WACO, Texas (AP) — Undefeated Baylor still faces a long, tough road — both on and off the field.
While the eighth-ranked Bears (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) are still without a loss halfway through their season under acting head coach Jim Grobe, they have the toughest part of their schedule left to play.
Away from the games, the university has multiple issues still simmering in the aftermath of claims the school mishandled sexual assault cases for years. The school faces four civil lawsuits and is now under a federal investigation after a complaint filed by the Patty Crawford, the school’s Title IX director who recently resigned.
“Candidly, there’s been some really good days, and there’s been some hard days,” said Mack Rhoades, who took over as the school’s new athletic director in mid-August.
Before the Bears’ last game, about 20 Baylor coaches and staff members almost simultaneously tweeted #truthdontlie — a hashtag previously used for former coach Art Briles — along with a story by KWTX-TV in Waco in which Grobe contradicted a university-issued statement about his role in the dismissal of a junior college transfer.
While acknowledging “some obstacles and hurdles” for the program, Rhoades said Grobe and his assistants are focused on the players.
“They’re focused in and locked in about coaching our kids, about coaching our 107 student-athletes and making sure they’re in the best position to be successful on the field,” Rhoades said. “But here’s what I think is even more important, they’ve also done a great job of making sure our kids are doing the right things off the field as well.”
All the Baylor assistants, including Briles’ son and son-in-law, were retained by Grobe after the two-time Big 12 champion head coach lost his job in May following the release of a 13-page report that stemmed from an independent review.
Baylor is the only FBS team to be 6-0 for the fourth consecutive season.
“We’re happy to be where we are right now, but I think going forward, it’s going to put a little more pressure on our guys,” Grobe said. “The lion’s share of the schedule now is in front of us.”
The only opponent Baylor has played that has a winning record was Oklahoma State, and the Cowboys had two drives in the fourth quarter end inside the 5 in a 35-24 loss in Waco. The other five teams the Bears have played so far have a combined 7-28 record, while their remaining six opponents are a combined 25-16.
“We have to stay focused and relentless,” said Seth Russell, 14-0 as the Bears’ starting quarterback .
“It’s going to be different, just because of the situation we’re in, heat coming on us, different things coming up,” said linebacker Raaquan Davis, who had 15 solo tackles against Kansas. “Everybody’s got to go out and practice, everybody’s got to do the right thing, everybody’s got to stay on each other and be our brother’s keeper, and play well.”
Some other things for Baylor halfway through the season:
Baylor had open dates before and after its 49-7 win over Kansas on Oct. 15. “To us, it just shows everybody on the team that we’re dangerous,” cornerback Ryan Reid said. “We have a bye week — again. We get to rest — again. So everybody else should be should be worried about Baylor — again. So we’re ready.”
Even with four first-time starters on the offensive line, Baylor has allowed only four sacks and is the Big 12’s top rushing team (283 yards per game). “Really, really like our progress on the offensive line,” Grobe said.
Shock Linwood this season became Baylor’s career leader in rushing yards (3,962) and touchdowns (36).
The Bears play only two of their last six games (TCU and Kansas State) in their campus stadium. They play at Texas next Saturday, and still have trips to Oklahoma and West Virginia, along with their annual game in the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL stadium against Texas Tech.
FOURTH AND NONE
Baylor is the only FBS team that that hasn’t allowed a point in the fourth quarter. The Bears have outscored their opponents 45-0 in the fourth quarter, including a 17-point comeback to win 45-42 at Iowa State on a game-ending field goal.