Players to Watch: Baylor

Blanche Schaefer

Wide receiver Corey Coleman 

Redshirt junior Corey Coleman is one reason Baylor runs the nation’s top scoring offense. He’s the No. 3 receiver in the country with an average of 119.5 yards per game. Coleman is also the Big 12’s leading scorer with 10.9 points per game. Coleman is one of the most explosive players on Baylor’s roster – he’s scored 20 touchdowns for the Bears this season alone. He’s hailed as one of the premier players in college football and was recruited for a variety of positions – Texas wanted him as an athlete and Oklahoma wanted him at cornerback. Now he’s becoming one of the best receivers in Baylor history. But Coleman is not unstoppable. Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all held him to less than 90 yards. He only had one catch for eight yards last week against TCU. The Texas defense has the potential to limit Coleman as well – but it won’t be an easy feat.

Running back Shock Linwood 

Redshirt junior Shock Linwood was the Big 12’s top rusher several weeks ago, but knee and ankle issues slowed him down since Baylor’s win over Oklahoma State. He was listed as “questionable” last week before the TCU game, but managed to grind out 58 yards on 14 carries in the double-overtime Baylor loss. Linwood has rushed for 1,298 yards this season and 10 touchdowns, with a season-high 221 yards against Texas Tech. Texas lost several key defensive players to injuries last week. If Linwood is healthy Saturday, he could gash the depleted Longhorn defense and reclaim his top spot among Big 12 rushers.

Defensive end Shawn Oakman 

Shawn Oakman towers at 6 feet 9 inches and 275 pounds. The massive defensive end anchors the Baylor defense and is one of the most-feared defenders in the conference. He’s No. 2 in the Big 12 in tackles for loss with an average of 1.4 per game. He made headlines last week for a monstrous hit on TCU punter Ethan Perry after Perry fumbled the snap. The Texas offensive line needs to be on overdrive Saturday with Oakman in the trenches.

Quarterback Chris Johnson 

Redshirt sophomore Chris Johnson is the Bears’ third-string quarterback, but he’s proved an asset after season-ending injuries to both starters. Backup freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham broke his ankle two weeks ago against Oklahoma State. Johnson took over in the second half and led then-No. 10 Baylor to a 45-35 upset victory over then-No. 6 and unbeaten Oklahoma State. Johnson passed for 138 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 42 yards and one touchdown. He was less effective last week against TCU, but kept the Bears in the game until the very end – a double-overtime 28-21 loss. Johnson only completed 7-of-24 passes for 62 yards and one touchdown. He was ranked the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback by ESPN out of high school, and he’s also spent some time at receiver for Baylor. Johnson proved his potential in his performance against the Cowboys. His inexperience showed against TCU, and the Texas defense must exploit that weakness if the Longhorns hope to stop the No. 1 scoring offense in the country.