WACO, Texas —
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty knows people will remember November. And he can’t wait.
The 7-0 start for the fifth-ranked Bears before that and their highest ranking in 60 years won’t mean nearly as much without finishing strong in a challenging stretch. They play No. 12 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) on Thursday night, their first ranked opponent this season — and first of three in a row.
“Actually, looking at the schedule before the season, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Petty said. “It’s going to be a very fun stretch, and I say fun just because it’s challenging.”
These Bears (7-0, 4-0), who know they have to prove themselves, are no longer the pushovers in the Big 12. Oklahoma certainly knows that, even though the Sooners have dominated the series, winning 21 of 22 games.
“Obviously, when you look at what they’re doing, and the way they’re scoring, and the quality of defense they’re playing, it’s a challenge,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.
When Oklahoma last visited Waco two years ago, in a nationally televised Saturday night game, Robert Griffin III clinched the Heisman Trophy with a last-minute touchdown pass to give Baylor a 45-38 victory and end the Sooners’ national championship chances.
“For me, personally, it was the moment that the program changed,” said Petty, the Big 12’s leading passer with 350 yards per game, 18 TDs and only one interception. “I think that’s when we knew that we could play with anybody. It didn’t matter who it was. ... It was one of our first games that there was a hype environment and we came through. It’s going to be a very exciting atmosphere kind of like 2011, so hopefully for the same result.”
The Bears have won a school-record 11 games in a row since losing 42-34 at Oklahoma last November. They lead the nation this season with 718 total yards and 64 points a game, reminding some of the up-tempo, high-scoring offense Oklahoma has had in the past.
“Sure it does. Not only with their up-pace tempo, but just the skill,” Stoops said. “They space you out so far and they’ve got excellent speed all over the perimeter, but then they’ve got such a big offensive line with a great running back to run the football. So they do a great job in how they space you out, run the ball and then get the big plays.”