The No. 5 Baylor Bears captured their first conference game of the season, defeating the Texas Tech Red Raiders 63-35 Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Bears worked the Red Raiders up and down the field, controlling the game from the opening kick until the final whistle.
“We were ready, we were intense, and we were determined.” – Head coach Art Briles
With the win against Texas Tech, the Bears opened their Big 12 campaign 1-0. Texas Tech falls to 0-2 after losing against No. 3 TCU last week and No. 5 Baylor on Saturday.
“I just think it showed that we were ready, we were intense, and we were determined. We are trying to prove that we belong,” said head coach Art Briles.
Offensively, the Bears feasted upon a weak Tech defense, gaining 600 yards of total offense on the day. Baylor brought the nation’s top rushing attack to AT&T Stadium and did not disappoint, amassing 350 yards on the ground.
Junior running back Shock Linwood carried the main load for the Bears all game, toting the rock 20 times for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Linwood took advantage of an offensive line that was absolutely dominant against Texas Tech’s defense.
“I just give the credit to the O-line. Whenever I hit the scene, I just got to hit the burners and go forward,” Linwood said.
Linwood’s 214 yards rushing are the fourth most for a single game in Baylor history, while also placing him third in school history for career rushing yards with 2,717.
Junior quarterback Seth Russell also got in on the action for the Bears, rushing 12 times for 81 yards himself. Russell ran for a couple of touchdowns as well, accounting for 6 total touchdowns on the day.
“When the ball is thrown my way and every time I get the ball I think, ‘Go score a touchdown and help my team win.'” – Junior wide receiver Corey Coleman
On the perimeter, junior receiver Corey Coleman caught 7 passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Coleman has now scored in five straight games for the Bears, gaining credibility as one of the best receivers in the nation.
“When the ball is thrown my way and every time I get the ball I think, ‘Go score a touchdown and help my team win,’” said Coleman.
And score he has, indeed. With his three touchdowns receptions on Saturday, Coleman has registered 11 total on the season. With at least 8 games remaining in the year, Coleman could shatter the school record of 14 touchdown catches in a season (previously set by Kendall Wright). Jay Lee also pitched in a strong performance, catching 3 passes for 120 yards.
Russell also had a good performance through the air, completing 15 of 23 passes for 286 yards, 4 touchdowns and one interception. Russell has performed well in his first season as the Baylor starter, throwing for 19 touchdowns and 1,281 yards.
The Bears were much improved in the second half on the defensive side of the ball. This followed a trend the Bears have seen all season.
“It was our job to just get [Patrick Mahomes] uncomfortable.” – Sophomore linebacker Taylor Young
After giving up 14 points and 175 yards in the first quarter, Baylor settled down and took control of the Red Raiders. Up front, the Bears were able to pressure and disrupt the rhythm of Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“That was just part of the game plan. We had to come in here and put pressure on Mahomes. It was our job to just get him uncomfortable,” sophomore linebacker Taylor Young said.
While the Bears gave up 636 yards to Texas Tech, the defense showed tenacity and improvement as the game winded down.
“You can’t let them have any energy, any thoughts, of coming back. We just have to work on getting in that kill mode.” – Sophomore nickelback Travon Blanchard
The Bears forced four turnovers, picking off Mahomes twice and recovering two fumbles as well.
“The coaches always preach that takeaways will always kill momentum,” sophomore nickelback Travon Blanchard said. “They preach to us to get the ball back into the offense’s hands and we did that today.”
The Bears also showed their ability to finish off opponents in second half as well, something that they had trouble with last season. After letting up 21 first half points on miscommunicated deep balls, Baylor settled down and stomped out a possible Tech comeback.
“You’ve got to go for the kill. You can’t let them have any energy, any thoughts, of coming back. We just have to work on getting in that kill mode,” Blanchard said.
The Bears look to next week for a road game against the 0-4 Kansas Jayhawks. Baylor travel to Lawrence, Kan. where they have not lost since 2007. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 10 (next Saturday), with coverage provided by Fox Sports 1.