoring possession came when they had the ball as the first half ended. The starters played only one series after halftime, leaving with 576 yards and a 50-point lead in only 11 minutes on the field. Baylor won 70-13 over Buffalo with a school-record 781 total yards.
”That’s what we expect,” said Bryce Petty, the junior quarterback who waited his turn behind RG3 and Florence. ”That’s why for us to say Big 12 champs, it’s not just to break it out (of a huddle) and think it’s a longshot. It’s reality now.”
The 14 TD drives with Petty and the starters have averaged 1 minute, 19 seconds each, with only one taking more than 2 minutes (2:07). Their longest drive was 80 yards in 13 plays over 4 minutes for a field goal in the season-opening 69-3 win over Wofford.
Baylor (2-0), the first FBS team since Oklahoma in 2008 to score at least 28 first-quarter points in consecutive games, plays its final non-conference game Saturday at home against Louisiana-Monroe (2-1). That is a rematch of a game the Bears won 47-42 last year when the two teams combined for 1,109 total yards.
The Bears’ six-game winning streak is the longest in the Big 12. They have had more than 600 yards in four of the last five games.
During Griffin’s Heisman Trophy season in 2011, the Bears finished second nationally with 587 yards per game. While Florence broke several of Griffin’s single-season records last year, Baylor was second again with 572 yards per game.
”We have evolved from Robert to Nick and now Nick to Bryce and each one of those guys bring different things to the table,” Briles said. ”With Robert, you certainly had the X-factor involved every snap and Nick was just an unbelievably accurate passer. … Bryce’s identity is being written as we’re talking.”
Petty leads the NCAA with 20.3 yards per completion and has thrown for more than 300 yards in both his starts. Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley are the only Big 12 receivers averaging more than 100 yards a game.
But the Bears don’t just throw the ball. They’re the only team that is top 10 nationally in both passing (431 yards per game) and rushing (305 ypg).
Lache Seastrunk, the former Oregon transfer, had 17 carries for 150 yards and three TDs while playing only the first half against Buffalo. His six consecutive 100-yard rushing games are a school record.
Petty said all the big numbers are a team effort, ”everything from the O-line to Lache setting us up off the run and letting us air it out.”
Baylor has gained 65 yards more and scored a touchdown more than Oregon each game. In the Big 12, Baylor has nearly 25 points and 237 yards more per game than the next-closest teams.
”Our guys are aware where they need to be and why they need to be there, so I think our situational football is decent right now,” Briles said. ”From that standpoint, there’s a purpose behind what’s going on and the guys are aware of it. I would just say football awareness is the thing I like right now.”
And they go about it quickly.