Baylor overcomes off day, survives scare at K-State

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For most teams, scoring 35 points would be a solid day on offense.

Not for No. 15 Baylor.

The Bears were averaging an absurd 71 points per game before Saturday but were held to about half its average in beating a spirited Kansas State squad, 35-25, on the road.

The numbers for Baylor were a bit odd. The Bears had just 15 first downs, its fewest since also getting 15 in the third game of the 2010 season, but Baylor still put up 446 yards of offense. This can be explained by the quick-strike nature of the Bears attack as quarterback Bryce Petty threw touchdown passes of 93, 72 and 54 yards. Petty averaged an astounding 27.6 yards per completion — is it any wonder he leads the nation in passing efficiency?

For all the explosiveness of Baylor’s offense, Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams was almost the hero in this one. He rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns — part of a 326-yard rushing effort by K-State — as the Wildcats held the ball for over 39 minutes. If you are going to beat the Bears, you have to keep the ball way from them…and the Wildcats almost got it done.

The third quarter belonged to Kansas State, which bounced back from a 21-10 halftime deficit to take a 25-21 lead thanks to two Sams touchdowns. But the fourth quarter belonged to Baylor and Petty’s 54-yard strike to Tevin Reese 27 seconds into the quarter turned out to be the deciding points.

It’s the second-straight close loss for Kansas State (2-4), but on the bright side it may have found its quarterback in Sams, though the Wildcats still made use of Jake Waters, who is a more adept passer. Perhaps a combination of the two will work best going forward.

As for Baylor (5-0), it showed it can overcome adversity in a hostile environment. It wasn’t as pretty as most wins for the Bears, but it will pay dividends down the road. If Baylor is going to challenge for the Big 12 title, it has to learn to win games like these.

With Iowa State and Kansas on tap the next two weeks, Baylor should be 7-0 when it hosts Oklahoma on Nov. 7.  If the Bears get by the Sooners and we might be looking at another miracle season in Waco.

Kansas planning $300 million stadium renovation and new indoor football facility

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No matter how good or bad your football team is nowadays, chances are high that your school is planning to upgrade football facilities in order to keep up with the burgeoning college athletics arms race.

Case in point lies in Lawrence, where Kansas is set to embark on a whopping $300 million renovation of Memorial Stadium that will also include an indoor practice facility. AD Sheahon Zenger disclosed the plans on Wednesday night while speaking at a booster function, according to the Kansas City Star.

“It will be something that will be just that next step in transcending our program to the next level,” Jayhawks head coach David Beaty reportedly said. “We really do have to keep up with the facility war that goes on out there.”

Memorial Stadium is one of the older stadiums in the Big 12, dating back to the 1921 opening of the site. While there have been a handful of updates in the past few years, there hasn’t really been much of a major renovation since 1998-99. Plans for the updated design and any additional features should be unveiled in September based on the timeline that Zenger disclosed.

No word on if Kansas is planning on adding any waterfalls to project just yet however.

Arkansas State stadium expansion includes pair of waterfalls

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The college athletics’ arms race of the past few decades has produced a number of unique designs when it comes to various stadiums and other football-centric facilities. Just about everybody is trying to hang their hat on something new and different to set themselves apart from the crowd and that ethos is seemingly creeping into just about every design element in any new building across the country.

Arkansas State appears to be the latest program to go in this direction and, based on new renderings of a north end zone project for Centennial Bank Stadium that were released on Thursday, the school is perfectly content to ignore TLC’s advice and start chasing actual waterfalls.

“This project will allow us to attract the top students in the country and provide first-class services to develop our students on and off the playing surfaces,” athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement on the school’s website for the project. “Additionally, we’ve created a unique feature to pay homage to the great state of Arkansas, the Natural State.”

This is far from the only water feature to be incorporated into a stadium in recent years (Jacksonville’s EverBank Field — home to the annual Florida-Georgia game — has a pool after all) but is a little bit outside the box for a smaller FBS school’s stadium. The two waterfalls are set to be placed on either side of the north end zone grandstand and include a new outdoor premium seating area as well. Also included in the project are a new weight room, a training/rehabilitation area, new football locker room, position meeting rooms, a players’ lounge, academic rooms and team-theater meeting area.

No cost breakdown or timeline were given but safe to say the former will involve millions of dollars and the latter will result in several years passing before the water is flowing in Jonesboro.

Virginia stays in-house to fill coaching void

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Bronco Mendenhall didn’t have to look far to find someone to fill the hole on his Virginia coaching staff.

The football program announced in a press release that Mendenhall has promoted Vic So’oto (pictured, No. 37) to defensive line coach.  Last season, his first with the Cavaliers, So’oto, who played his college football for Mendenhall at BYU from 2005-10, served as a graduate assistant.

So’oto replaces Ruffin McNeill, who left Charlottesville earlier this month for a spot on Lincoln Riley‘s staff at Oklahoma.

“Vic was Ruffin’s understudy for the last year-and-a-half,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “He was my very first commitment at BYU when I became the head coach. He was a very good player for us and someone who has experience playing in the NFL.

“He’s very passionate. He is very knowledgeable about defensive football and our system. He knows the defensive line play in our system, inside and out. He’s a great teacher and fits perfectly and seamlessly into this position because he was taught and mentored by Ruff this past year. Our defensive front won’t miss a beat.”

Kerry Coombs adds assistant DC to Ohio State coaching responsibilities

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Heading into the 2017 season, Kerry Coombs will have an additional title on his coaching résumé.

Ohio State announced Thursday that Coombs has been promoted to assistant coordinator, defense, by Urban Meyer.  Coombs will retain his titles of special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach as well.

Greg Schiano will remain in his role as defensive coordinator.

“Kerry Coombs is absolutely deserving of this promotion to assistant coordinator, defense,” the head coach said in a statement. “He is an outstanding coach, instructor and mentor to the young men in this program. He is one of the best recruiters in the nation. He is incredibly loyal, and we at Ohio State are very fortunate that he loves this school and loves being a Buckeye.”

Coombs will be entering his sixth season with the Buckeyes, one of two assistants, the other being wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who have been with Meyer all five of his seasons in Columbus.

The past two years, three of Coombs’ corners — Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley in 2017, Eli Apple in 2016 — have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Another, Bradley Roby, was taken in the first round of the 2014 draft.