Gearing up for Iowa State this weekend, the Baylor defense realizes Sam Richardson is an elusive quarterback who can burn teams with the pass or run.
The Bears would like to keep Richardson’s rushing yardage in check after witnessing the damage Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams did to them last weekend.
Sams rushed for 199 yards on 30 carries and scored all three touchdowns for a Wildcat attack that amassed 327 yards rushing. It was by far the most rushing yards the Bears have allowed this season after giving up just 112.2 yards and 2.9 yards per carry through the first four games.
Though the Bears pulled off a 35-25 win in their first road game of the season, they’d like to get back to playing solid run defense.
“We missed 18 tackles and a lot were in the backfield,” Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said. “Quite honestly, they whipped us inside at tackle. Their quarterback was very patient — he’d wait and wait and then our linebackers got frustrated. Instead of going to get it, they tried to wait. But it’s all correctable.”
The Bears knew Sams was going to run the ball on a lot of plays, but the quarterback did an exceptional job of reading the defense. He’d see how the defenders were playing him on each play and decide where to run.
Sams found open gaps all afternoon and left the Bears scrambling. Baylor hopes to fill those holes against Iowa State and leave less room to run.
“We had the game plan we wanted and it looked good on paper, but we didn’t execute our defense,” Baylor defensive end Chris McAllister said. “Their quarterback was more quick than fast. He was elusive like a running back playing quarterback. He was good in the open field and hard to bring down and to get your hands on. They were able to get some big runs, and it’s something we have to tighten up.”
With the quarterback running the ball so much, Kansas State often had an extra blocker and outnumbered the Bears up front.
“They had a good scheme against what we were doing and often had one extra blocker on us,” Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey said. “We got out of position a lot. We just need to execute our defense and should be able to dominate up front.”
When the Bears were in position to make the play, they sometimes missed tackles which was something they rarely did in their first four games. They want to get back to playing sound fundamental defense against the Cyclones.
“We were there a lot of times, but didn’t make the play,” Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon said. “It was very difficult when the quarterback got the ball because they had one extra blocker. It messed up our blocking numbers when they got extra guys on us. He was taking whatever you gave him.”
Facing mobile QB
While Richardson isn’t as dangerous of a running threat as Sams, he has good mobility and can improvise when pressured. Richardson has completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 1,187 yards and 10 touchdowns, and is the Cyclones’ second leading rusher with 243 yards.
In the Cyclones’ 42-35 loss at Texas Tech last weekend, Richardson hit 15 of 38 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 49 yards. Iowa State’s running game is led by Aaron Wimberly with 367 yards and two touchdowns.
“They’re a balanced team and their quarterback can run and pass,” Bennett said. “They’ve got three good running backs and they’ve been in every game. We’ve got to step up, and I’m confident we will.”
Though the Bears hope to tighten up their run defense, they were pleased with their pass defense as they held Kansas State quarterbacks Jake Waters and Sams to 10 of 22 for 118 yards. Dixon’s clutch fourth quarter interception set up Glasco Martin’s game-sealing 21-yard touchdown with 1:16 remaining.
Despite giving up a season-high 445 yards, the Bears held the Wildcats scoreless in the fourth quarter on their home field.
“One thing that’s really great is that you can win a lot of games by holding teams to 25,” Bennett said. “No points in the fourth quarter is the best thing that could have happened to us.”
BEAR FACTS: The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame will join Baylor in honoring former Bears quarterback Don Trull at Saturday’s game.
Trull will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Dec. 10 in New York City. He was a first-team All-America quarterback for the Bears in 1963 and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. He was also a two-time academic All-American and Baylor’s first NFF national scholar-athlete in 1963.