Linemen create yards for explosive offense without grabbing spotlight

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

Amid an unstable conference and a doubting nation, the Bears chose the opportune time to show the nation who they are, not who they were.

Junior quarterback Robert Griffin III got the accolades for the night..

Griffin also broke many Baylor records including his fifth career 300-yard passing game and five touchdown passes.

Senior running back Terrance Ganaway rushed for a career-high 120 yards.

Both Ganaway and senior Kendall Wright had record-breaking performances as well, with 11+ games of 100 yards receiving (189) for Wright and 120 rushing yards for Ganaway.

However, none of this offensive firepower would have happened without the five men on the line.

That strong front line only allowed one sack on the evening, giving Griffin III plenty of time in the pocket, and busting open holes for Ganaway to run through.

“I do my job,” senior right guard Robert T. Griffin said. “I stay dirty, I block for [Griffin III] every day. He stays pretty. It’s my job. I’m going to do what I have to do to protect me and keep him off the grass.”

Alongside Griffin for the offensive line were junior right tackle Ivory Wade, senior center Philip Blake, junior left guard Cameron Kaufhold and sophomore left tackle Cyril Richardson.

“It all starts with them,” Griffin said. “I don’t get the ball unless Philip Blake snaps me the ball. If he doesn’t feel like snapping me the ball, we’re just not going play offense. If those guys aren’t up there, taking care of business, then we don’t succeed, and they did a good job of that against TCU.”

TCU’s offense was under speculation being led by sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall; the defense, however, had some hype behind it.

Last year in their 45-10 blowout, the Horned Frogs held Baylor’s offense to only 263 yards.

This year, Baylor’s offense couldn’t be contained as it recorded 564 yards.

As the game went on, the battle between Baylor’s offensive line and TCU’s defensive line emerged as the game-changing factor.

“They were fast and athletic, and they knew what they were taught,” Richardson said. “We did what we did better. We outsmarted them. [Coach Randy Clements] was just telling us to keep focused on the small things and keep up with our technique. We were being aggressive and hitting first.”

And that they did.

“I left everything out on that field,” Griffin said. “I think everybody on our roster did that, from playing in the game, from sitting on the sidelines and from coaching.”

Anchoring the unwavering line is senior Philip Blake, who is stepping up as leader for the Bears.

“I thought we did a good job,” Blake said. “We’ve been training since day one since the last game of the season against Illinois. We had a little scheme against TCU, which we accomplished, was to just run the ball. Ground and pound.”

The line created huge gaps for Ganaway to break through, into TCU’s secondary, their Achilles heel, where Baylor gained 414 yards.

“I think our front five line, we totally dominated them,” Griffin said. “Last year, our coach said we got dominated, and it was round one last year. We came back with a fight and came back for round two, and I believe we beat them. We got our running backs in the secondary and we got to break tackles.”

Despite the lack of attention the line gets, the unit has received high praise from their coach since day one.

“[They] played hard,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “Played physical; played tough; played aggressive; played with passion. That’s what we ask. When they click up front, we’re going to click as an offense. They’re everything They make everything happen.”