It appeared nearly impossible until a week ago. Baylors offense had run roughshod over opponents through its first nine games, passing and rushing, seemingly at will.Until the ninth-ranked Bears (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) were slowed at Oklahoma State last week and slowed is a relative term because Baylor still finished with 453 total yards it seemed unlikely any team would limit the Bears ultra-uptempo attack and track star receivers.They made plays. They were aggressive, TCU coach Gary Patterson said of OSU. To be honest with you, how you slow [Baylor] down is you keep the ball and score points. If you look at our game last year against Baylor, we were able to move the ball, hold the ball.The Bears couldnt get much of a running game going at Oklahoma State and quarterback Bryce Petty was forced to throw a season-high 48 passes, 17 more than he did in Baylors thumping of Texas Tech two weeks ago. Despite throwing 17 fewer passes against the Red Raiders, Petty threw for only 24 fewer yards than he did in the loss at OSU.[Oklahoma State] pressed the receivers on the outside and they were physical, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett said. And they pretty much hit them in the mouth to slow them down. They came out with a high level of intensity. They got that fumble and that first drive after the quarterbacks fumble at the 2-yard line, which really changed the game. They drove it down 99 yards and got a touchdown so they got the momentum early and kept it the whole game.A year ago, TCU beat Baylor 49-21 in Waco before the Bears found their rhythm and regrouped to win five of their last six games of the season. The Horned Frogs (4-7, 2-6) intercepted the Bears four times and held them to a season-low 106 yards rushing. Meanwhile, the TCU offense rushed for 248 yards and Trevone Boykin completed 22 of 30 passes in one of his best games at quarterback.We just tried to hit them in the mouth, Verrett said. The D-line got great pressure. We had a great scheme for them, pretty much like Oklahoma State did, so hopefully we can do the same thing this week.Baylor is known for spreading its four wideouts to either sideline, creating big gaps in the coverage area and forcing defensive backs into single coverage. Verrett will be covering Antwan Goodley, who leads the league with 1,193 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Tevin Reese has missed the last three games with an injury and wont play Saturday. Baylor coach Art Briles said he hopes running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, who havent played because of injury since Nov. 7, will be available against TCU.Theres a high competition level, especially between the fans, but theres a high respect for the coaching staff and how theyve done it and whats going on at Baylor, said Patterson, who noted Baylors much improved defense this season, which ranks second in the league allowing 350.1 yards per game. You have to be [impressed]. Youre looking very closely [at their success] just like people do. Theres a lot of people after the first year in the league of us leading the league last year in defense, they copy a lot of the things we do on defense.Like TCUs respected defense, Baylors offense isnt tricking opponents. Instead, the Bears use speed, ultra-fast speed, to score quick on long pass plays or big runs.Theyre very fast, no-huddle offense, Verrett said. They just try to do basic things with their talent and theyre very fast. Oklahoma State found a way to slow them down, but other than that theyve been on a roll. Theyre going to spread it around. Thats just their game. Theyve been doing that for years. Thats just the way they run their offense and theyre good at it. Theyre pretty much like track stars really. A lot of speed.The no-huddle aspect of Baylors offense was less effective playing from behind at OSU, once the Bears were forced to throw more passes because of their struggling running game.You better be able to stop the run, Patterson said. Oklahoma State, as a general rule, was able to stop the run, and then it turned into a throwing game. And then you can play the pass. The hardest part about Baylor is the play action. Theyre just very good at it. You make a half-step wrong somewhere and theyre fast enough that its not a 15-yard pass its a 75-yard pass so you have to understand thats going to go down and you need to play things.
Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs