By Jeffrey Swindoll
It was a record-setting night for No. 10 Baylor football Saturday night against Northwestern State in a 70-6 blowout by the Bears.
The raucous crowd at McLane Stadium was treated to Baylor’s offensive thrills right from the first kickoff. In their first game listed as starters, sophomore quarterback Seth Russell and true freshman receiver K.D. Cannon highlighted an explosive first half for the Bears.
Russell broke the school-record for most passing yards in a half with 438 yards against Northwestern State. Cannon tied the school record for most touchdown receptions in a game with three touchdowns, all coming in the first half Saturday night.
The connection between Cannon and Russell lifted the crowd with big plays in just about every drive for the Bears in the first half.
“KD just knows how to get open,” Russell said with a smile on his face after the game. “He did a fantastic job at just being KD. He’s the fastest kid in the nation.”
Cannon snatched a perfectly weighted pass from Russell near the sideline and blazed past his man to make it 6-0 for Baylor just a minute into the game. It was a 50 yard play that gave Cannon his first of the night, but it was not even his biggest play of the night.
Russell found sophomore running back Shock Linwood in the next drive on a 29-yard pass, setting up a three-yard touchdown rush on the ensuing set of downs to extend the Bears’ lead.
The next drive for the Bears saw Cannon and Russell connect once again for another touchdown. Russell zipped the ball to Cannon for a 15-yard gain, and completed to Cannon again for an 81-yard touchdown in a matter of moments.
Ill-advised passes and miscues were few and far between for Russell, performing well in his first start for the green and gold with 16-for-25 on pass attempts and five touchdowns on the night. Russell and Cannon easily could have bumped up their stats even higher Saturday night had they not been taken out after the first half.
“We really don’t view our guys as backups,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “We’ve got a bunch of players and you can really only play so many at a certain time. They all bring different things to the table according to what their opportunities are. We certainly feel like the people on the field are very capable to keeping us at the level that we have to be at to have another chance to win a Big 12 championship.”
The backups came out to play for Bears Saturday night. With six offensive starters out of the lineup, a massive 64-point victory demonstrated the depth of Baylor’s offense.
“We have a saying, ‘You’re only as good as your backup,’” junior offensive tackle Spencer Drango said. “We’ve kind of proven today that you can throw in whoever you want, and we’re going to continue to click well. It’s Baylor and it’s not an individual thing.”