Baylor football has put up some mind-boggling offensive statistics in 2013. Through six games, its second-lowest output is 69 points. Those numbers have left the Bears with something not too many teams have ever been able to claim—four legitimate Heisman contenders halfway through a season.
That list includes quarterback Bryce Petty, running back Lache Seastrunk and receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese.
The only one who is still listed in top-five or top-10 lists is Petty, but if you take a close look at these other guys’ stats, it’s impossible to say they don’t at least have an outside shot.
Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel are the favorites, according to HeismanPundit, but nothing is even close to being settled.
Here’s a look at the four Baylor Bears who still have a shot to make that trip to New York come December.
Like I said before, Petty is currently Baylor’s top Heisman candidate.
Rob Nelson of ESPN Stats & Info put together a comparison of Petty and Baylor’s 2011 Heisman-winner Robert Griffin III. And surprisingly, Petty’s stats are actually quite favorable to Griffin’s.
Nelson notes that Griffin’s opponent-adjusted QBR was 83.2, while Petty’s is currently 95.1. Petty also averages more yards per attempt (14.9 to Griffin’s 10.7) and is more successful at throwing the ball downfield, which was arguably Griffin’s greatest asset.
No one is ready to declare Petty’s season is better than RG3’s in 2011, but to even be seriously comparing stats is a signal that Petty has been great for the Bears.
Seastrunk was right in the hunt with Petty until being bottled up against Kansas State, but I’m guessing the man who declared himself a Heisman favorite isn’t going down without a fight.
Seastrunk has posted some gaudy numbers, but what has hurt him is that Baylor has jumped out to big leads. Understandably, that’s put Seastrunk back on the sideline.
Despite the fact that he’s really only played in the second half of one game (Kansas State), the Lache Show is still among the nation’s leaders on the ground. His 10 touchdown runs rank sixth in the nation, and he is ninth with 126.7 rushing yards per game.
Assuming the Bears play in some closer games this season, Seastrunk will get more carries. That means more yards and a chance to run toward his Heisman dream.
The only downside to an increase in carries will likely be a lowered yards per carry average. Right now he goes for 9.2 yards per touch—but really, who am I to say that will even go down?
Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese
These two are paired together for a variety of reasons: They are Petty’s favorite targets; they are the Baylor wide receiver versions of “thunder and lightning” (Seastrunk and Glasco Martin are the original, running back version); and it’s hard to talk about one without the other.
Baylor senior safety Ahmad Dixon summed up the Goodley-Reese duo pretty well in an interview with Jerry Hill of Baylor Bear Insider.
I have to be honest with you, sometimes they get us. We just look at (defensive coordinator Phil Bennett), and we're like, "Sorry, Coach, there's nothing we can really do about that."
There's not really anything any team can "do about that."
Baylor’s offense has recorded a ridiculous number of huge plays this season for touchdowns. If it seems like you can’t change the channel without Baylor scoring again, it’s probably because it’s true.
More often than not, those big plays are passes falling into the hands of Goodley or Reese.
Let’s start with Goodley.
The “thunder” part of the equation, Goodley’s 5'10", 225-pound frame is not prototypical for a wide receiver. His strength allows him to handle any defensive backs who match up with him, but he also has elite speed that makes him a nightmare to cover.
Goodley already has eight TD grabs in 2013 and averages 141.3 yards receiving per game. Those marks are fifth and third in the country, respectively.
His touchdowns are from 27, 83, 63, 65, 61, 72, 4 and 72 yards out. It’s no secret the Bears can score from any part of the field.
Reese is the more experienced of the two, and his numbers aren’t far from what Goodley has done this year. He has six receiving touchdowns and averages 119.0 yards receiving per game.
I might as well throw in that his scores are from 44, 61, 47, 47, 93 and 54 yards.
It’s that big-play ability that will keep Goodley and Reese as dark-horse Heisman candidates. It would be no surprise if one of them turns in a 300-yard game with 4-plus scores. If this happens, analysts will throw them into the Heisman picture.
As we head to the second half of the college football season, there are still plenty of chances for players to step up and have a so-called “Heisman moment.”
RG3’s came at home against Oklahoma on this pass to Terrance Williams.
Can Petty, Seastrunk, Goodley or Reese recreate some magic of their own and give Baylor its second Heisman Trophy in three years?