Lache Seastrunk

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

QB Bryce Petty (Jr.)

Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel are garnering Heisman attention for their performances this season but Bryce Petty is putting up his own Heisman numbers. The junior signal-caller has led the explosive Baylor offense all season long, completing 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,557 yards, 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions. The Bears’ huge loss to conference foe Oklahoma State cannot be ignored but neither can Petty’s performance this season as the Baylor offense is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, averaging just over 55 points per contest. Petty has been about as efficient as one can be while putting up video game-like numbers and keeping his team in the Big 12 title hunt at 10-1 overall heading into the game with Texas. Petty has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every game this season and has even done his part in the running game, racking up 11 touchdowns on the ground this season. If the Baylor offense is going to be contained, it will start and end with Petty.

 

RB Lache Seastrunk (Jr.)

Seastrunk is an interesting player who has finally found a home in Waco after bouncing around his first few seasons in college football. The Temple native is the leading rusher for a running game that ranks No. 11 in the nation, compiling 982 yards and 11 touchdowns on 126 carries this season. Seastrunk is a big and powerful back who can run defenders over just as easily as he can outrun them for big yardage. His 7.8 yards per carry is a staggering statistic that’s facilitated by the potent passing game of the Bears. If Texas can disrupt Petty, Seastrunk will still be there to pick up yards. The Longhorns need to limit his effectiveness to force Baylor to beat them in one way instead of two.

 

LB Bryce Hager (Jr.)

Texas will be looking to establish their run game to poke holes in the Baylor defense, one that is ranked No. 27 in the country. Bryce Hager will be the catalyst for this game plan. Hager is second on the Bears’ defense with 71 tackles despite missing two games this season. His 7.9 tackles per game are a team-high. Hager is the most complete defender on this defense, showing his ability to disrupt the passer with nine quarterback hurries and his ability to drop into coverage, evidenced by his three passes broken up. He will be around the ball the entire game and Texas has to find a way to move the ball away from his side of the field.

Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk sets lofty goals, doesn't back away from Heisman comments

DALLAS -- Lache Seastrunk ran into one of his boyhood heroes at Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday when Eddie George introduced himself to the Baylor running back.

“I’m not going to lie. I was [star]struck,” Seastrunk admitted. “I was stoked to meet Eddie George. I played with Eddie George on Madden 02 because his face was on there.”

Like George did in 1995, Seastrunk is aiming to win be the second Baylor player to win a Heisman Trophy in the last three seasons. Seastrunk exploded in the second half of last year for the Bears, running for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 7.7 yards per carry in 2012.

He has since guaranteed that he will win the Heisman in 2013 during an interview with Sporting News last December and confirmed that goal this week in Dallas.

“Why not?” Seastrunk said. “I feel like I’m the best player in the country, the fastest player in the country because I apply myself. I work hard. I just want to be great. Why not? Why be good when you can be great?”

George asked Seastrunk in the Omni Hotel hallway if he was shooting to run for 2,000 yards this season. Seastrunk expressed his confidence in his ability to reach that mark as well.

“I want to get close to Barry Sanders’ record,” Seastrunk said, referring to the former Oklahoma State running back’s single-season record of 2,628 rushing yards in 1988. “For my size, I’m probably supposed to be able to squat 500 pounds. I squat 720 pounds. Not a lot of running backs can do that and still be blazing fast and do everything they’re supposed to do. When I set goals, I achieve my goals.”

Along with Kansas State’s John Hubert, Seastrunk was named to the preseason All-Big 12 team. But he has his sights set on winning a Heisman Trophy, a feat once thought impossibly by a Baylor player. That was before Robert Griffin III amassed nearly 5,000 total yards while completing more than 70 percent of his passes and boasting a 37-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio en route to capturing the coveted stiff-armed trophy.

“You have to do phenomenal things in phenomenal moments and that’s what [Griffin] did,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “Lache has some qualities that give him an opportunity. He’s a dynamic football player that’s very engaging, and those are good qualitites to have. They help you with the voters. I’d much rather have players wanting to win the Heisman than clap for the one that does.”

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is surrounded on the field by Baylor fans after the Wildcats’ 52-24 loss in Waco. Klein, the Heisman Trophy favorite entering the weekend, threw three interceptions on 54 percent passing. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WACO — The night began with a prayer, which is really all Baylor had anyway. The No. 1 Wildcats were in town, 12-point favorites with the Heisman Trophy favorite in tow, and the Bears had only four wins to their name.

Pastor Jeff Warren led the pregame invocation, a custom common among private schools, thanking “father God” for “Jesus and the cross.”

And then all hell broke loose.

Baylor scored, and scored, and scored, and scored and scored some more. Quarterback Nick Florence passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Lache Seastrunk housed an 80-yard run on a 185-yard night. Wideout Terrance Williams caught five balls for 87 yards and a score. Holy Trinity, you betcha. The Wildcats couldn’t stop it, nor could they keep up offensively. Baylor’s defense, among the worst in the FBS, had an out-of-body experience, battering Collin Klein, who looked woozy and wobbly and threw three interceptions. Thrice Klein was stuffed on the goal line, so it’s a minor miracle the sun came up Sunday. Surreally, the Bears took a quick lead and never looked back; one what-just-happened moment after another. The final score, 52-24, sent the student section onto the field, serenaded by the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

In 2004, when Baylor beat Texas A&M, the students ripped up a goal post and marched it right back to campus. That was big; this was tremendous ­­— the school’s first ever win over the BCS’ No. 1 team. Baylor has been slowly building toward such an upset, such a stage, since 2008, when Art Briles took over as head coach. Five Baylor players have gone in the first round of the NFL Draft the last four years, including Robert Griffin III, last season’s Heisman darling. Life without RG3 has been difficult this fall, however, and Baylor, ranked at the beginning of the season, tumbled out of the national spotlight after each loss. The team still needs one win to achieve bowl eligibility.

On FOX’s postgame radio show, Seastrunk, without prompt, announced his Heisman campaign.

“I’m gonna get it,” the sophomore said.

So, yeah, it was that kind of night. Both the Wildcats and No. 2 Oregon fell, which means Notre Dame is a win away from the BCS Championship game. They will be joined by an SEC team to be named later — likely Alabama, unfortunately. Klein’s poor showing means Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel could wind up with the Heisman. If Texas beats TCU and Kansas State, and if Oklahoma falls to Oklahoma State, the Longhorns automatically get the Big 12’s BCS bowl bid, and share of the conference title, by virtue of a four-way tie and head-to-head advantage. Who could have seen that happening after the disaster in Dallas?

Waco, where the college football world was abruptly flipped on its head; it is also where we were all reminded of the thing we love — and sometimes forget — about the sport: anything can happen.

Yes, anything. 

Printed on Monday, November 19, 2012 as: Baylor beatdown: Bears knock No. 1 Wildcats out of title game, Horns suddenly have shot to win Big 12 title

Baylor head coach Art Briles addresses media members at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas. Briles and the Bears are looking to improve on a 10-3 record from a year ago.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

The Baylor Bears may have lost their top three offensive threats from a year ago to the NFL Draft, but head coach Art Briles doesn’t see that being an issue as his team prepares for the start of a new season.

“We’ve got some holes to fill. We understand that,” Briles said. “In general I think our brand is probably as good as it’s ever been on a national level. What we have to do now is maintain it, and that’s where my inspiration, passion and drive is going to come from.”

The Bears are coming out of their best season in more than 30 years after a 10-3 finish in 2011, which included the team’s first bowl victory since 1992. But the loss of Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III as well as leading wide receiver Kendall Wright and running back Terrance Ganaway have many wondering if the Bears can duplicate their success from a season ago.

“We have to fill in the gaps because Robert created a lot of gaps,” Briles said. “We have to fill that in with a variety of different methods, schematically and personnel-wise, that will give us an opportunity to stay at the level we finished at last year.”

One of the players who will attempt to fill the massive hole left by Griffin III and others is senior quarterback Nick Florence. Florence would have two remaining years of eligibility, but he was forced to relinquish his redshirt late last season after Griffin III suffered a concussion against Texas Tech. In that game, Florence threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score, eventually leading the Bears to a 66-42 win over the Red Raiders.

It was then that Briles knew Florence would do anything to see the Bears win.

“That’s where his drive is — being a good football player that contributes to Baylor being successful,” Briles said. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the passion, energy and fearlessness he’s going to bring to the table.”

Briles isn’t the only one confident in Florence’s ability to lead the Bears. Senior center Ivory Wade feels the Bears are right where they left off at the end of last season.

“We’re going to be the same offense we were last year,” Wade said. “Very explosive and hopefully rack up a lot of yards.”

Those yards will have to come from somewhere, and that’s precisely where fifth-year senior wide receiver Terrance Williams comes in.

Williams played in all 13 games last season, including 11 at receiver on his way to 957 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. His receiving totals were second on the team, trailing only Wright, who is now a Tennessee Titan. At 6-foot-2, Williams provides a big target for Florence and should emerge as this year’s most reliable downfield threat.

“He’s going to blow up this year,” Wade said.

The Bears also return Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson and Levi Norwood at receiver in addition to recent Michigan transfer Darryl Stonum. The loss of Wright hurts, but there are several players who are capable of working as a unit in order to replicate Wright’s receiving totals from last year.

With all the attention paid to Griffin III and Wright a year ago, it’s easy to forget that the Bears also had a 1,500 yard rusher, Ganaway, who is now a member of the New York Jets.

Ganaway found the endzone 21 times on the ground in 2011, and his production will be greatly missed as well.

At the moment, senior Jarred Salubi is listed as the Bears’ No. 1 running back. He’s played in 38 career games, tied for the most on the team.

“Jarred is an outstanding back. He’s able to make guys miss in space and he’s big and strong enough to be powerful inside,” Briles said.

Someone will have to step up in order to replace Ganaway, and that someone could be Lache Seastrunk. A graduate of nearby Temple High School and former Oregon Duck, Seastrunk joined the Bears in 2011 but was forced to sit out the entire season per NCAA transfer regulations.

“Lache is a very dynamic player that has three years left and we’re anxious to see what he can do when there’s people in the stands hollering, because he’s got ability and that’s something that’s hard to hide,” Briles said. “We’re going to have him open up the jacket and let it show.”

It won’t be an easy task replacing the drafted players on the offensive side of the ball, but the pieces are there.

“Perceptions change and there’s still people who are going to write us off, and that’s the way it’s always going to be,” Florence said. “We want to earn some respect. We’ve won a bowl game and got to 10 wins, so now we want to win a Big 12 Championship.”

 The Baylor Bears may have lost their top three offensive threats from a year ago to the NFL Draft, but head coach Art Briles doesn’t see that being an issue as his team prepares for the start of a new season.

“We’ve got some holes to fill. We understand that,” Briles said. “In general I think our brand is probably as good as it’s ever been on a national level. What we have to do now is maintain it, and that’s where my inspiration, passion and drive is going to come from.”

The Bears are coming out of their best season in more than 30 years after a 10-3 finish in 2011, which included the team’s first bowl victory since 1992. But the loss of Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III as well as leading wide receiver Kendall Wright and running back Terrance Ganaway have many wondering if the Bears can duplicate their success from a season ago.

“We have to fill in the gaps because Robert created a lot of gaps,” Briles said. “We have to fill that in with a variety of different methods, schematically and personnel-wise, that will give us an opportunity to stay at the level we finished at last year.”

One of the players who will attempt to fill the massive hole left by Griffin III and others is senior quarterback Nick Florence. Florence would have two remaining years of eligibility, but he was forced to relinquish his redshirt late last season after Griffin III suffered a concussion against Texas Tech. In that game, Florence threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score, eventually leading the Bears to a 66-42 win over the Red Raiders.

It was then that Briles knew Florence would do anything to see the Bears win.

“That’s where his drive is — being a good football player that contributes to Baylor being successful,” Briles said. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the passion, energy and fearlessness he’s going to bring to the table.”

Briles isn’t the only one confident in Florence’s ability to lead the Bears. Senior center Ivory Wade feels the Bears are right where they left off at the end of last season.

“We’re going to be the same offense we were last year,” Wade said. “Very explosive and hopefully rack up a lot of yards.”

Those yards will have to come from somewhere, and that’s precisely where fifth-year senior wide receiver Terrance Williams comes in.

Williams played in all 13 games last season, including 11 at receiver on his way to 957 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. His receiving totals were second on the team, trailing only Wright, who is now a Tennessee Titan. At 6-foot-2, Williams provides a big target for Florence and should emerge as this year’s most reliable downfield threat.

“He’s going to blow up this year,” Wade said.

The Bears also return Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson and Levi Norwood at receiver in addition to recent Michigan transfer Darryl Stonum. The loss of Wright hurts, but there are several players who are capable of working as a unit in order to replicate Wright’s receiving totals from last year.

With all the attention paid to Griffin III and Wright a year ago, it’s easy to forget that the Bears also had a 1,500 yard rusher, Ganaway, who is now a member of the New York Jets.

Ganaway found the endzone 21 times on the ground in 2011, and his production will be greatly missed as well.

At the moment, senior Jarred Salubi is listed as the Bears’ No. 1 running back. He’s played in 38 career games, tied for the most on the team.

“Jarred is an outstanding back. He’s able to make guys miss in space and he’s big and strong enough to be powerful inside,” Briles said.

Someone will have to step up in order to replace Ganaway, and that someone could be Lache Seastrunk. A graduate of nearby Temple High School and former Oregon Duck, Seastrunk joined the Bears in 2011 but was forced to sit out the entire season per NCAA transfer regulations.

“Lache is a very dynamic player that has three years left and we’re anxious to see what he can do when there’s people in the stands hollering, because he’s got ability and that’s something that’s hard to hide,” Briles said. “We’re going to have him open up the jacket and let it show.”

It won’t be an easy task replacing the drafted players on the offensive side of the ball, but the pieces are there.

“Perceptions change and there’s still people who are going to write us off, and that’s the way it’s always going to be,” Florence said. “We want to earn some respect. We’ve won a bowl game and got to 10 wins, so now we want to win a Big 12 Championship.”

Much has been made of the state of affairs of the Big 12 teams from an institutional standpoint. Some school are looking to take their program’s elsewhere, while some are trying to preserve the ever-disintegrating conference. But for the football players and coaches, Saturday’s are their most important concern. Here is a look at how schools from around the conference are doing with their on-field talent.

Oklahoma
Oklahoma running back Jonathan Miller was arrested Thursday night for failure to appear in court for a traffic ticket issued last year. The redshirt sophomore was initially ticketed in September of 2010 for driving without a license. Head coach Bob Stoops downplayed the significance of the event “I don’t suspend guys for traffic tickets,” Stoops said.

Missouri
Missouri tight end Michael Egnew and Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho are among 30 national candidates for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS award. The CLASS award, an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School is presented annually to a player that makes a positive impact in their community as well as utilizing their complete athletic ability and remaining committed to their university.

Baylor
Former blue-chip running back Lache Seastrunk has decided to transfer from Oregon to Baylor amid allegations regarding the validity of his recruitment. The Temple native will be a mere 40 minutes from his hometown. “I think I have strong, valid reasons why I’m coming home,” Seastrunk said.

Texas Tech
Texas Tech formally named junior Seth Doege as its starting quarterback. “We pretty much figured he’d be the guy that gets the reins early,” said head coach Tommy Tuberville.

Texas
Texas’ starting safety Christian Scott was suspended for the first three games of 2011 after being arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge earlier this month. “He will be working with the scout team until he’s eligible to play,” said head coach Mack Brown.

Kansas
Kansas announced sophomore Jordan Webb will start at quarterback. “There’s no situation where Jordan is going to lose his job anytime soon,” said head coach Turner Gill. Freshman quarterback Brock Berglund will not practice with the team this year. “Due to legal issues, Brock will no longer be attending practices this fall,” said Gill. Sophomore running back Deshaun Sands was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for missing a court date related to an April misdemeanor disturbing the peace citation. Sands has since been dismissed from
the team.

Iowa State
Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads has named junior Steele Jantz as the starting quarterback. Jantz beat out fellow junior Jerome Tiller, who is academically ineligible.

Jantz may have one less receiver to throw to in the Cyclones’ first game. Senior Iowa State receiver Darius Reynolds suffered a broken toe, and his status for the season opener against Nothern Iowa remains uncertain. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound target is the Cyclones’ top returning receiver, and his health is important to their success on offense.

Kansas State
Kansas State running back Arthur Brown’s name recently came up in reports surrounding the Miami University booster scandal. Brown is a former Hurricane, and allegedly received improper benefits from former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro. Under normal NCAA regulations, Brown would lose years of eligibility for his involvement with the scandal. However, he has been granted limited immunity by the NCAA in exchange for his cooperation and information regarding Shapiro. Brown will retain his full eligibility and not be punished by
the Wildcats.