By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press
WACO, Texas — Let everyone else be surprised by all the big numbers Baylor keeps putting up on offense.
The 15th-ranked Bears aren’t.
“We just do what we’re supposed to do, and do it with a lot of predictable outcomes,” coach Art Briles said. “We don’t ever want to look at a play and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that happened.’ ... We expect the outcome before the play ever happens.”
After rolling over three overmatched nonconference teams, the Bears opened Big 12 play with their best offensive game yet. They set a league record with 864 total yards in a 73-42 victory over West Virginia, scoring the most points by a Big 12 team against another conference foe.
West Virginia (3-3, 1-2), which made its Big 12 debut last year beating the Bears 70-63 in what is still the highest-scoring Big 12 game ever, couldn’t keep up this time.
“I would recommend giving Baylor some credit,” said Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers coach who knows a thing or two about offense. “I’ve never seen a team establish the line of scrimmage like they did. We’ve been pretty proud of how we’ve been playing defense for the last five games. You can’t play defense when the line of scrimmage is 5 yards backward every single time they ran the ball.”
Baylor, 4-0 for the first time since 1991 and with an eight-game winning streak, leads the nation with 779.5 total yards and 70.5 points a game. The Bears are outpacing No. 2 Oregon’s point-a-minute offense that averages 630.4 yards and 59.2 points.
The Bears are the first FBS team with more than 700 total yards in three consecutive games or 3,000 yards in a four-game span since 1996, according to data available to STATS. Their 282 points are the most in a four-game span since 1980, and they are the only team with four consecutive games of 69 points or more.
“I always feel that Baylor is a but team, and I say that because people say Baylor is good but; Baylor scores points, but; Baylor beat this team but,” quarterback Bryce Petty said. “That’s good, because it puts a chip on our shoulder. ... We know we’re the best.”
Baylor goes on the road for the first time next Saturday at Kansas State. But — there’s that word — the Bears aren’t likely to be tested against a ranked team until a Nov. 7 home game against No. 12 Oklahoma.
Briles said this team is still trying to create its own identity. He’s not making comparisons to past teams, such as when the Bears had Robert Griffin III during a Heisman Trophy-winning season two years ago — or even record-setting Nick Florence last season.
“It’s too early, we’ve played four games,” Briles said. “You’re not going to date somebody three times and say will you marry me. You’ve got to be around them awhile, and you’ve got to get to know them and see if it’s really a match. I think we’ve still got to see where we are before we judge ourselves.”
“I know we have energy,” he said. “And I know we have some guys who are hungry and determined.”
Petty threw for 347 yards with two touchdowns and his first interception against WVU, and all of that except a 5-yard pass came before halftime. The fourth-year junior finally starting after backing up Griffin and Florence, is 67-of-92 passing (73 percent) for 1,348 yards and 10 TDs.
Lache Seastrunk is second among FBS running backs with 147.3 yards rushing per game after his eighth consecutive 100-yard game. He had all 15 of his carries against West Virginia in the first half, when he had 172 yards and two TDs (80, 19 yards).
The Bears tied a team record with eight rushing touchdowns, by six different players.
After taking a 56-14 halftime lead, already with 617 total yards, Baylor ran on 28 of its 37 plays in the second half.
“We’re all smiling right now,” Petty said. “And we should be.”