Wins are stacking up. Points are piling up as high as the eyes can see. The last two years have seen the Baylor Bears roll through their non-conference portion of the schedule with relative ease. Both seasons have the Bears at the TOP of the statistical heap offensively, with national leading yards per game being put up. But we all know that this year is not like last year, both good and bad. So, how do the 2014 version of the Bears stack up offensively and defensively to the 2013 Big 12 Champs? Let us find out!
Year over year, the Bears are not better offensively in any category through three games. Their yards per play are down 21% and their scoring is down 15%. This can mainly be linked back to the SMU game, where the Bears offense “struggled” in putting up only 45 points. Outside of that performance, the Buffalo and Northwestern State games are right in-line with what the Bears did last year.
Play-calling wise, the Bears called 61% rushing plays versus 39% passing plays in 2013. This year, those ratios are a little more even. They are at 55.7% rushing and 44.3% passing. The bears have run just 1 more rushing play through three games (140 to 141), but have ran more plays in 2014 overall, with the vast majority of these being passes (229 to 253). This could be an effect of running the offense full speed for almost a half longer, as the Bears main offense was up and running at full speed for most of the SMU game, while all of last year, the throttle was pulled back at the latest a series or two into the 2nd half.
Overall, this is still one of the best offenses in the nation, but one that is not overwhelmingly above everyone else, as was the case after three games last year.
|Defensive TDs Scored||4||0||-4||-100%|
The defensive side of the ball is a much different picture. The Bears have been a significantly more effective defense, outside of turnovers forced and turning those opportunities into touchdowns. The 2013 Bears forced 9 turnovers compared to just 5 for the 2014 Bears. Those 9 turnovers last year became a ridiculous 4 defensive touchdowns, with the 2014 Baylor defenders yet to take one to the end-zone.
Outside of that, the 2014 Bears have been much better than last year. They are allowing 26% fewer yards per game, including a ridiculous 42% difference in rushing yards allowed. The Bears are allowing 11% less yards per play. Coach Phil Bennett and his Bears have also improved their sacks by 50%, improving from 10 to 15 year over year.
Overall, the Bears offense has not been performing to the 2013 levels, but the defense has taken some big steps forward. This of course does not take into account the difference of opponent quality, on either side of the ball. You could make a case that the SMU offense is a big step down from Louisana-Monroe from last year, while also saying that the Buffalo defense took a big step back year over year. The point to this was to simply take a snap shot at a similar point in time and see how the Bears are performing.