Northwestern St.-Baylor Preview

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty woke up Tuesday and started doing sit-ups in his bed.

Petty, who has two small, cracked bones in his back, also plans to be throwing passes for the 10th-ranked Bears on Saturday night against FCS team Northwestern State.

”I didn’t come back to sit again on the sidelines and watch. Every game is important and Northwestern State is important to me,” Petty said Tuesday. ”So I want to be out there. … I’ll be all right. We’ll be good.”

The reigning Big 12 offensive player of the year took a shot to the back on his first series of the season in a 45-0 win over SMU on Sunday night. Petty played only the first half, and was clearly in discomfort while throwing for 161 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for a score.

An MRI on Monday revealed two cracked transverse processes, which are small bones that stick out from each side of a vertebra.

”There’s not a whole lot you can do for it. It’s kind of like a pinkie finger, you’re not going to get surgery on it or anything like that,” Petty said. ”You just kind of brace it up and fight through it.”

Coach Art Briles said the Big 12 champion Bears will ”certainly monitor him and be intelligent” on their approach with Petty this week.

Briles said Petty won’t play if he’s not 100 percent. When asked about that, Petty smiled and said he’d be 100 percent, but acknowledged that the coach would have the final word.

”We understand it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and our goals are to win every football game,” Briles said. ”But at the end of the day, we want to win the Big 12 championship and we want to be in the final four (college football playoff), and we need Bryce Petty to do that.”

Petty said he wouldn’t push himself during practice, taking off some snaps ”here and there.” He will also continue to do rehab while trying to save every bit of energy he can for the game, the first of two in a row that the Bears have on a short week. After going from Sunday to Saturday this week, their third game is the following Friday.

”I’m going to be smart with it, but at the same time, you take a risk every time you get on the field,” he said. ”So it’s going to be no different, whether I’m in a little pain or not. … You can’t do anything worse to it. If it’s OK, if it’s bearable, I can deal with it.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Baylor had a school record-tying nine sacks in the opener and held the Mustangs to 67 yards. The last time the Bears allowed fewer yards was in 1988 when UNLV had 50.

”Every time the defense is out there, we’re expecting to turn the ball over. Let’s get the ball back to our offense. Let’s get a three-and-out,” linebacker Bryce Hager said. ”The defense did a really good job doing that. We’re expecting to win every game. We’re expecting to get the ball back to our offense.”

Northwestern State had 493 yards in its opener last Thursday, but it allowed the final 20 points in a 34-27 defeat to Missouri State.

"It’s a hard lesson for us but by no means a devastating loss," coach Jay Thomas told the Demons’ official website. "It’s a painful one. We have 11 games left and I saw enough tonight to know we can be a very good football team."

Baylor has outscored Northwestern State 166-29 in winning all three meetings.