Petty leads No. 8 Baylor in 63-21 rout of Buffalo
AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) Bryce Petty's back feels fine, and the Baylor Bears can breathe easy.
The senior quarterback showed no signs of being affected by two cracked bones in his back by leading No. 8 Baylor to a 63-21 win over Buffalo on Friday night. Petty showed he was capable of carrying the Bears' explosive offense by completing 23 of 34 attempts for 416 yards and four touchdowns through three quarters.
''A lot of answered prayers,'' said Petty, who was hurt in a season-opening 45-0 win against SMU two weeks ago.
Petty completed his first nine attempts for 197 yards, and even showed he could take a few hits by running the ball twice for 11 yards.
''I kind of wanted that, to be honest with you,'' Petty said of getting tackled. ''I really wanted that just to go ahead and have the confidence that it's going to be OK.''
Coach Art Briles was pleased with how his quarterback immediately settled in.
''This was kind of a coming out party, and I thought he was exceptional,'' Briles said. ''That's the Bryce that we're used to knowing.''
Same could be said about the potent Bears, who have now outscored their opponents 178-27 this season.
Baylor scored on its first four possessions on its way to a 35-0 halftime lead. Baylor had more touchdowns (five) than Buffalo had first downs (four) through two quarters.
Shock Linwood had 97 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Lynx Hawthorne and Jay Lee each caught two touchdowns passes, and 18-year-old freshman KD Cannon added to his highlight-reel resume with an electrifying 89-yard touchdown catch.
The Bears, coming off a 70-6 win over FCS' Northwestern State, showed no signs of fatigue in their third game in 13 days after blowing out their first two opponents at home.
The Mid-American Conference Bulls (1-2) are no strangers to being routed by Baylor after a 70-13 loss at Waco, Texas, last season.
They didn't fare much better in their rematch at home until the game was essentially over.
Buffalo scored twice on consecutive possessions in the third quarter. Joe Licata hit Devon Hughes for 41-yard touchdown pass, and Anthone Taylor scored on a 41-yard run.
The touchdowns were the first surrendered by the Bears this year.
Licata was 14 of 21 for 171 yards, and Hughes had six catches for 72 yards. Backup quarterback Tony Daniel closed the scoring with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Robinson.
''We can play with any team in the country. The only team that can beat us is ourselves,'' Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn said. ''There were some moments in tonight's contest we didn't deliver our best performance.''
The Bears grabbed control during a four-play stretch six minutes into the game.
With Buffalo facing third-and-7 on its opening drive, Licata found Marcus McGill wide open up the right sideline only to have the ball bounce off the receiver's fingers.
Buffalo was forced to punt, and the Bears capitalized. Petty made it 14-0 by hitting a wide-open Cannon, who burst past defensive back Okezie Alozie up the right sideline.
Cannon, an 18-year-old freshman, continues to provide a big-play threat. He had five catches for 171 yards a week after finishing with six catches for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
Cannon's emergence has been key for a Bears offense that's missing four key receivers. Antwan Goodley (quadriceps), Levi Norwood (wrist), Corey Coleman (hamstring) and Clay Fuller (broken collarbone) all sat out.
''Everyone I started out the summer with isn't on the field right now,'' Petty said, referring to his depleted group of receivers. ''It's kind of weird. But I thought those guys did a great job of just stepping up.''
Baylor has now topped 40 points in four straight games dating to last season, and 28 of its past 35.
The defending Big 12 champs now get a two-week break before opening their conference schedule at Iowa State on Sept. 27.
The Bears finished with 669 yards of offense and 27 first downs. Their quick-strike attack was on track with six of nine scoring drives lasting less than two minutes.