Baylor showcased its dominance in a 66-7 win over Kansas Saturday. The Bears had a total of 644 yards on offense and limited the Jayhawks to just 227 yards on offense (158 passing; 69 rushing).
The Bears’ offense came into the game ranked No. 1 in the country in total yards and points per game. Baylor displayed its offensive efficiency from start to finish on Saturday.
“[Coleman] just happened to be the hot guy early today.” – Junior quarterback Seth Russell
Junior wide receiver Corey Coleman added an early spark to the electrifying offense from Waco, by catching two 11-yard touchdowns on Baylor’s first two possessions. Coleman has 13 touchdowns on the season – one shy of the Bears’ record for a single season.
“[Coleman] just happened to be the hot guy early today, so [we got him the ball], but he’s always going to be in the gameplan,” junior quarterback Seth Russell said.
Baylor continued to pick up yards in bunches as they were able to score on every possession in the first half.
The running game remained effective behind Baylor’s overpowering offensive line. Junior running back Shock Linwood ran for 135 yards on 13 attempts and one touchdown. Linwood moved to second place on Baylor’s all-time rushing yards list with 2,852 yards in his career.
The most impressive display in the ground game was on the opening drive of the second quarter. Baylor ran four run plays to Linwood, which resulted in 42 yards and a touchdown. The drive put the Bears up by three possessions, 31-7.
Baylor’s next score demoralized the Jayhawks and sent shockwaves throughout social media, when 410-pound senior LaQuan McGowan, a tight end, caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Russell.
“I was getting real anxious [to catch the ball]. I knew it was coming,” – Senior tight end LaQuan McGowan
“I was getting real anxious [to catch the ball]. I knew it was coming,” McGowan said.
McGowan came out of the backfield and was left wide open, with no one but the safety to beat. The mammoth tight end hauled in the pass and ran through a Kansas defender on his way to score.
“I told myself, ‘if [the safety] stays up high, I’d run him over, but if he went low, I’d hurdle him,” McGowan said.
McGowan’s touchdown reception was his first since the iconic 18-yard grab in the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State in January. The Amarillo native now has two catches in his career, with both of them going for scores.
The explosive effort on offense allowed the Bears to coast the rest of the way. Freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham received some adequate playing time in the second half as Baylor rested its starters.
Stidham recorded 117 yards passing and two touchdowns in a half of play. The touchdowns marked the first for Stidham in Big 12 conference play.
The Baylor defense also came up big after a slow started where they allowed Kansas to score on its opening drive (nine plays for 74 yards).
After looking disorganized early, the Bears’ defense buckled down to hold Kansas to 60 yards of total offense over the course of their next eight possessions in the first half. Baylor got important contributions from several members of the defense and forced three turnovers in the game.
One of the most impressive plays from the defense came on a sack from senior defensive tackle Beau Blackshear. The sack caused the quarterback to fumble the football and junior cornerback Xavien Howard took full advantage by scooping it up and taking it 30 yards for the Bears’ final score of the second quarter.
“Turnovers are a big deal. We have the best offense in the nation, so when you can get the ball in their hands, [it’s big],” – Sophomore nickelback Travon Blanchard
Sophomore nickelback Travon Blanchard turned in another good performance on Saturday. Blanchard was responsible for forcing another fumble (as he did last week against Texas Tech) Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett stressed the importance of turnovers to his defense throughout the week.
“Turnovers are a big deal. We have the best offense in the nation, so when you can get the ball in their hands, [it’s big],” Blanchard said.
All-American defensive end Shawn Oakman, a senior, recorded a sack early in the third quarter to take sole possession of the lead on Baylor’s all-time sacks list in a career.
Baylor played a clean game throughout and looked concentrated from the opening kickoff. The Bears committed four penalties for 33 yards – the fewest penalties in a game since 2013.
“When [our guys] are sharp and focused, we have a good chance to win every week,” Briles said.