No. 8 Baylor gets week off after 3-0 start

Buffalo wide receiver Devon Hughes (13) runs past Baylor linebacker Aiavion Edwards (20) for a touchdown after a pass reception during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, in Amherst, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Mike Groll

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) The No. 8 Baylor Bears can finally slow down.

After opening the season with three lopsided wins in 13 days, capped by a 63-21 win at Buffalo on Friday night, the defending Big 12 champions get two weeks off before opening their conference schedule Sept. 27 at Iowa State.

The Bears (3-0) have key players who could use the week off to heal injuries, but the healthy players aren't looking forward to the idle time.

''Not really, but it is going to be good for the team,'' running back Shock Linwood said. ''Got a lot of people bruised up. With a week off, we are going to be able to recover and get ready for Iowa State.''

''I still want to play,'' 18-year-old freshman receiver KD Cannon said. ''We've got to get a week off sooner or later, so might as well get one here.''

Coach Al Briles said the bye week comes at an opportune time, even if some players don't realize it.

''I guess they thought they were supposed to say that,'' Briles said. ''We need a week that we can kind of settle down and take care of our bodies and minds and academics and then get ready for a push.''

Quarterback Bryce Petty is still recovering from two cracked bones in his lower back sustained in the season-opening win over Southern Methodist, but was able to return to the field Friday at Buffalo after missing Baylor's previous win over FCS Northwestern State.

''My back feels good,'' Petty said. ''Everybody told me this was a three-week injury, so there were a lot of answered prayers.''

The Bears totaled 669 yards and 27 first downs against Buffalo without four of their top receivers. Antwan Goodley (quadriceps), Levi Norwood (wrist), Corey Coleman (hamstring) and Clay Fuller (broken collarbone) all sat out.

Backups Cannon, Jay Lee and Lynx Hawthorne gave the Bears three receivers with more than 100 yards in the same game for just the second time in program history.

''That's kind of scary, that we had our top four guys out,'' Petty said.

Cannon caught six passes for 189 yards and a touchdown, Jay Lee had nine receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and Hawthorne made seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

''We knew we signed the best receiving class in America and we've got two guys redshirting who are better than people have got on film,'' Briles said. ''It's a luxury we've got them and because we need them with our top four guys out.''

Lee said the receiving corps will benefit from the week off.

''We get Antwan back, Clay back, Levi back,'' he said. ''We just need to get in the training room and do what we've got to do to get right.''

Even with the injuries, Baylor has outscored its first three opponents 177-27 and averaged 654.3 yards per game.

Running back Shock Linwood said there is ''no telling'' how good the Bears offense can be with everyone in the lineup.

''It would be unbelievable for all of us to be healthy,'' Linwood said. ''We're confident that our offense can score at will.''

Baylor's defense has also been dominant. The Bears did not allow a touchdown for 10 quarters until Buffalo scored three times in the second half Friday.

''We kind of cheated a day to gain a day, traveling here and playing on a Friday night,'' Briles said.

''We he had to go 3-0 in nonconference. We knew we were playing three games in 13 days. We need to put some money in the bank, some gas in the tank, so to speak. Now our goal is to complete the change and get started in the conference.''

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