Bryce Petty returned to action after missing only one game with fractured transverse processes in his back, and he showed Baylor fans what they have been missing. In about two-and-a-half quarters of action, Petty threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns in his return.
Freshman KD Cannon was the recipient of Petty’s first touchdown, an 89-yard bomb. A week after posting 223 yards in a win over Northwestern State, Cannon had 189 yards and a touchdown. As it stands, Cannon is averaging 157 yards per game, including 206 yards per game in starts.
Lynx Hawthorne and Jay Lee both also had over 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns each in breakout performances for each. Hawthorne broke free multiple times for his receptions. Lee did an outstanding job in the mid-range pass game of making himself available, holding off his defender and holding onto the ball through contact.
The running game once again struggled to get anything going. Shock Linwood broke free for a 24-yard touchdown, but otherwise struggled to only 3.8 yard per carry. The Bears still finished with 189 rushing yards, but that is well below their season total. Buffalo stacked the box early, but Linwood also struggled to find holes and the line did not give him much push to work with.
The stats do not show how well Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata played on Friday. Licata only went for 171 yards, but mental mistakes from his wide receivers took away what should have been two breakaway touchdowns past Baylor cornerback Ryan Reid. Bull receivers created separation on two occasions, and Licata dropped in a great pass, but both receivers dropped the pass.
Each time Buffalo missed an opportunity, Baylor would take advantage. After Buffalo receiver Marcus McGill dropped a sure-fire touchdown pass, Cannon caught his touchdown pass over the defense to put the Bears up 14-0 in the first.
Xavien Howard proved once again that he is an elite cornerback in the Big 12. There was a play where Licata found Howard’s receiver on the sideline and threw a perfect ball to his receiver. Howard was all over the play, and went over the receiver to make it all but impossible for him to make the catch.
It still is unclear whether teams are just trying to avoid Howard or picking on Ryan Reid, but Reid has to improve quickly, or Baylor needs to find another answer at cornerback.
Baylor will now have a bye week before traveling to Ames, Iowa on Sept. 27 to play Iowa State in the Big 12 conference opener for Baylor. The Bears will then travel to Austin before returning to play at home on Oct. 11 against hated rival TCU.