Bears trounce Sooners, make case for title discussion

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WACO, Texas -- It's time to put the Baylor Bears in the discussion.
Baylor established an inside lane and a lead in the Big 12 by stomping Oklahoma 41-12 on Thursday in front of a black-out crowd at Floyd Casey Stadium.
And, by rolling past the 10th ranked Sooners, the No. 6 Bears (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) made a case that they deserve to be mentioned with the programs ranked in front of them in national championship conversations.
Baylor coach Art Briles said the Bears deserved to be ranked in the top 10, but he wouldn't elaborate on whether or not he thinks Baylor is deserving of a national title shot.
"Look at the beginning of the season and check our ranking," said Briles, whose Bears weren't in the preseason top 25. "Everything we've done, we've earned. We're not looking at the big picture. We're trying to take care of each possession."
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty passed for 204 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two scores in Thursday's win. He is making a name for himself as a Heisman contender two years after Robert Griffin III claimed Baylor's first Heisman.
But Petty's expectations for himself weren't completely satisfied by the 29-point victory over the Sooners.
"It was ugly," Petty said. "I know the score is a little lopsided, but we didn't play as clean as we wanted to."
Meanwhile, Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2) lost for the second time in four Big 12 games and the Sooners are now a long shot to claim the conference title.
Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell was ineffective, passing for 150 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The Sooners attempted to run some option with backup quarterback Trevor Knight, but that produced only five carries for 17 yards.
"We were horrible on third-and-shorts, fourth-and-shorts and goal line," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "They out-executed us definitely. You've got to make those."
Baylor running backs Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk each suffered first-half injuries, but backup Shock Linwood gained 182 yards on 23 carries.
"We've been saying we finally have Big 12 quality depth," Briles said. "We showed it off tonight."
Baylor made a habit of quickly running past opponents at home through its first five games as the Bears led by an average of 40 points at halftime at home so far this season.
Oklahoma avoided that fate and even took a 5-3 lead early in the second quarter. The Sooners posted a safety when linebacker Dominique Alexander sacked Petty in the end zone, and Michael Hunnicutt kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 5-3 lead with 12:09 left in the second quarter.
However, Baylor's potent offense, ranked first in the nation at 718.4 yards per game, found its footing and still managed to put Oklahoma in a 19-point hole at halftime.
Petty led Baylor on a five-play, 69-yard scoring drive to regain the lead. He ran for 20 yards to set up Baylor with a first-and-goal at the Sooners 7. Two plays later, he ran five yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 10-5 lead.
Petty sparked Baylor's next drive with a 39-yard completion to wide receiver Levi Norwood to the Oklahoma 14. Petty again finished the drive with a rushing touchdown, this one a 1-yarder.
That's when Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell made a mistake the Sooners couldn't afford. After Baylor surged ahead 17-5, Bell's first-down pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted by Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey at the Sooners' 38.
Though Baylor had just 48 seconds to score before the half, it was plenty of time for Petty. He tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antwan Goodley with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.
"It's a difficult task," Stoops said. "We had a great game plan going into the game. We executed it early. We had some dropped balls, but we had a really good game plan."
Baylor took a 24-5 lead to halftime despite losing two of its top three rushers, Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, to first-half injuries.
By the time Petty found Norwood wide open in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter, Baylor had all but buried the Sooners.
With Norwood's touchdown, the Bears led 31-5 with 8:14 left in the third quarter. At that point, Oklahoma had just 104 total yards and had been held to three points on two trips inside the Baylor 10, both early in the second quarter.
Norwood was targeted more often than usual after Baylor starting receiver Tevin Reese left the game with a season-ending broken wrist. Norwood finished with four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
"Levi did a great job of stepping up," Petty said. "You're going to have to fight through some things."
NOTES: Baylor entered the game with an 11-1 record in November and December the last two seasons. The only loss came at Oklahoma, 42-34 in 2012. ... Entering the game, Baylor was 4-0 at home versus top 25 teams since 2011. Oklahoma is the first ranked team Baylor faced this season at home or on the road. ... Entering the game, Oklahoma was 21-1 all-time versus Baylor. The only loss came two seasons ago when Robert Griffin III led Baylor to a 45-38 victory. ... Oklahoma entered the game needing a win for Bob Stoops to tie Barry Switzer's Oklahoma record of 157 career victories as the Sooners' head coach.

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