WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was under pressure early and the big-play offense was sputtering.
The Bears’ top two running backs got banged up and left the game, a top receiver dislocated his right wrist without having a catch and they finished well short of their usual eye-popping offensive numbers.
And the fifth-ranked Bears still passed their first big test with ease, staying undefeated with a 41-12 victory over No. 12 Oklahoma, their first Top 25 opponent this season.
“We didn’t really feel like us the first quarter and a half of the game, but that has a lot to do with who you’re playing,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “We were playing a team with good tradition, and tradition doesn’t die easily.”
That could be said of those who still view Baylor (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) as the team that used to routinely finish at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. The Bears have won a school-record 12 in a row since a loss at Oklahoma last November, and are 8-0 for the first time.
“We’ve played eight football games and when the season started, we were not ranked,” Briles said. “Everything we’ve done, we’ve earned up to this point.”
The Bears’ largely overshadowed defense limited Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2) to a season-low 237 total yards. The Sooners were held in check until Baylor finally got a little traction, scoring two touchdowns in the final minute of the first half.
“I hope that it’ll change the outlook on our defense, and it’ll change the outlook on our whole team,” safety Ahmad Dixon said. “Even though our defense did step up, this was a team win and our offense, even though they started out slow, they did a great job picking it up.”
Not long after the Bears won, second-ranked Oregon suffered its first loss of the season, 26-20 at No. 6 Stanford. The only undefeated teams ahead of Baylor are top-ranked Alabama, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State.
Even though Baylor came in leading the nation in scoring (64 points per game) and total offense (718 yards per game) — and was outscoring opponents by an average margin of 48 points — there were still questions about how good the Bears were.
They responded with an impressive victory against a team that used to routinely overwhelm them.
“Defensively, they were all over us,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “They’re a good football team.”
Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2) has a 21-2 lead in the series. The losses have come in its last two trips to Waco for prime-time games.
The Bears are 5-0 at home against Top 25 teams since the start of the 2011 season. That includes a 45-38 win over the Sooners two years ago in a game that likely clinched the Heisman Trophy for Robert Griffin III, and 52-24 victory last November over Kansas State, which arrived in Waco as the No. 1 team in the BCS standings.
Petty was 13-of-26 passing for a season-low 204 yards, but threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Third-string running back Shock Linwood ran 23 times for 182 yards and Baylor had 459 total yards.
Running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin got banged up in the game. Top receiver Tevin Reese didn’t have a catch before getting hurt, and Briles said afterward he hopes Reese could be back for a bowl game.
Baylor trailed 5-3 early in the second quarter after a strange sequence during which the Bears were penalized 38 yards on one play, and had a player’s ejection overturned before he made a touchdown-saving play.
They led 24-5 at halftime after Petty scored on a 1-yard run with a minute left, Eddie Lackey had an interception at the Baylor 38 and Antwan Goodley then made a spectacular catch — both arms fully extended and holding on for a 24-yard score. It was his Big 12-leading ninth TD catch, and he added No. 10 on a 25-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Baylor got penalized 38 yards on one play late in the first quarter, including a targeting penalty and two flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, setting up Oklahoma at the 7.
The Sooners failed to score when quarterback Blake Bell was tackled for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 1 by cornerback K.J. Morton, who had been called for targeting only a few plays earlier on a vicious hit on a receiver. Officials reviewed the play and overturned Morton’s automatic ejection. But the penalty stood, and there was extra yardage tacked on for the calls against cornerback Ahmad Dixon for unnecessary roughness and then taking his helmet off while on the field.
Two plays after Bell was tackled at the 2, Petty was sacked in the end zone by Dominique Alexander for a safety. Jalen Saunders then returned the free kick 55 yards to the Baylor 12, though the Sooners had to settle for Michael Hunnicutt’s 22-yard field goal.
“It was an ugly game,” Petty said. “To come from the start of the game and then end it how we did is big.”
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