The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 8, 2013

Defense is back in the Big 12

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Forget for a second that Baylor is scoring an eye-popping 70 points per game. The Bears — and some other teams in the high-scoring Big 12 — are doing solid work on the other side of the ball, too.

No. 15 Baylor is holding opponents to 16 points and 321 yards per game, both in the top 20 in those respective categories.

The Bears forced four turnovers last week in a 73-42 win over West Virginia. The Mountaineers scored twice on defense and got many of their 28 second-half points after Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett pulled his starters.

Baylor (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) has another test in its first road game Saturday at Kansas State (2-3, 0-2).

Much of the credit for Baylor’s eight-game winning streak that started last season against the Wildcats can be given to the defense.

“Those guys are flying around,” Baylor coach Art Briles said Monday. “Phil’s done a great job with them. They have a lot of confidence, and it’s confidence that they earned through the ending of last season and it’s carried on through this year

For all the Bears have done to get into the end zone, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said Baylor’s defense has improved since helping to end the Wildcats’ national championship dreams last November in Waco, Texas.

“I think what gets unnoticed probably a great deal is the fact that all the attention is focused on their offense, and yet they’re playing quite well defensively,” Snyder said. “I thought at the end of the year last year they played so well against us. They have continued that throughout.”

Six Big 12 teams rank in the top 50 nationally in total and scoring defense, led by No. 12 Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0).

The Sooners are sixth nationally in scoring defense (13.0) and ninth in the fewest yards allowed (281.6) entering Saturday’s Red River Rivalry game with Texas (3-2, 2-0) in Dallas.

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