Scenes From SMU's Season-Opening Loss To Baylor At The Bears' Brand-New McLane Stadium.
From Baylor's perspective at least, the Bears' 45-0 win over the Southern Methodist University Mustangs at its brand-new $266 million McLane Stadium for Sunday's college football season kickoff game went perfectly to script.
And the payoff was sweet: “I don't think I have ever coached in a bigger game,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said post-game. “I felt like I was indebted to so many people and a cause.”
Indeed, the pageantry in the stadium before kickoff was star-studded, what with appearances from Texas politicians such as former president George W. Bush, senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz as well as Governor Rick Perry. Former Baylor athletes were in attendance, too, among them Heisman winner Robert Griffin III (who had a statue of himself unveiled the same day), NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams.
On the field, the Baylor Bears looked every bit the No. 10 team in the country that they are — even with an injured Bryce Petty. The preseason Heisman candidate and starting quarterback was injured during the team's first drive by a hit to the back. Despite the injury, Petty remained in the game and threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another toward the end of the first half. Following the rushing touchdown, Petty needed assistance getting off the field and did not play in the second half, leaving his team with a 31-0 lead.
SMU's quarterback situation was a different story: The Mustangs opened the game with Neal Burcham, but the starter shared snaps with backup Matt Davis starting halfway through the first quarter after two unproductive drives. Davis did not fair much better. Both quarterbacks faced a relentless Baylor pass rush that produced eight sacks — one shy of the Baylor record. Davis would eventually be pulled from the game altogether following an errant pass attempt across the field that came as he scrambled 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage; that throw resulted in an interception, encapsulating much of SMU's afternoon in a single play.
“We knew that they were a pretty good defense and more talented than what they have been given credit for,” SMU head coach June Jones said after the loss. “I just didn't expect us to not be able to block them at all.”
The Mustangs' quarterbacks were under pressure nearly every snap. Relief in the running game was nonexistent.
Starting in the second half, the Bears rotated in numerous players but continued its dominance. In total, the Bears offense produced 574 yards of offense while the defense held the Mustangs to 67 total yards, including negative 24 yards rushing. The most notable performance from the Mustangs came through kick returner Deion Sanders Jr., who had a career high five returns for 131 yards, including one for 58 yards.
Up next for the Mustangs is area rival North Texas, which suffered a similar lopsided defeat this weekend to University of Texas. That matchup will be a better gauge for the two teams' potential this season. Suffice it to say: Baylor and Texas are in a different league of play.
Considering North Texas is going through a quarterback carousel itself, next week will be an opportunity to see the true strengths and weaknesses of the SMU defense when it's not competing with one of the nation's top offenses such as Baylor.
Baylor's brand-new $266 million McLane Stadium sits along the Brazos River and features an HD video board.
SMU wide receiver and kick returner Deion Sanders Jr. fields kicks in warm ups. Sanders Jr. had a career high five kick returns for 131 yards.
Former president George W. Bush performed the coin toss before the SMU vs. Baylor kickoff. Governor Rick Perry as well as Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were part of the pageantry too.
Baylor's starting quarterback and preseason Heisman candidate Bryce Petty (14) runs through the Baylor Line before the Bears' season opener. Petty left the game after the first half due to a back injury.
Baylor linebacker Aiavion Edwards (20) wraps up SMU running back Kevin Pope (3). Pope converted to full-time running back after playing both running back and linebacker last season.
SMU linebacker Jonathan Yenga (1) hits Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14) in the back in the first quarter. Petty would leave the game due to the hit after scoring three touchdowns.
Baylor running back Shock Linwood (32) runs while SMU defensive back Hayden Greenbauer (22) attempts to bring him down. Linwood led Baylor with 89 yards rushing.
SMU quarterback Matt Davis (4) drops back for a pass halfway through the first quarter. Davis split time with starting quarterback Neal Burcham.
SMU defensive back Trey Washington (14) battles with Baylor defensive back Tion Wright on punt coverage.
Baylor punt returner Levi Norwood (42) returns a punt 45 yards in the first half.
SMU quarterback Matt Davis (4) drops back for a pass under pressure in the first half.
SMU quarterback Matt Davis (4) scrambles from Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman. Oakman led the Baylor defense with six tackles and two sacks.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14) is assisted off the field after scoring a touchdown. This was Petty's third touchdown of the game and did not return.
Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman (2) and linebacker Grant Campbell (5) tackle SMU wide receiver Cedric Lancaster (5).
Baylor running back Shock Linwood (32) fumbles at the goal line. SMU recovered the fumble for a touchback.
Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee (4) dives for the end zone to score a touchdown. Lee caught eight passes for 83 yards on the night.
Baylor running back Johnny Jefferson (2) stumbles out of bounds after being tripped up by SMU linebacker Anthony Rhone (48).
SMU quarterback Neal Burcham scrambles away from Baylor defenders in the third quarter. Burcham was sacked four times.
The sold-crowd at McLane Stadium awaits the start of the second half. The attendance for the game was 45,733.