By Cody Soto
No. 13 Baylor football had a sour taste in its mouth after their loss to West Virginia two weeks ago. The Bears came out roaring and soared to a 60-14 win over Kansas in McLane Stadium during the university’s annual homecoming on Saturday.
“I thought we played well; I liked our attitude, and that was a thing we worked on the last two weeks,” head coach Art Briles said. “We came out and played with a lot of passion, a lot of effort and a lot of energy.”
Baylor (7-1, 4-1) scored in each quarter and limited the Jayhawks (2-6, 0-5) to two touchdown passes and 16 rushing yards in the win. The Bears rallied for 669 total offensive yards behind an almost-equal passing (343) and rushing game (326).
“Limiting the run game really made their offense predictable,” junior Shawn Oakman said. “We played angry from the first snap. We had to get the mentality of not playing relaxed that we had at West Virginia to get things rolling.”
Senior quarterback Bryce Petty was 15-for-27 on pass completions for 277 yards against the Jayhawks and got help from sophomore quarterback Seth Russell in the second half. Russell was 6-for-9 for 66 yards.
The Baylor defense stepped up on Saturday. The team forced five turnovers and used that to score 12 points in the game and tallied three sacks in the win for Baylor.
“We felt like we were dominating upfront defensively,” Briles said. “Those guys all played extremely well and that’s how you win.”
Sophomore running back Devin Chafin plowed his way through Kansas and racked up 112 yards on 14 carries after an ankle injury early in the season. Sophomore running backs Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson added 81 and 52 yards respectively.
Baylor scored 20 points in the opening quarter behind a crowd-thrilling 72-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Corey Coleman and two 1-yard runs from both Chafin and Linwood in the first quarter.
Coleman finished with a career-high 167 receiving yards on only three receptions for the Bears.
“I am excited to be back and redeem myself after the loss [to West Virginia],” Coleman said. “Like Coach Briles said, you have to play fast and expect good things to happen. It’s our job to get the ball and go win.”
Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to put the Jayhawks on the board with less than seven minutes to go in the quarter.
In the second quarter, Baylor struggled to turn short field opportunities into touchdowns but used freshman kicker Chris Callahan to nail four field goals and keep Baylor ahead. Chafin ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 3:28 left in the quarter, and the Bears headed into the locker room with a 39-7 lead at halftime.
The Bears came out fast with two big passing scores by Petty: a 49-yard pass to Coleman and a 10-yard throw to senior receiver Levi Norwood. Cummings had a 1-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter while Baylor still led 53-14.
“Coming out of halftime, it definitely felt like we played a lot better,” Norwood said. “[In the second quarter], I wish those field goals were touchdowns, but we definitely picked up a lot from where we left off last week.”
Russell was the only player to score in the final 15 minutes with a four-yard run after an 83-yard drive on 11 plays. Baylor defense forced a turnover with the ball at the two-yard line to give the ball back to the Bears with 7:43 left in the game. Baylor finished the game with an impressive run game by junior running back Silas Nacita, and freshman quarterback Chris Johnson took a knee to give the Bears the 60-14 win.
As one of the final events for the university’s homecoming festivities, the atmosphere was a beautiful day for college football, Briles said.
“I really appreciate the crowd we had today, and the weather was just unreal,” Briles said. “It was a great setting for our homecoming crowd and for our players. We gave the effort that it really takes to be a dynamic football team.”
The Bears will face No. 19 Oklahoma next Saturday in hopes of continuing their Big 12 championship run. The game will be played in Norman, Okla., but a game time has not been set yet.