By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor
Baylor (3-0, 1-0) beat the University of Kansas (1-2, 0-1) 45-7 in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday afternoon for their 12th consecutive win over the Jayhawks. The Bears rushed for 307 yards to give them a total of 971 rushing yards on the season, surpassing their rushing total of 813 yards from last season in just three games.
Junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon finished the game throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 33 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Abram Smith rushed for over 100 yards for his third-straight game, this time running for 122 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver R.J. Sneed led all wide-outs with six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears got going early, scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game with a 14-yard pass from Bohanon to junior tight end Ben Sims in the back of the end zone to give the Bears a 7-0 lead, capping off a 9-play 75-yard drive.
After a holding penalty negated an 86-yard punt return touchdown from senior running back Trestan Ebner, Baylor began their second drive of the game on their own 14-yard line. The Bears began moving the ball down the field until a fumble from Sneed ended the drive abruptly. However, the Bears prevented Kansas from scoring off the turnover after a bad snap from Kansas lost them 23 yards, forcing a three-and-out.
A 50-yard punt return from Ebner gave the Bears great field position on their next drive which Baylor capitalized on, scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard touchdown rush. Freshman tight end Gavin Yates lined up as a fullback to get the score early in the second quarter to make it 14-0.
The rest of the first half would be all Kansas as Baylor struggled to move the ball on offense and struggled to contain Kansas junior quarterback Jason Bean on defense. Kansas scored their first and only points of the game late in the half after Bean connected with sophomore wide receiver Trevor Wilson on a 5-yard touchdown pass making the score 14-7 to end the half.
Baylor asserted its dominance in the second half, outscoring Kansas 31-0 and beating them in total yards 357-66 as four different Bears found their way into the end zone.
“At halftime we made up our minds that we were going to change the game around,” Bohanon said. “The defense said it was going to force a three-and-out, and we were going to capitalize on it and that’s what we did.”
The first to score a touchdown for Baylor in the second half was Sneed who, after catching a short pass from Bohanon, broke a tackle and turned upfield sprinting all the way to the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown to give the Bears a 21-7 lead. The touchdown was the longest touchdown reception of Sneed’s career.
The next Bear to find the end zone was Smith on a 4-yard touchdown run. Followed by a 9-yard touchdown run from Bohanon, making the score 35-7. Sophomore running back Taye McWilliams scored the last touchdown for Baylor on a 20-yard run giving him a touchdown for his second-straight game.
Even with the massive lead, Baylor’s defense never let up. With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, sophomore safety Devin Neal forced a fumble, giving the Bears the ball back leading to a 48-yard field goal from freshman kicker Isaiah Hankins to give the Bears a 45-7 lead. Baylor’s defense has forced a turnover in each of their first three games.
While it took a bit for Baylor to really take control of the game due to mistakes, head coach Dave Aranda said they showed glimpses of the high level they’re capable of playing at.
“Felt like our biggest competition to this point has been ourselves,” Aranda said. “It’s been penalties, it’s been turnovers. The ability to play a clean game where we can focus all our energies on the opponent, I think when we do that we can play at a really, really high level. You were able to see some of that and feel some of that in the second half.”