No. 3 Baylor has highest ranking, another test
The Associated Press | November 18,2013
ARLINGTON, Texas — Baylor keeps passing tests and changing perceptions about if the high-scoring Bears are for real.
A day after overcoming their first double-digit deficit of the season, and turning that into yet another lopsided victory to stay undefeated, the Big 12-leading Bears moved up a spot to third in the new Associated Press poll Sunday.
That matches the highest ranking ever for the program.
The Bears (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) jumped ahead of Ohio State (10-0), which on Saturday matched a school record with its 22nd win in a row, 60-35 over Illinois. Two-time defending national champion Alabama and Florida State, both 10-0, stayed in the top two spots.
After a 6-0 start in 1953, Baylor was third in the AP poll for a two-week stretch before losing three of its last four games.
Coach Art Briles and Baylor extended its school-record winning streak to 13 with a 63-34 victory over Texas Tech, which had jumped ahead 14-0 in the first 8 minutes and scored touchdowns on its first three drives Saturday night at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium.
“The impressive part is we took a couple shots, and then we dodged a bunch, next thing you knew it was a fight and we were actually in it,” Briles said. “As you get deeper on in, you’re going to have more games that could very easily fall that way.”
How right Briles is.
Baylor plays next Saturday night at No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-1, 6-1), the preseason Big 12 favorite that has now won six in a row. The Cowboys are coming off a 38-13 win at Texas (7-3, 6-1), another Big 12 contender the Bears still have to play.
“This is a special team and I knew it from the get-go. We like these games,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “It’s these kinds of games that you want to fight with your brothers and win together.”
While the AP media poll is not factored into the Bowl Championship Series, Baylor is expected to move up in the new BCS standings later Sunday. They were fifth last week, a spot behind Stanford, now a two-loss team after a 20-17 setback at Southern California on Saturday night.
Texas Tech (7-4,4-4) was up 14-0 on two TD catches by standout tight end Jace Amaro. The Red Raiders led 20-7 after an incredible one-handed 5-yard TD catch by Eric Ward.
But Baylor, on pace for major college records with 61.2 points and 684.8 yards per game, had a 21-20 lead by the end of the first quarter and never trailed again.
And the Bears were playing without Big 12 rushing leader Lache Seastrunk, second-string running back Glasco Martin and 103-yard-a-game receiver Tevin Reese. They have accounted for a combined 24 touchdowns.
“I like how calmly you mentioned their names,” Briles said when asked about the missing trio. “To us they’re not guys. I mean, they’re dynamic teammates. ... With them not being there, I think we are growing as a team from an offensive standpoint. The thing that’s helping us is we’re playing really good defense, which allows us to figure out how to use the people that are going to have to try to compensate for those guys not being there.”
After the Red Raiders had 217 yards on 31 plays their first three drives, they had only 237 yards in 57 snaps the rest of the game.
Shock Linwood, effectively Baylor’s third-string running back, ran for 187 yards — after being Big 12 offensive player of the week for his 182 yards against Oklahoma after Seastrunk and Martin got hurt early in that game. Devin Chafin, another redshirt freshman, ran 11 times for 100 yards and two TDs.
Levi Norwood, getting more chances with Reese out, had seven catches for 156 yards and two scores. He also returned a punt 58 yards for a TD that made it 20-14.
“Took us a second to get going. For us, we know it’s coming,” said Petty, who threw three TD passes and ran for two scores. “We have to settle down. I think a lot of it was a spark when Levi took that punt return.”