By Parmida Shahhosseini
Controlling the clock was not a goal for a Baylor offense that outscored opponents by 32 points per game despite opponents winning the time of possession battle by five minutes per game. Baylor’s ground game was vital to finish out games.
Baylor has plenty of depth at the running back position, beginning with the elusive, electrifying, junior running back Lache Seastrunk. Seastrunk led Baylor with 1,060 rushing yards this season. Seastrunk averaged 7.5 yards per carry, averaging 106.0 yards per game, with 11 touchdowns.
Seastrunk’s longest touchdown was an 80-yard scamper against West Virginia on Oct. 5. His ability to find the holes and exploit the defense is what sets him apart from other backs.
Seastrunk isn’t the only running back contributing in the backfield.
The physical ground and pound, downhill senior power back Glasco Martin scored his 24th rushing touchdown oh his Baylor career against Texas, which tied him for second all-time with Walter Abercrombie.
Martin rushed for 490 yards this season, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Martin also added six touchdowns this season. While his numbers may not be flashy like Seastrunk, Martin does all the dirty work.
When Baylor needs a back during short yardage situations, Martin gets the nod.
His physical style of play also forced opponents to defend him differently than they would Seastrunk, adding more pressure on the other team.
Against Texas, with 3:35 remaining in the game, Baylor was up by 20 points, but there was plenty of time left on the clock. Martin ran for back-to-back first downs to take time off the clock for the victory.
“I’m very happy for Glasco finishing out the game,” Seastrunk said. “He’s a senior. He deserved it. We finished out the Case in style.”
While Seastrunk and Martin are the primary backs, Baylor has depth on the bench. When Seastrunk and Martin got injured during the game against Oklahoma on Nov. 7, freshman running backs Shock Linwood and Devin Chafin were forced to step up.
Linwood has given the Bears much needed production, rushing for 862 yards and eight touchdowns.
Against Oklahoma, Linwood rushed 23 times for 182 yards as the defense did not have an answer. Nine days later, Linwood followed his performance rushing for 187 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown.
In addition, he also holds the Baylor freshman rushing record, breaking Robert Griffin III’s record of 843 yards in 2008.
Chafin had his first 100-yard rushing game against Texas Tech and rushed for 304 yards this season averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
“I didn’t expect any of this to happen, but it happened and I prayed to God that I can continue doing what I do and play the game like it’s meant to be played,” Lindwood said.
Senior wide receiver Tevin Reese and junior wide receiver Antwan Goodley have blazing speed and can outrun their opponents, but the running game gives receivers a one-on-one matchup. The ability to run the ball prevents Baylor from being one dimensional, making the offense more potent.
“I love watching those guys play. It’s thunder and lighting. They can’t be stopped,” Goodley said.
As talented as these running backs are, it has been a collaborative effort. The relationship between the running backs and receivers is mutual because while the backs allow for the one-on-one match ups, the speedy receivers stretch the field forcing defenders to pick their poison. This opens up the offense completely, making head coach Art Briles’ offense a quarterback friendly system.
While the backs, receivers and quarterbacks garner the most attention, it’s the blocking scheme on the offensive line where the offense starts.
Games are won in the trenches and if the blockers do their assignments, running backs can break through holes and get big gains as they pass through the line of scrimmage.
When Baylor lost sophomore left tackle Spencer Drango to a back injury, the running game struggled.
While Seastrunk and Martin were injured, the dominance on the line of scrimmage wasn’t the same.
Senior guard Cyril Richardson added a physical presence the team needed, giving the ground game a boost en route to a Big 12 title.
“It was amazing. I never thought that I would be standing up there and doing that,” Richardson said. “When I came here I thought I would just give it my all and do what I can, but to see everything according to what happened tonight, it’s a really good feeling. It’s an overwhelming feeling.”