Nearly two weeks ago the now-ranked No. 16 Baylor Football team secured a thrilling 42-7 victory over Texas State in which freshman RB Richard Reese ran over the entire Bobcats‘ defense for 60 minutes. Whereas the Bears struggled immensely both on the ground and through the air during their second game in Provo, they developed new rhythm with a breakout showing by Reese and sophomore QB Blake Shapen inking far more completions. Texas State repeatedly shot themselves in the foot on offense and despite making it into Baylor territory multiple times, they ended the matchup with only one score. At the time I believed the Bears still had much to improve on with question marks all over the DL, DBs, and WRs, but their progress from first half to second half of the Texas State game was exciting to watch. In that matchup, Reese recorded 19 carries for 156 yards and 3 TDs, which, according to Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa), “was Baylor’s first three-TD rushing effort since Abram Smith did so against BYU in 2021.” That performance inked Reese the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors on September 19! Reese was the third of only three Baylor Football players all-time to be named Newcomer of the Week joining former RB JaMycal Hasty in 2016 and former WR Jalen Hurd in 2018.
This week following an even dicier and more exciting matchup against Iowa State in Ames, 6th year LB Bryson Jackson received Big 12 honors as the Co-Defensive Player of the Week! The Bears earned their first victory in Ames since 2016 (remember our dearest treasure grandpa Jim Grobe?) thanks mostly in part to efforts by Shapen and Jackson! Ever since 2016, the Bears and Cyclones have had a weird competition that’s ended with the winner excelling by only seven points or fewer in five of the last seven games: 2016 — Baylor 45-42; 2019 — Baylor 23-21; 2020 — Iowa State 38-31; 2021 — Baylor 31-29; and 2022 — Baylor 31-24. According to the Big 12 Conference’s news release on the LB’s honors, “Jackson racked up four solo tackles, including two sacks, and a QB hurry in Baylor’s 31-24 win at Iowa State. The linebacker’s two sacks were a career-high and resulted in a loss of seven yards as he played mostly on passing downs. The Bears held their opponent to 30 or fewer points for the 18th consecutive game.”