Big-play Offense Of No. 23 Baylor Hosting Buffalo
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WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor scored 69 points with 692 total yards. The longest of its eight touchdown drives in the season opener took just more than 2 minutes.
And that still might not be as fast, or as far, as the 23th-ranked Bears can go.
“We think we can get better. As always, we can get better,” leading receiver Tevin Reese said. “The coaches said we can play faster and we will play better and we will play faster. If we can improve on that, we will go higher than 700 yards.”
After opening their 64th and final season at Floyd Casey Stadium with the most points they have ever scored there, the Bears (1-0) play the second of four consecutive home games when they host Buffalo (0-1) on Saturday.
While eight FCS teams pulled off upsets last weekend over upper-tier FBS schools, including Big 12 programs Kansas State and Iowa State, the Bears were never in danger against Wofford. They scored 28 first-quarter points in a 69-3 victory.
“They play fast offensively,” Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn said. “Defensively, a veteran group. … I don’t know much about their special teams, their punter, because they don’t punt that much.”
Buffalo, which gained some momentum after falling behind quickly in a 40-20 loss at third-ranked Ohio State, will provide a different level of competition.
“It is a step up and that’s kind of the thing that’s been going through my mind,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “It is a step up just from the caliber of depth and speed factor. Buffalo brings a lot of sleek bodies that can run, guys that have been on a little bit bigger stages week in and week out than maybe our previous opponent.”
Five things to watch when Baylor hosts Buffalo, which lost 34-6 in its last trip to Waco three years ago when Robert Griffin III was the Bears quarterback:
NO-QUIT BULLS: Buffalo was down 23-0 after the first quarter at Ohio State before Joe Licata threw two TD passes and linebacker Kahlil Mack returned an interception 45 yards to make it 30-20. “We took our team in a big-time environment. … The thing I was most proud of was just the way our kids went the distance against a very good football team,” Quinn said. Offensive lineman Jasen Carlson said the final score might not reflect it, but that the Bulls should know by how they responded that, “We’re not that much below everyone else.”
PASSING PETTY: Bryce Petty finally got his turn as Baylor’s starting quarterback after three seasons waiting behind Heisman Trophy winner Griffin and record-setting Nick Florence. Petty, a fourth-year junior with 14 career passes before the opener, completed 19 of 24 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Wofford. “It was good to finally get out there and get that game under my belt. I will just become more and more confident as we go out there,” Petty said. “It was definitely fun to be the guy, to be the starter. I haven’t had that in a while.”
MACK ATTACK: Buffalo senior linebacker Mack was arguably the best player on the field in the Bulls’ opener at Ohio State. He had a game-high nine tackles, 2½ sacks and returned an interception 45 yards for his first career touchdown. The 6-foot-3, 248-pound Mack has 58½ career tackles for a loss, which is 16½ behind Jason Babin’s NCAA record set at Western Michigan from 2000-03. Mack also has 11 career forced fumbles, three off another NCAA career mark.
STREAKING BEARS: Baylor has won five games in a row, the longest active winning streak in the Big 12. The Bears also have won their last nine nonconference games since the 2010 Texas Bowl against Illinois. There are also 28 consecutive games with at least 400 yards of total offense.
BACK-TO-BACK BIGGIES: For the first time in school history, Buffalo is playing ranked opponents in consecutive weeks. The Bulls are 1-10 against Top 25 teams since 1996, and the Bulls’ only victory over a ranked team was 42-24 over No. 12 Ball State in the 2008 Mid-American Conference championship game.
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