Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty has excelled since taking over for RG3
Oct 11, 2014; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) warms up before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at McLane Stadium. ( Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
(C+P) — For Bryce, there was nothing petty about this most recent victory.
Not just because it was a win against a top-10 opponent in TCU, which kept the Baylor Bears’ unbeaten season intact.
It was the way they did it. In a comeback that had to be seen to be believed, Bryce Petty and the Bears scored 24 unanswered points in the final 11 minutes of regulation to come away with a thrilling 61-58 victory over the No. 9-ranked Horned Frogs.
“What this does for us is put a lot of energy and confidence in our team,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “These are wins that you think about and dream about, but they very seldom happen.”
Whether it was a product of terrible TCU defense or a dynamic Baylor offense, Petty threw for six touchdowns—including two during the furious late-game charge—and 510 yards to help engineer a rally that will raise his status in program history to a level that only Robert Griffin III has reached. After going down 58-37 with 11:38 left in the fourth following an interception return for a TD, Baylor and its veteran signal-caller never lost confidence.
“I don’t know why I felt it, and I am not saying that I doubted it at any point in time, but I just knew looking at the other guy’s faces we were going to come back in that game,” Petty said. “With our offense and the way we play defense, 21 points is not a big deal for us. The belief in each other was outstanding.”
In addition, the Baylor offense never altered its methods. After all, the routine game plan stressed by Briles is that of a high-tempo attack—with Petty being the latest beneficiary.
Following in the footsteps of the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, the senior from Midlothian, TX took over as the starting QB for the 2013 campaign. To say the least, he has not disappointed—with 4,200 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, only three interceptions, and 14 rushing touchdowns. It is no surprise that Baylor led the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in scoring and total offense that year.
However, any hopes of a national championship were thwarted when the Bears, ranked No. 3 at the time, suffered their only regular season loss on Nov. 23, a 49-17 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. That setback has fueled this determined run through the schedule so far. However, it gets significantly tougher.
The Bears travel to Morgantown this Saturday for an 11 a.m. contest against West Virginia. On Nov. 8, it is a showdown with Oklahoma in Norman—a match-up that may well determine the Big 12 title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. After that, it is a chance at sweet revenge versus Oklahoma State inside the friendly confines of McLane Stadium.
Petty is fully aware that the greatest challenges for his team are ahead of him.
“The thing that is a little ironic…is that he isn’t happy or satisfied,” Briles said. “He knows that we as a football team left a lot of plays on the table. We can play a whole lot better on both sides of the ball and special teams. He’s a guy who has a lot of experience, seen a lot of things and won us games. The expectation levels for him are up there pretty high, but at the end of the day it is all about winning.”
Having raised the stakes for 2014, Petty is embarking on his personal challenge. His stats may not be as staggering. He has a 56.7 percent completion percentage, 1,534 passing yards, 15 TDs, and three INTs (the same amount he had in ’13). However, there are two crucial numbers that matter. Zero losses and a No. 4 ranking in the polls.
As the unquestioned leader of this dynamic offense, the whispers for Petty as a Heisman consideration will get noticeably louder should the successes of the QB—and his team—continue. If that happens, he undoubtedly created his signature moment with what took place on Saturday.