BY MICHAEL LEESE
THE BAYLOR BEARS ARE FOR REAL – The Baylor Bears moved to 4-0 Saturday, jumping two spots in the AP Poll to No.15 after defeating West Virginia 73-42. The Bears are primed to make a run at the Big 12 Conference title this year, thanks in part to one of the most prolific offenses in NCAA history. Baylor boasts the No.1 offense in the country averaging an unheard of 70.5 PPG! The Bears are ranked No. 1 in passing yards, averaging 432 per game and they are ranked second in rushing, averaging 347 yards on the ground. Quarterback Bryce Perry has completed 73-percent of his passes for 1,348 yards with 10 TDs. Lache Sistrunk, an Oregon transfer, has rushed for 580 yards and eight TDs, averaging 11 yards per carry. This past weekend the Bears rushed for 468 yards and eight touchdowns against the Mountaineers. Head coach Dana Holgerson of West Virginia says, “that is the best offensive line I have seen at this level.” The Bear defense has been stout, currently ranked No.14 in the country, allowing only 14.3 PPG. It’s possible Baylor could be 7-0 headed into a prime-time Thursday night match-up at home versus Oklahoma on November 7.
RANTS AND RAVES
AROUND THE PAC-12……Washington was very impressive, despite falling to Stanford 31-28 on Saturday night. The Huskies actually dominated with a 30-14 edge in first downs, but big plays defeated the Dawgs. The Cardinal returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and got a long touchdown pass to close the first half. Next up for the Huskies? Oregon at home! UCLA moved to 4-0 defeating a tough Utah team 34-27. The Bruins needed six interceptions of to seal the deal.
SLOOPY HANGS ON…..The Buckeyes used a late fumble recovery to seal Northwestern’s fate Saturday night in Evanston. The Wildcats held a 20-13 halftime lead, and led in the fourth, but the Buckeyes scored 20 points in the final stanza for a 40-30 win. The Wildcats are still searching for their first win over a Top-5 team since 1959, while the Buckeyes moved to 6-0, becoming the first bowl eligible team this season.
TERRAPIN DEFENSE HIDES……Many pundits had previously unbeaten Maryland knocking off Florida State. The Seminoles were coming off a lackluster performance against Boston College, but proceeded to pound the Terrapins on offense and defense, winning 63-0. Maryland was held to just 33 yards rushing, and suffered key injuries to quarterback C.J. Brown and leading receiver Stefon Diggs.
TEXAS TECH AIR RAIDERS.…..While Baylor and Oklahoma get most of the publicity in the Big 12, it should be noted that Texas Tech, led by first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, moved to 5-0 for the first time since 2008. The Red Raiders have Iowa State and West Virginia on deck before traveling to Oklahoma on October 26th. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was hurt this past weekend and could miss a start or two.
KEY INJURIES……I was sad to see one of the better quarterbacks in the country go down Friday night, as Chuckie Keaton of Utah State was lost for the year with a knee injury. Keaton, one of the better dual threat quarterbacks in the nation, has been outstanding throwing for 1,388 yards and 18 touchdowns with 241 yards rushing. Georgia also lost tailback Keith Marshall and wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley to knee injuries.
BCS BUSTERS……Fresno state and Northern Illinois both moved to 5-0. The Bulldogs blasted Idaho 61-14, and it’s looking possible that the Bulldogs will run the table. Remaining opponents on the schedule have a combined 15-16 record, and the biggest test is a road game at Wyoming on November 9. Northern Illinois might have the easiest route to an undefeated season. Remaining teams on the Huskies schedule have a combined 12-28 record. They do host a very good Ball State team on November 13. The Huskies have played the tougher schedule up to this point, having defeated Iowa and Purdue on the road.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK…… “I still think our identity hasn’t been written,” said Baylor coach Art Briles when asked about his teams start to the season. “I think it’s too early. We’ve played four games since August 31, and it’s October. 5. You’re not going to date somebody three times and ask them to marry you.”