WACO, Texas (AP) — Bryce Petty took a bruising shot to his lower back on No. 10 Baylor’s first offensive drive in its new riverfront stadium.
The reigning Big 12 offensive player of the year then moved gingerly at times, often grabbing at his back and side between plays the rest of the first half.
Petty still managed to have a big impact in the impressive debut of McLane Stadium, accounting for three touchdowns in a 45-0 victory over SMU on Sunday night. He did not play in the second half.
“It’s nothing that serious. Everything’s good,” Petty insisted afterward. “I’m already feeling a lot better.”
While he missed on a couple of passes he would usually complete, Petty was 13 of 23 for 161 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score that put the Bears (1-0) up 31-0 by halftime.
“He had a couple of throws — he had guys in space and missed them. We knew something was wrong, that’s not Bryce at all,” coach Art Briles said.
The way their defense played, the Big 12 champion Bears really didn’t need that much offense anyway.
SMU’s three quarterbacks were sacked a combined eight times. The Mustangs (0-1) were held to 67 total yards, their fewest since coach June Jones took over in 2008, and shut out for the second time in their last three games.
“What allowed the game to be won tonight, the way we dominated defensively,” Briles said.
Jones’ predecessor at SMU was Phil Bennett, who is in his fourth season as Baylor’s defensive coordinator.
“We scripted a lot of things to get the ball out quickly but we did not do what we needed to do to win,” Jones said. “It’s hard for a quarterback to step back and throw anything when he doesn’t have time.”
On the day a statue of Robert Griffin III was dedicated, Petty extended his streak with at least one touchdown pass to a school-record 14 games, breaking a tie with Baylor’s only Heisman Trophy winner.
Griffin was on hand for the Bears’ first game on campus since 1935. The Washington Redskins quarterback took part in the statue dedication more than three hours before kickoff and was also on the field before the game, giving the invocation and taking part in the opening coin toss with former President George W. Bush.
Baylor led 24-0 after the first quarter, including TD drives of 6 yards after an SMU fumble and 4 yards after Levi Norwood’s 45-yard punt return.
Baylor’s first short drive came after Bryce Hager forced a fumble that was recovered by Aiavion Edwards at the Mustangs 6. Shock Linwood scored on a 4-yard run.
SMU then went three-and-out before Linwood’s return set up Petty’s 3-yard TD pass to tight end Tre’von Armstead.
Petty threw a 46-yard TD to freshman KD Cannon, wide open behind the secondary, after SMU’s incomplete pass on a fourth-and-13 play.
The Mustangs turned it over in their own territory again when Matt Davis, after scrambling out of the grasp of a defender, tried to throw across the field while running away from another one. He threw into a crowd and was intercepted by Xavien Howard.
Petty then had completions of 15 and 13 yards to Jay Lee before his 5-yard TD run made it 31-0. Petty got hit again in the side going into the end zone and was slow getting up, though he played two more series after that.
The Mustangs completed 21 of 39 passes for only 91 yards, also a low for Jones at SMU. The trio of quarterbacks — starter Neal Burcham, Davis and redshirt freshman Kolney Cassel — had minus-58 yards rushing on 10 carries — including all the sacks.
“I had planned on playing two quarterbacks. I knew it was a limited package for Matt as to what he wanted to do,” Jones said. “When our protection broke down I could tell that he was not sure of what he was doing. He didn’t have a chance. He was fighting, scrambling trying to get away.”
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