WACO, Texas — When Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty drops back in the pocket for a pass, he’s the safest man in Texas.
Petty hasn’t been sacked this season. Neither has backup Seth Russell or Chris Johnson, the other quarterbacks who have thrown passes for the seventh-ranked Bears (4-0, 1-0 Big 12).
“It means that I can pretty much sit back there and make a picnic,” Petty said.
“I have to make a lot of cookies and desserts. … I haven’t gotten touched since we’ve started, and they’re very aware of that and let me know that.”
That Baylor line is a perfect 0 for 162, not allowing a sack even with the Bears averaging just more than 40 pass attempts a game. New Mexico State is the only other FBS team that hasn’t given up a sack.
Right tackle Troy Baker said that is the goal every time they are on the field, but the line’s objective in pass protection is more than just preventing sacks.
“We’re trying to make sure there’s no QB hurries and that Bryce doesn’t get touched,” Baker said. “Sacks are kind of the last one of those three [goals]. He can still get hurried, and it can negatively affect the play. So, our goal is for him to be as calm as possible back there, just so he can drop dimes. Bryce takes great care of us.”
The front line in the nation’s top offense will get quite a test Saturday at Texas (2-2, 1-0). The Longhorns have 17 sacks, with a dozen of those coming from tackles or ends. They rank second in the Big 12, right behind the 18 sacks by Baylor’s defense.
“They’re going to have a good week this week,” Petty said of his offensive line. “I’m excited to see the challenge that they’re about to face with their front four from Texas. … It’s going be a lot of challenges all over the field, it is what you play for.”
Petty, the Big 12 offensive player of the year when the Bears won their first league title last season, has completed 66 of 101 passes in his three games as a senior. Russell is 33 of 57 passing as the only quarterback who has played in every game — starting the one Petty missed because of two small cracked bones in his back after getting hit on a read-option run in the opener. Both have seven touchdown passes with one interception.
Johnson, the freshman, has completed all four of his attempts. Opposing defenses have been credited with only eight quarterback hurries against the Bears’ QB trio.
Along with zero sacks while passing for 401.2 yards per game, only a half-yard behind West Virginia for the Big 12 lead, the Bears are the league’s top rushing offense with 240 yards per game and 18 touchdowns.
“The offense is fun and explosive,” left tackle Spencer Drango said. “It’s fun to be a part of that show.”
In a 49-28 win last Saturday at Iowa State, Baylor threw 50 passes and had 47 rushes for 244 yards with six TD runs, two of them by Petty.
“They get the ball out awfully fast, so sometimes you couldn’t sack ’em with nobody blocking,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “They’re massive people up front, and they do a nice job of faking the run game, and then executing the run game to help buy them time as well, and maybe keep you on your heels a little bit, or not as aggressive.”
— Max Olson (@max_olson) August 12, 2014