Baylor Bears Challenged by the Cyclones

With the injury to Seth Russell (17), The Bears' playoff hopes now possibly rest in the arms of freshman Jarrett Stidham (3). Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch
With the injury to Seth Russell (17), the Baylor Bears playoff hopes now rest in the arms of freshman Jarrett Stidham (3). Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch

By Jeff Cantrell

This last Saturday in Waco, Texas was a rainy one as the Baylor Bears took on the Iowa State Cyclones. Baylor was expected to dominate in this game, but to quote the 1991 film Necessary Roughness, “in a typhoon it’s anybody’s game”. Both sides were negatively impacted by the soggy conditions but the rain kept the usually potent Baylor offense from effectively using its passing game which made it a much closer game than most had anticipated. However, in the end, the Bears prevailed over the Cyclones, 45 -27.

What to take away from Baylor’s performance

  • Unfortunately, the biggest story of the day was Seth Russell’s injury late in the fourth quarter. A helmet to helmet collision with an Iowa State defender on a designed quarterback run play caused Russell to leave the game. The injury was originally thought to be a strained neck, but examination after the game showed that he had actually fractured a bone in his neck. Russell will be seen by a specialist this week, but his status and when he might return are unknown at the present time. Odds are good, considering it is a neck injury, that he will be out for at least one game but likely more and there is a real possibility that it could be season ending.
  • The job of leading the Bears now falls to freshmen QB Jarrett Stidham. Fortunately, Stidham enrolled into Baylor early and went through spring training with the team. He has also acquired a lot of game experience, having seen action in every game this season. So far, Stidham has gone 24 of 28 passing for 331 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. This experience will prove critical as he is tasked with leading the Bears against Kansas State and going forward.
  • Aside from the obvious impact of Russell’s injury, it’s very hard to take too much away from this game. However, one area that was concerning was Baylor’s inability to score points for over 30 minutes of this game. Baylor started the game by building up a 35-0 lead following RB Devin Chafin’s 2-yard TD run with 8:14 left in the second quarter. After that, the Bears would not score again until K Chris Callahan’s 34-yard field goal with 5:31 left in the game and made it 38-20. This dry spell allowed the Cyclones to get back into the game and left many Baylor fans grumbling in the stands.

With Russell’s injury weighing heavily on the Bears, about the only good news is that they have a bye week coming up before traveling to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats are 3-4 on the season and 0-4 in conference play after losing this weekend to the Texas Longhorns 23-9 in a similarly rain soaked game in Austin, Tx.