#5 Baylor Football 2015 Preview

Baylor Bears

Overall Rank: #5
#2 Big 12

Baylor Team Page#5 Baylor Football 2015 PreviewBuy Baylor Football Tickets

Once again Baylor lit up the scoreboard on a weekly basis and once again Baylor won a Big 12 Championship. However, along with TCU, the Bears were left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff and lost to Michigan State in an epic 42-41 classic in the Cotton Bowl. A very experienced team returns in 2015 for head coach Art Briles and it will be on a mission to get into the College Football Playoff.

2014 Record: 11-2, 8-1
2014 Bowl: Cotton Bowl vs. Michigan State (L 42-41)
Coach: Art Briles (55-34 at Baylor, 89-62 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kendal Briles
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Bennett

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shock Linwood, RB, 1,252 yards
Passing: Seth Russell, QB, 804 yards
Receiving: Corey Coleman, WR, 1,119 yards
Tackles: Taylor Young, LB, 92
Sacks: Shawn Oakman, DE, 11.0
Interceptions: Xavien Howard, CB, 4; Orion Stewart, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: RB Johnny Jefferson, WR K.D. Cannon, WR Jay Lee, OL Kyle Fuller, OL Blake Muir, OL Spencer Drango, S Terrell Burt, DL Beau Blackshear, DL Andrew Billings, CB Ryan Reid, K Chris Callahan

Key Losses: QB Brice Petty, WR Antwan Goodley, LB Bryce Hager, LB Collin Brence

Offensively, the Bears will be as explosive as ever as Seth Russell should keep the beat going on at quarterback and has a strong enough arm to really elevate the passing game to another level. Shock Linwood is back at running back and has the ability to take over a game if offensive coordinator Kendal Briles ever decided to grind things out on the ground. The offensive and defensive lines also return intact, led by All-American left tackle Spencer Drango on the offensive line and the ultimate beast of a defensive lineman, Shawn Oakman. Oakman returned for his senior season passing up on the NFL draft and had 11.0 sacks along with 19.5 tackles for loss last season. Taylor Young will be looking to build on an excellent redshirt freshman season when he had 92 tackles.

The secondary has to get better in 2015 and it should as it returns intact. Orion Stewart was an all-Big 12 free safety and is going to have to match or surpass his four interception output from a year ago. Field position will also be a critical thing to watch as Baylor will be without All-Big 12 punter Spencer Roth, who graduated. Freshman Andrew Galitz is going to have to hit the ground running as hidden yardage could be the difference in key games late in the season.

The Bottom Line:
In order to leave zero doubt with the college football playoff committee, the Bears need to run the table and go undefeated. Outside of a visit from a tough defensive minded West Virginia team, Baylor won’t be tested until the final month of the season. On November 5th, a trip to Manhattan awaits for the Bears as a pesky Kansas State team will test them but not be able to pull off the upset. The season, quite frankly, is going to come down to a two game road trip to Oklahoma State and TCU within a week’s time. Stillwater has never been an easy place for the Bears to win, but for them to move forward as a program they need to step up and win. The day after Thanksgiving brings the rematch with TCU in Fort Worth as both Baylor and the Horned Frogs will be looking to outdo last year’s 61-58 instant classic in Waco.

Projected Bowl: Sugar Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 215.5 (27th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 365.9 (4, 1)
Total Offense: 581.5 (1, 1)
Scoring Offense: 48.2 (1, 1)
Rushing Defense: 117.7 (16, 3)
Pass Defense: 264.2 (107, 7)
Total Defense: 381.8 (50, 4)
Scoring Defense: 25.5 (48, 4)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (7, 2)
Sacks: 2.85 (17, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.85 (47, 4)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#8 Spencer Drango
#25 Shawn Oakman
#37 Andrew Billings
#83 Xavien Howard
#92 Corey Coleman

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#45 Jarrett Stidham


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