Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason report: Baylor
By David Ubben
Record: 3-2, 0-2 Big 12
The season started bright, and even a seven-point loss at West Virginia was a reason for encouragement. The panic outside the program though is starting to set in after getting outplayed in about every way a team can be outplayed in a 49-21 loss to TCU at home on Saturday. The loss included nothing short of a fourth-quarter meltdown on both sides of the ball.
The Bears' best performance of the season came in the opener against SMU, when a 45-3 lead in the third quarter suggested both offense and defense would be in excellent shape. A road comeback against a decent Louisiana-Monroe team showed plenty of guts but lots of questions, too. The defense isn't any better under Phil Bennett, and though the offense has played well, it's still not like it was a year ago.
Nick Florence has filled in fantastically for Robert Griffin III, even though he lacks the eye-popping physical attributes of the school's lone Heisman winner. The running game looks a little confused with no clarity between the three backs, Jarred Salubi, Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin. Terrance Williams has been as good or better than Kendall Wright, and offered Florence a big-time target alongside Tevin Reese and Lanear Sampson.
Baylor has been a bit underwhelming early, and a loss to Texas next week would mean a three-game losing streak and a big 0-3 hole to try and climb out of over the season's final six games. Nobody in Waco wants that.
Offensive MVP: Terrance Williams, WR. If you had any doubts that Williams could be a No. 1 target, there's no way you could any more. His 830 yards lead the nation, and he's averaging 22.4 yards on his 37 catches. He's stretching the field for Florence and validating his status as one of the best NFL receiver prospects in the country. His eight touchdown catches are tied for third-most nationally.
Defensive MVP: Bryce Hager, LB. I was torn on this one. You could definitely give this one to Ahmad Dixon, but I lean Hager because of the secondary's shortcomings this season. Hager leads the team with five tackles for loss and has 61 tackles to lead the team by 13. He's also forced a pair of fumbles and has a sack, too.