Players to Watch: Baylor

Peter Sblendorio

Senior QB Bryce Petty

Baylor leads the nation in scoring offense, and Petty is the biggest reason why. The Heisman hopeful is off to a torrid start for the Bears, passing for 913 yards and seven touchdowns against just one interception in his first three games. Petty, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2013, has been one of the nation’s most efficient passers in recent history. In his career, he’s thrown for 40 touchdowns against just four interceptions, and he’s never completed fewer than 62 percent of his passes in a season. He’ll likely be the toughest quarterback Texas faces this season.

Sophomore RB Shock Linwood

As a freshman, Linwood starred as Lache Seastrunk’s backup last season, racking up 881 yards and eight touchdowns on just 69 carries. He’s been just as good this year in his first season as the starter, as he’s currently second in the Big 12 with 301 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. The sophomore has scored at least once in every game this season, including last week when he recorded three touchdowns against Iowa State. Linwood has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season despite doing so four times last season. He’ll have a good chance to reach that mark this week against a Texas defense that surrenders an average of 179.2 rushing yards per game so far this season.

Freshman WR KD Cannon

In his first four games, the true freshman emerged as Baylor’s most dangerous receiving threat and Petty’s favorite target. Cannon leads the Bears with 23 receptions, 519 yards and five touchdowns in 2014, and he’s averaged an eye-popping 22.6 yards per reception so far. He’s more than just a home run hitter, though, as he’s hauled in at least six receptions in each of his last three games. Cannon is only 6 feet and 170 pounds, but he more than makes up for it with blazing speed. He’s already recorded two touchdowns of at least 81 yards this season.

Junior DE Shawn Oakman

Baylor’s offense gets most of the publicity, but the defense deserves a lot of credit for the team’s perfect start, too. The Bears allow just 13.8 points per game, eighth best in the nation, and no player has played a bigger role than Oakman. The junior leads the team with four sacks, and he’s also recorded 13 tackles, a pass breakup and three quarterback hits. The 6-foot-9-inch, 280 pound disruptive pass rusher creates a serious mismatch against just about every offensive tackle he faces. He’s primed for a field day this week against the Longhorns’ inexperienced offensive line.