Why stop at being the best in Big 12 history. Baylors offense could become the most productive in major college annals.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Statistically, its headed that way.
The Bears, who travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday with first place on the line, lead the nation in scoring at a ridiculous 61.2 points per game. Theyre coming off a 63-34 victory over Texas Tech, Baylors sixth game this season crossing the point-a-minute barrier.
Baylors 684.8 yards per game also leads the nation. If the numbers hold up, the Bears would shatter NCAA records, and will have done it in a conference that has spent much of its existence lighting up scoreboards.
Think about the offense the Big 12 has produced:
• Texas Tech led the nation in passing offense six times in seven years with five different quarterbacks, staring with current head coach Kliff Kingsbury in 2002.
• Oklahoma averaged 51.1 points per game in 2008, led by quarterback Sam Bradford. He led the nation in passing efficiency for two straight years.
• Heres a partial list of Big 12 offensive playmakers in the past decade who werent quarterbacks: Jamaal Charles (Texas), Darren Sproles (Kansas State), Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), Jordy Nelson (Kansas State), Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), Jeremy Maclin (Missouri) and Tavon Austin (West Virginia).
Along comes Baylor to out-produce all of those attacks.
The NCAA standard for scoring is Armys 1944 national championship team. The Cadets of Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard finished 9-0 and averaged 56 points per game.
Next on the list is Houstons 1989 team, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Andre Ware, which averaged 53.5 points. Those Cougars set the NCAA record for total yards at 624.9 yards per game.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who has created some of the Big 12s most productive offenses and was a record-setting quarterback at Oklahoma State, knows something about prolific attacks. What he sees with Baylor is balance. The Bears, with quarterback Bryce Petty, pass for 384 yards and rush for 300 per game.
Thats balance on steroids.
They really run effectively, and the quarterback throws accurately, Gundy said. (Petty) is as good and accurate as any weve seen in the league in the last four or five years, including the guys in the NFL now. And when they catch it, they dont fall down. They catch it and run into the end zone.
Petty has been outstanding, completing 65.2 percent with 24 touchdowns and one interception. Baylor averages 19.3 yards per completion. The Bears rolled up big numbers last weekend without leading rusher Lache Seastrunk and wide receiver Tevin Reese, out because of injuries. It didnt matter. Reserve running back Shock Linwood rushed for 187 against the Red Raiders.
The Bears, 9-0, lead the league and are in the hunt for the BCS National Championship. Oklahoma State, 9-1, winners of six straight, has lost only at West Virginia and its defense ranks among the leagues best. Maybe Baylors numbers come back to earth some this weekend.
But the Bears could be held to zero points and yards against the Cowboys and remain ahead of league record pace in those departments.
Baylor has been that good.
|Points per game||Yards per game|
|56.0 (Army, 1944)||NCAA record||624.9 (Houston, 1989)|
|51.1 (Oklahoma, 2008)||Big 12 record||587.1 (Baylor, 2011)|
|61.2 (Baylor, 2013)||2013||684.8 (Baylor, 2013)|
Players of the week
Kansas States Jack Cantele, who kicked four field goals, including the game-winner, in the Wildcats 33-31 victory over TCU on Saturday was chosen co-Big 12 special teams player of the week, sharing the award with Oklahoma returner Jalen Saunders.
KU running back James Sims, who ran for a career-high 221 yards and three touchdowns, shared offensive player of the week honors with Petty
Ranking the Big 12
|Team (previous rank)||Saturdays opponent||Comment|
|1. Baylor (1)||at Oklahoma State||Biggest remaining challenge in Stillwater|
|2. Oklahoma State (3)||Baylor||Have won 10 straight at home vs. Bears|
|3. Oklahoma (5)||at Kansas State||Trevor Knight might return as starting QB|
|4. Texas (2)||Open week||Longhorns need Pokes victory to stay in race|
|5. Kansas State (4)||Oklahoma||Clutch victory over TCU|
|6. Texas Tech (6)||Open week||Scheduled turned tough on Raiders|
|7. TCU (8)||Open week||Played best game in month vs. Wildcats|
|8. West Virginia (7)||Open week||Beat Kansas 59-10 last year|
|9. Kansas (10)||at Iowa State||Enjoyed a Big 12 victory Monday|
|10. Iowa State (9)||Kansas||Most loyal fans in the Big 12|
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.