The Baylor Bears captured their fifth win of the 2015 season this past weekend, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 66-7 on Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.
For Baylor, the win is also their second in Big 12 play. However, head coach Art Briles said the Bears did not flex their muscles as impressively as they could have in the blowout win.
“I really feel like last week was better for us, as far as having a complete win,” Briles said. “Our special teams gave up a big kickoff return, fumbled a punt and they missed a field goal.”
Special teams struggles aside, Baylor’s offense was firing on all cylinders in Lawrence, Kan. To put Baylor’s offensive prowess into perspective, the Bears’ 321 points in their first five games is the highest number since official classification began in 1937.
Baylor also forced three turnovers on the day, recovering two fumbles and an interception. Getting the ball back in the hands of the nation’s top offense is something that spells success for Baylor.
“We were able to separate,” Briles said. “We had two turnovers plus a defensive touchdown. We are a good football team. Don’t let us jump ahead too much.”
Baylor also kept its penalties under control. Penalties had been troublesome for the Bears in 2015, but they were only flagged for times for 33 yards this weekend.
The 6-foot-7, 410-pound senior tight end LaQuan McGowan caught an 18-yard play-action pass for a touchdown in the second quarter. McGowan showcased his athleticism, side-stepping a Jayhawk safety on his way to the end zone.
“I told myself if he stays high, I’d run him over, but if he went low, I would either hurdle him or side-step him,” McGowan said. “I’m not very good at hurdling, so I thought side-stepping him would be good.”
Corey Coleman continued his hot play, catching another two touchdowns. Coleman has now caught 13 touchdowns on the season, one shy of Kendall Wright’s school record.
“I saw what the defense was doing and took advantage of it,” Coleman said.
The play of Coleman and Russell, as well as junior running back Shock Linwood, senior receiver Jay Lee and one of the best offensive lines in the country, Baylor has vaulted to the No. 2 ranking in the nation.
While the Bears started on the slow side to begin the season, Baylor’s talent is exploding at the right time, Russell said.
“We are starting to come together. Each week we don’t take anything for granted,” Russell said.
With the blowout win against Kansas, starters were again held out in the second half, something that has been a trend recently. Those fresh legs will come in handy, Briles said.
“We have to keep grinding and fighting. I feel like we have one of the freshest teams in America at this stage in the season. I think that is a positive for our program,” Briles said.
The grind will continue this weekend, as Baylor hosts West Virginia at 11 a.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium.