Bulls take on No. 23 Baylor: The Spectrum’s scouting report
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 23:09
Offensive players to watch:
Lache Seastrunk, junior, running back
Seastrunk is the most prolific player on the Bears (1-0). He’s a preseason first-team All-American running back (by ESPN and cbssports.com) who busted onto the scene midway through last season. Seastrunk averaged 138.5 yards per game over Baylor’s final six games last year, and he kept that hot streak going in Week One of 2013.
In Baylor’s 69-point explosion against Wofford last Saturday, Seastrunk totaled 111 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries. The junior tailback can be found on nearly every notable preseason watch list and will look to extend his school record of five straight 100-yard games when he faces the Bulls.
Tevin Reese, senior, wide receiver
Fifteen of Reece’s 17 career touchdowns have come from 40 yards or more; Reese is much of the reason the Baylor offense has trademarked itself as one of the most explosive in the country.
He enters his senior season on the Biletnikoff Award watch list, he was named to cbssports.com’s preseason second team All-America and he is a consensus Big 12 player-of-the-year candidate. Reese must garner attention from the Bulls’ defensive backs –who gave up deep touchdowns of 47 and 21 yards last week against Ohio State.
Defensive player to watch:
Bryce Hager, junior, linebacker
The Bulls’ Khalil Mack isn’t the only linebacker in this game with NFL prospectus. Hager started in 10 of Baylor’s 13 games last season and still managed to lead the Big 12 in tackles – earning him first team All-Big 12 honors. The son of former Texas All-American and Philadelphia Eagle Britt Hager, Hager carried his momentum into 2013 with a 12-tackle performance (ranks 23rd in NCAA) in Baylor’s opener. Hager and the Bears’ front seven will look to stuff a Bulls’ offense that tries to get the ball to senior running back Branden Oliver early and often.
Key matchup: RB Lache Seastrunk vs. LB Khalil Mack
Seastrunk is a key facet of the Baylor rushing attack that ran for 302 yards and five touchdowns (44 attempts) in Week One. The Bears’ offense ranked second in yards per game in 2012 and 2011, as they pride themselves on a “quick-play” offense. They scored seven touchdowns on drives of two minutes or less against Wofford.
Mack anchors the front seven that will try to derail Baylor’s booming offense. Run defense wasn’t a strength of the Bulls against Ohio State – they gave up 261 yards on 45 attempts – so it’s pivotal for them to clamp down this week.
Predictions: Baylor (-27.5)
Aaron Mansfield, @aaroncmansfield (1-0): Baylor
I like this Bulls team. But Baylor = 13-3 against spread in last 16 home games. Buffalo = 1-7-1 against spread in last nine games following a cover.
Jon Gagnon, @jgags15 (1-0): Baylor
Am I really voting against Khalil Mack? Bears’ run game is too strong and their ‘quick-play’ offense will result in a litany of touchdowns.
Ben Tarhan, @bentarhan (1-0): Buffalo
Baylor allowed 173 rushing yards against an FCS team last week. Look for ground game to open up passing lanes on Saturday.
Owen O’Brien, @owenobri (1-0): Baylor
Although Ohio State is a better overall team than Baylor, Buffalo actually matched up better last week. The Bears’ tempo and experience is bad news.