Big 12 Notes: Baylor defense faces tougher test Saturday

Posted Monday, Sep. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Big 12 Players of the Week OFFENSE QB Blake Bell, Oklahoma: In his first career-start, the junior completed 27 of 37 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns in the Sooners’ 51-20 win over Tulsa. It was the most passing yards by a OU quarterback in his first start. DEFENSE CB Kip Daily, Kansas State: The senior intercepted two passes, including one returned 38 yards for a touchdown. He had three tackles in the Wildcats’ 37-7 win over Massachusetts. SPECIAL TEAMS WR/PR Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State: He returned a punt 67 yards for a score and set up another score with a 41-yard punt return in the the Cowboys’ 59-3 win over Lamar. He finished with 114 punt return yards, the eighth-highest single-game total in OSU history. Quotable “I just think it was a good measuring stick to see where we’re at at that point in the season. We knew TCU has a really good team and we wanted to see where we stacked up in a step up in competition. Obviously, we didn’t play very good and still found a way to win. Those ugly wins are the ones you’ve got to get.” — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury

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A year ago, Baylor escaped Louisiana-Monroe with a 47-42 win in front of the largest crowd in Malone Stadium history.

The Bears’ defense allowed ULM quarterback Kolton Browning more than 300 yards of offense as the Warhawks racked up 560 yards. The porous defense foreshadowed Baylor’s struggles early in Big 12 play. The Bears started 0-4 in the league, allowing opponents 52.5 points a game in the process.

But under defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, the 20th-ranked Bears regrouped and finished the season 5-1 while holding teams to 30.8 points a game.

Through two games in 2013, the defense has been stronger, but faces a tougher test in Browning and the Warhawks at 3 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.

“He’s a playmaker. That’s what he is,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us defensively. At the same time it’s a great opportunity because we’re going to see really good football players on down the stretch. He’s going to help us getting ready to make our run.”

The Baylor offense under first-year starting quarterback Bryce Petty hasn’t missed a beat. The Bears lead the nation in total offense, averaging 736.5 yards per game against Wofford and Buffalo with a combined score of 139-16.

But it’s still too early, Briles said, to accurately assess his team.

“We’ve shown spurts offensively, defensively, and on special teams, but the whole key over the season is consistency and that’s what we’ll be able to gauge over the next few weeks,” he said.

‘Less is more’ moment

DeAndre Washington had just dropped the football a half yard short of the end zone, blowing Texas Tech’s go-ahead score against TCU.

Red Raiders’ coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t get upset, though. He fostered calm when some might panic.

“It could have been one of those moments where the team could go either way if you don’t handle it correctly,” Kingsbury said. “I just wanted them to know it’s not a big deal. Let’s just go score like we always do.”

That’s what Tech did a few plays later to beat TCU 20-10.

“Less is more at that point,” Kingsbury said. “You know it’s going to be replayed everywhere in the country. If you jump the kid, to me that doesn’t do much good. Just let them know, ‘You dropped it early. The next time you touch it let’s make up for it.’ That’s basically all we had to say.”

OSU probe

Oklahoma State appointed a former NCAA official to investigate alleged misconduct in the Cowboys football program.

School president Burns Hargis and the Board of Regents said that Charles E. Smrt will lead an independent review of alleged violations reported by Sports Illustrated.

Briefly

• Texas receiver/running back Daje Johnson (ankle) won’t play against Kansas State. Quarterback David Ash (head injury), receiver Mike Davis (ankle), and offensive linemen Mason Walters (knee) and Josh Cochran (shoulder) are questionable for Saturday’s game.

• Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said he’s hopeful offensive lineman Jamison Lolk is able to play against Tulsa on Sept. 26.

Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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