The last time OU played a Thursday game in the regular season game was 1992 at Texas Tech. The last time the Sooners played in Waco, Baylor got its first ever win over Oklahoma.
The Sooners travel to Waco this year for a rare Thursday night contest on the new Fox Sports 1 network. This will also be the last time OU meets the Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium. Baylor is building a new stadium on campus by the Brazos River.
The Bears will be breaking in a new quarterback this year, which has to be good news for the Big Red. Two years ago Robert Griffin III torched OU’s secondary with 479 passing yards and 4 TDs. Last year Nick Florence frustrated the Sooners with 83 rushing yards and a touchdown. Four times he picked up first downs and also scored on a two-point conversion to draw the Bears within eight points late in the game.
Baylor now turns to junior Bryce Petty (6-3, 230), who has been the backup QB for the past two years. He has completed a total of 10 passes in 14 attempts for 140 yards and a touchdown. Baylor’s success in 2013 will depend on how well Petty plays at quarterback.
Left guard Cyril Richardson (6-5, 335, Sr.) leads the pack up front. He was named the Big 12’s offensive lineman of the year in ’12 in addition to being named a second-team All-American. Joining him will be tackles Spencer Drango (6-6, 315, Soph.) and Troy Baker (6-6, 315, Jr.). Baker is rehabbing a knee injury suffered last spring, and fifth-year senior Kelvin Palmer (6-4, 290) likely will start at the beginning of the season.
Five of the Bears’ top seven receivers will return this fall. Tevin Reese (5-10, 170, Sr.) was second last year with 53 grabs for 957 yards and 9 scores. Juniors Antwon Goodley (5-10, 220), Levi Norwood (6-1, 185) and Clay Fuller (6-1, 205) combined for 60 receptions for 697 yards and 3 TDs.
Running back Lache Seastrunk (5-10, 210, Jr.) returns. He rolled up 1,012 yards (7.7-yards per carry) and 7 TDs a year ago. He picked up 831 of those yards and six scores during the final six games.
Baylor Statistics, 2012
Offense (Nat'l. Rank)
Defense (Nat'l. Rank)
Total Offense (YPG)
The Bears return eight of their top 10 tacklers, including the top four, to the defense. The ends will return to the front line, but the interior will see a couple of new faces. Juniors Chris McAllister (6-2, 255) and Terrance Lloyd (6-3, 235) will be back on the edges. The duo combined for 95 stops: 16 for losses, including 10 sacks; 14 quarterback hurries; four forced fumbles; and two recovered fumbles.
Beau Blackshear (6-4, 300, Soph.) moves into one starting tackle slot. He played in all 13 games last year as a backup. Javonte Magee (6-5, 275, Soph.) slides over from end, where he was a backup in 2012.
Linebackers Bryce Hager (6-2, 235, Jr.) and Eddie Lackey (6-0, 220, Sr.) were first and second in tackles last year. Hager, a second-team All-Big 12 pick a year ago, led the Bears with 124 stops, 9.5 behind the line of scrimmage, to go along with 4 sacks, 8 QB hurries and 2 forced fumbles. Lackey was in on 104 tackles, 10.5 for losses. He also had 2 sacks and 4 INTs.
Ahmad Dixon and Sam Holl have flipped their positions from 2012. Dixon (6-0, 205, Sr.) goes from nickelback to safety, and Holl (6-2, 210, Sr.) moves from safety to nickelback this year. They were third and fourth, respectively, in tackles a year ago, with a combined total of 187 stops. They also combined for 5 INTs in ’12.
Cornerback Joe Williams (5-9, 190, Jr.) will be the third returnee to the secondary. He led the team with 12 passes broken up last year and picked off three more.
Kicker Aaron Jones (6-3, 190, Sr.) leads the returning pack of special teamers. Jones owns or shares 16 school records and is the all-time scoring leader in Baylor history. Last year Jones was perfect on 71 PATs and made 16 of 27 field goals (59.3 percent). He was also the kickoff man.
Punter Spencer Roth (6-4, 225, Jr.) again will be kicking to opponents. He averaged 43.8 yards per punt a year ago, with 13 inside the 20-yard line, 4 touchbacks and five punts of 50 yards or more.
Levi Norwood (6-1, 190, Jr.) again will return punts this year. He averaged 10.4 yards on 14 returns with no scores in 2012. Darius Jones (5-11, 190, Sr.) will be the main kickoff return guy this year. He averaged 23.1 yards per return in ’12.