By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears started the 2013 season off with a dominating 69-3 win over the Wofford Terriers with a high-octane offensive barrage and an intense defensive effort at Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday night.
“It’s a great way to start,” head coach Art Briles said. “We know that we certainly have a long way to go. That’s a team that is a very well respected team. Over the last few years they’ve played a lot of football games and won a lot of football games. But, we should be better and we were better. We were tonight. That’s our job. We were at home and we should win. Our thought process going in was, we are going to play Big 12 football.”
The Baylor offense came out firing on all cylinders against the Wofford Terriers by scoring three straight touchdowns on the first three possessions.
Baylor won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. Senior receiver Darius Jones returned the kick 29 yards out to the Baylor 30-yard line.
From there, the Baylor offense wasted no time by utilizing only six plays before getting into the end zone for the first touchdown of the 2013 season when senior running back Glasco Martin found pay dirt on an eight-yard touchdown run. Baylor scored 1:28 into the quarter.
With Wofford’s unique triple-option offense, the Terriers had a strong initial drive by moving the ball from their own 25-yard line into Baylor territory at the 34 before senior linebacker Eddie Lackey thwarted the Wofford drive with a tackle for a loss on fourth down.
Baylor took over possession and scored in 37 seconds on a four play drive. On first and ten from their own 35, Baylor junior quarterback Bryce Petty fired a bullet to junior inside receiver Clay Fuller for a 41-yard gain inside the seam. Petty then found senior inside receiver Tevin Reese for two more yards before firing an incomplete pass intended for Reese on the next play.
Junior wide receiver Antwan Goodley raced past the Terrier defense and Petty found him wide open behind his man for a 27-yard touchdown toss.
On Wofford’s second drive, the Bears defense was more prepared to face the triple-option attack and forced an immediate three and out capped by a sack from senior nickel back Sam Holl for a five-yard loss.
On Baylor’s third possession, the Bears assembled an eight play, 50-yard scoring drive accentuated by junior running back Lache Seastrunk’s seven-yard touchdown run.
The Bears had the ball for a total of 4:12 in the first quarter and scored three touchdowns with 77 rushing yards and 113 passing yards. Petty was 7-for-8 passing with only one incompletion on the first three drives.
“Going forward, our goal is a Big 12 championship,” Petty said. “But you can’t get that unless you beat the first team. I think that’s how we approached it. I think that’s how our defense approached it. On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday we did a great job of knowing, hey, this is game one and we need to be 1-0 by this time next week. When you have goals and aspirations, it’s important to not look too far ahead. I think the guys did a great job of not doing that.”
Senior defensive end Chris McAllister put an emphatic exclamation point on the first quarter when he tipped a pass to himself and then raced 25 yards for an interception return touchdown to give Baylor a 28-0 lead.
“It was kind of instinct,” McAllister said. “As a pass-rusher you kind of know when you are not going to get there, so you try to get your hands up and give the quarterback something to throw through. I happened to tip it up and was able to run through it this time. It felt good.”
Later on in the second quarter, sophomore defensive end Jamal Palmer sacked Wofford quarterback Michael Weimer and forced a fumble. Palmer recovered his own forced fumble to give the Baylor offense prime field position in Wofford territory at the 48.
Baylor’s offense stalled when Bryce Petty fumbled in the pocket and Wofford recovered the football.
The offense got back on track with the next drive as senior placekicker Aaron Jones connected through the uprights for a 25-yard field goal to give Baylor a 31-0 cushion.
The Bears defense forced another Wofford three-and-out and the offense regained their fire from the first quarter when Seastrunk dashed through the Terrier defense for a 23-yard touchdown run to give Baylor a commanding 38-0 lead going into half time.
In the third quarter, the Baylor dominance continued as the Bears racked up 28 points, but not before Wofford scored their first points of the ball game.
The Terriers opened the third quarter with a methodical approach and engineered a 16-play, 69-yard scoring drive with a plethora of option pitches. The Terriers went from their own 25-yard line to the Baylor 6-yard line before being thwarted by the Bears defense and being forced to attempt a field goal. Kasey Redfern’s kick was good for Wofford to give them three points and cut into the 38-3 Baylor lead.
From here, the high-octane Baylor offense started to exhibit a highlight reel when Petty launched a deep 44-yard pass that senior inside receiver Tevin Reese sprinted like an Olympic champion to gather deep in the end zone for a spectacular scoring pass and catch to give Baylor an insurmountable 45-3 lead.
Baylor kept pouring on the points at Floyd Casey Stadium with a dazzling display of offense. Petty fired three passes to lead the Bears into the red zone where redshirt freshman utility back Shock Linwood darted 19-yards into the end zone to increase the Baylor lead to 52-3.
Baylor head coach Art Briles seemingly called off the dogs for the night when he removed Petty and a number of other first team players like Martin and Seastrunk, but the backup Bears had plans of their own.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Seth Russell, on his first pass of his Baylor career, found fellow redshirt freshman Corey Coleman open in the middle of the defense for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Coleman bounced off of a would-be tackler and flashed the wheels by outrunning the defense on the way to his first touchdown of his Baylor career and to give Baylor a 59-3 lead.
The third quarter scoring bonanza wasn’t finished though when Russell scored on a 13-yard quarterback keeper to extend the lead to 66-3 going into the fourth quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter with mostly reserve players on the field, the Baylor offense moved into field goal range and sophomore place kicker Kyle Peterson converted a 43-yard field goal to give the Bears a final score to seal up a 69-3 stomping over Wofford in front 44,989 fans at Floyd Casey Stadium.
It was a near perfect effort for the Bears, the offense piled up 303 yards rushing and 389 yards passing.
Petty was the point guard of the offense with 290 yards passing on 18-of-23 attempts for two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“I thought Bryce was efficient,” Briles said. “He had a couple of things certainly that we can clean up. But first rattle out of the box, he did what we needed him to do and he made plays and for the most part protected the ball.”
Seastrunk was the Bears’ leading rusher with 11 carries for 112 yards and two touchdows.
Martin, coming off of an ankle fracture in the spring, rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
The Bears leading receiver was Tevin Reese with five grabs for 97 yards and a touchdown.
“I think as a whole, we did good,” Reese said. “Overall, I think it was a really good performance and we have to get back to practice tomorrow and watch film and fix some things.”
Antwan Goodley also sparked the offense with four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The defense also put forth a stellar effort, holding Wofford to only three points and allowing only 173 rushing yards and 60 passing yards.
“We were due for this,” senior safety Ahmad Dixon said. “This is the season we’re due for. Just because it’s Wofford, we think it’s going to be like that every week, week in and week out. I don’t care if it’s against UT, I don’t care if it’s against TCU, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, we’re going to be like that against everybody we play. That’s our mindset and that’s our motive. It’s not going to change for anybody.”
In a convincing home opening win at Floyd Casey Stadium, the 2013 Baylor Bears answered the questions of the offseason with a stellar performances from the entire team.
The Bears next game is against Buffalo at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium.