WACO, Texas — Punting against the Baylor Bears is a terrible idea.
The Buffalo Bulls learned that lesson the hard way in trying to keep up with No. 23 Baylor’s dynamic offense. Baylor scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions and routed Buffalo 70-13 on Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Though Buffalo grabbed the initial lead by driving 75 yards for a touchdown on its game-opening possession, the Bulls’ four punts and two turnovers in the first half allowed Baylor to race by. Baylor streaked to a 56-13 lead by intermission.
Trailing 7-0 early in the first quarter. Baylor responded by scoring touchdowns in four plays on its first possession, five plays on its second drive and a workmanlike seven plays on its third drive to surge ahead 21-7 with 3:52 to go in the opening period.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Reese for the tying score. Bears running back Shock Linwood scored on a three-yard run to take the lead and Lache Seastrunk ran eight yards for the third touchdown.
Buffalo (0-2) threw another punch in the first quarter when
quarterback Joe Licata tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Alex Neutz, cutting Baylor’s lead to 21-13 after the point-after attempt was blocked by Baylor’s Ahmad Dixon.
The Bears (2-0) were hardly stunned, though. Baylor needed just three plays to score. On third-and-3 from his own 17, Petty hit Antwan Goodley on a slant pass. The Buffalo defense appeared to have several players with an angle to stop Goodley, but the Baylor receiver sped through the coverage and churned out an 83-yard touchdown.
Goodley’s score gave Baylor a 28-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bears averaged 15.8 yards per play in piling up 301 yards in the opening period and they were only getting started. Baylor scored 28 more points in the second quarter and had compiled 501 yards of total offense by halftime.
The Baylor defense made matters worse for the Bulls in the second period. Bears cornerback Xavier Howard intercepted a Licata pass to stop one Buffalo possession. With the Bulls driving inside the Baylor 10, Bears defensive back Sam Holl sacked Licata, forcing a fumble which linebacker Bryce Hager recovered and returned 91 yards for a touchdown.
Seastrunk ran 33 yards for Baylor’s final touchdown of the first half, a tote that gave him 150 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries to that point. Petty completed 13 of 16 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Neither Seastrunk nor Petty was called on to play after the first offensive series of the second half.