From the start of the 1st quarter the no. 10 Baylor Bears appeared to be tuned to a fast paced rigor on the field.
By utilizing a mixed arsenal of effective run, play-action and short but aggressive pass plays, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty and the Bears looked to keep the visiting SMU Mustangs off balance and uncomfortable from early on in the contest. It was clear that SMU needed to kill Baylor’s momentum right away in order to avoid discouragement and the risk of falling victim to frustration. As the Bears settled into their new $266 million stadium, the Mustangs needed to focus and execute their game plan or make immediate and effective adjustments. Unfortunately, SMU had no answer for the 2013 Big 12 Champions Baylor and suffered a devastating 45-0 loss in their first game of the season.
Indicative of their loss, SMU appeared to have trouble on the field from their first offensive series with SMU QB Neal Burcham throwing an incompletion, only a one yard screen pass to running back Kevin Pope, and the very early use of a time-out, ending the 3 and out series with a punt. Baylor, also with a minor hiccup in their first series (a false start penalty) still managed to create momentum on the field with quarterback Bryce Petty handing off to running back Shock Linwood for a first down.
The Mustang defense, however, did attempt to make a statement as SMU’s defensive back Ajee Montes made the tackle on Baylor’s wide receiver Jay Lee. But the fast-paced play scheme complemented with so many offensive weapons allowed for the Bears to keep in motion.
Petty assaulted the SMU defense with a quarterback rollout for a gain of 17 yards, and in that same series handed off to running back Linwood blasting through a gaping hole of daylight for back to back movement of the chains. Fortunately, SMU’s defensive back Hayden Greenbauer was there to make the tackle, but not before Linwood crossed the first down yardage marker.
But with SMU’s defensive back Montes breaking up the short pass to wide receiver Lee, linebacker Jonathan Yenga’s stuffing the Baylor rush with a tackle on Linwood and an excellent display of defensive coverage forcing Petty to throw the ball away, SMU’s defense certainly made a crucial defensive stoppage that showed promise. Baylor facing 4th and 4, calls upon their kicker Chris Callahan and he answers with a 23 yard field goal, and Baylor leads SMU 3-0.
With SMU looking to find its rhythm surely Deion Sanders Jr. surely is exciting to watch and has the capability to fire up his team as he took the return to the 23 yard line. But with virtually no offensive progress it was noticeable that frustration was setting in on the young SMU quarterback and the rest of his team. This would become the running theme for SMU Mustangs for the rest of the game on both sides of the ball.
Baylor’s relentless aggressive defensive attacks were nearly unstoppable and the Baylor offense followed suit. As the Bears began to settle into the game Petty started to challenge the SMU defensive secondary. Completing a 16 yard pass to Lee covered by Montes. Petty again launching a bomb to a wide open Antwan Goodley, but was overthrown. After some inaccurate throws to wide open receivers Petty appeared to be favoring an injury and would eventually be looked at by trainers on the sideline.
Near the middle of the 1st quarter SMU Coach June Jones sends in QB Matt Davis for Neal Burcham and Davis immediately fires up the offense with a 6 yard reception to wide receiver Ryheem Malone and again completes a pass to an explosive wide receiver Der’rikk Thompson for a commanding first down. Only to be followed by an easily avoidable delay of game penalty. Two plays later Davis under pressure hurries a screen pass to wide receiver Stephen Nelson makes the catch but Bears linebacker Bryce Hager causes Nelson to fumble and Bears linebacker Aiavion Edwards recovers, looking at a 1st and goal. Petty hands off to Linwood and through a huge hole up the middle into the end zone for 6 points, after the PAT the score reads Baylor 10, SMU 0. Near the end of the half Bears Levi Norwood returns a punt for 45 yards. Setting up Petty and the Bears within 1st and goal in SMU territory but SMU can’t hold the line and Tre’Von Armstead runs into the end zone bringing the eventual score to 17-0 Bears.
Deion Sanders Jr. responded with attitude and returns the kickoff for 58 yards. And Coach Jones sends Burcham back into the game of play. Burcham gets the ball, has time, pump fakes, sees no one open, scrambles out of trouble, still looking for an open receiver and then finds himself face-to-face with a Bear. Burcham loses the ball but not possession as the ball rolls out of bounds, however, for a loss. SMU’s bad decisions pay high dividends by affording the opposition excellent field position after every SMU possession.
After both Burcham and Davis fail to make offensive advances Petty out of the shotgun formation with all day to throw, launches a bomb to first-year K.D. Cannon resulting in a spectacular but devastating Bears Touchdown. Blown coverage left defensive back Hayden Greenbauer alone with Cannon and never had a chance to disrupt the play. At the end of the first quarter the score was 24-0 Bears.
In the start of the second quarter Davis out of the shotgun position, runs without ever making a read downfield, maneuvers for negative yards and makes a horrible throw in an attempt to throw the ball way resulting in a Bears interception by corner back Xavien Howard. With the Bears set to score Petty increases the point total to 31 with a quarterback Keep into the end zone. As the end of the second quarter was coming to a close it was clear that Petty was in severe pain and was certainly affecting his game play. He did not return for the second half of play. With one last play before the half SMU was still trying to shows signs of life as Burcham connected with Pope but as he turned up field he fumbled the ball. Fortunately SMU’s Center Taylor Lesecki was right there to recover and progress up the field for a two yard gain to end the half.
The Baylor football team in the first half executed defensive dominance with 6 Sacks and 6 QB hits. The SMU football team remained under constant pressure on offense and was having a hard time adjusting to the fast paced action on defense. The sum total yards for SMU was -39 compared to Baylor’s total of 244 yards eat the half.
In start of the 3rd Quarter the Mustangs suffer a penalty for kicking out of bounds adding just another momentum killer to the list of many piling up. As the Bears gear up for their offensive series QB Seth Russell is at the helm for a banged up Bryce Petty. Petty starts with a handoff to Linwood for a first down and immediately they are moving to get the next play off to rattle the mustangs. The Bears looked like they were trying to close the show early when Russell hurled a pass to WR Davion Hall but Greenbeaur shut that down but with flags on the play. Greenbauer was flagged for a face mask and set the Mustangs back 15 yards. But in the next play Greenbauer cued in on the eyes of Russell as he attempted to connect with Hall and Greenbauer jumps the ball and grab the INT which was the first turn over for Baylor in the game.
Burcham and the Mustangs make little to advance down field as the pocket was constantly collapsing and flooded with Baylor players almost living in the SMU back field causing another sack on Burcham. Baylor then has a poor executed series, attempts a FG on 4th down but it’s blocked. Recovered by SMU! Then fumbled by SMU, recovered by Baylor and Baylor gets the ball back with excellent field position. Russell takes advantage of the situation and targets the one on one contest between Montes and J.Lee, hitting Lee on aquick slant route into the end zone adding six more to an already convincing lead, 38-0 Baylor. Lee had 8 catches for 83 yards.
With SMU’s Deion Sanders Jr. set to receive, if there was going to be any spark to ignite the fire from within the Mustang camp he was surely one that could get it going. But as the young returner made his way out of the end zone he was met with a deafening blow stopping him dead in his tracks at the hands of back up Baylor tight end Lee Bistro. Baylor’s second and third stringers appear to be doing everything they could to maximize the few playing reps they were getting as the 4th quarter came to a close.
Coach Jones brought in 3rd Back up quarterback Kolney Cassel who looked decent albeit with most of the Baylor starters and key players either injured or resting on the sidelines. Even against the second and third Baylor back ups the SMU receiving core appeared to have trouble completing catches and executing assignments while the Baylor dominance almost never seemed to simmer down. Speed, agility, power, and execution allowed for the Bears to keep the chains moving and the Mustangs playing catch up. The SMU Mustangs suffer a devastating shut-out loss to the Baylor Bears, final score 45-0 Baylor.
SMU faces a tough schedule down the road with N. Texas on deck, a bye week, and then a faceoff with TCU.
SMU 65 Total Yards
Neal Burcham 15/26 11 yards
Prescott Line 4 Rushes for 18 yards
Der’rikk Thompson 2 Rec for 21 yards
Baylor 472 Total Yards
Bryce Petty 13/23 Pass Comp, 161 yards, 2 Rush TD’s
Shock Linwood 16 Rushes for 88 yards
Shawn Oakman 6 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 Forced fumble
Jay Lee 8 Rec for 83 yards