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Baylor WR Corey Coleman to undergo surgery for sports hernia; will miss bowl game

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Baylor’s Biletnikoff Award-winning wide receiver Corey Coleman will miss the Russell Athletic Bowl against North Carolina. Coleman will be undergoing a surgical procedure to address a sports hernia, Baylor head coach Art Briles announced Saturday.Briles also confirmed running back Shock Linwood (knee) and quarterback Jarrett Stidham (ankle) will be out for the bowl game.

Briles said Coleman was injured before Baylor’s game against Oklahoma on November 14. That would help explain why Coleman’s production took a nosedive in the final month of the season, although Baylor’s quarterback situation exploded as well. After putting together 216 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State, Coleman failed to catch more than five passes in a game or accumulate more than 77 yards in a game. He has not scored a touchdown since that Nov. 5 Kansas State game.

The loss of Stidham for the bowl game was not a surprise, as Briles previously commented that Chris Johnson will be expected to start the bowl game anyway and he was not optimistic about Stidham being read due to an ankle injury. Briles did say the 2015 season-opening starter, Seth Russell, should be good to go for spring football at Baylor, which is very encouraging news.

QB Chris Johnson to start for Baylor in Russell Athletic Bowl

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Baylor’s quarterback position has been hit hard this season, but at least it will get to end the year with an actual quarterback playing the position in the bowl game. Baylor head coach Art Briles has confirmed Chris Johnson will be expected to start for the Bears in the Russell Athletic Bowl against North Carolina. According to The Orlando Sentinel, Briles said quarterback Jarrett Stidham will not be ready to play in the game as he works his way back from an ankle injury.

“It doesn’t look like he’s going to be ready,” Briles said of Stidham, who himself replaced Seth Russell as a starter once he went down with a season-ending neck injury midway through the season.

“Play for everybody out there on the field except for yourself and be a great leader and a great competitor,” Briles said of Johnson. “He’s done an admirable job. He’s made some mistakes, which are understandable, but we sure feel like we can go out and win with him.”

Johnson has appeared in eight games, in which he has completed 39.5 percent of his pass attempts for 220 yards and three touchdowns with a pair of interceptions thrown. The extra time to prepare Johnson to run the Baylor offense will come in handy, rather than throwing him right into the fire in games against Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas with a Big 12 championship on the line.

Texas holds on for momentum-building upset of QB-depleted No. 12 Baylor

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Odds are we may not see too many seasons in which Texas beats two top 15 teams away from home in the same season and does not go to a bowl game. Folks, you may have just witnessed history.

Texas (5-7, 4-5) ended a losing season without a bowl game with a rather important victory in Waco by upsetting No. 12 Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) with a 23-17 victory that nearly got away from them in the second half. Texas built a 20-0 lead at halftime but Baylor managed to make a run at the Longhorns despite having their third-string quarterback knocked out of the game and having to run the offense with a wide receiver.

Baylor lost third-string quarterback Chris Johnson during the game, with Johnson having to leave the game due to concussion symptoms. That left Baylor without a passing option, which is a rare occurrence for Art Briles. Junior wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne took over in the emergency situation, and Baylor nearly escaped with the win. Hawthorne completed 10 of 22 pass attempts for 64 yards and was picked off twice.

Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown and he added 52 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground to help Texas score the upset. Star Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman, who was recognized on the field before the game along with Baylor’s seniors, caught seven passes for 49 yards.

Texas now enters the pool of 5-7 teams that will hope to get an invite to the postseason fun. That invitation is not likely at all to reach Austin though with a number of teams already sitting in front in the waiting line based on APR scores. So the focus for Charlie Strong will now shift to 2016, and it should be a critical one for Strong. He will do so with a bit of a signature win, or at least one to build momentum moving forward.

Over the more recent years Texas has seen everyone catch up or pass them among power conference threats, including Baylor. To be able to end a season with a win against Baylor, even if it was largely because Baylor was playing with a wide receiver under center, should be used as fuel for the offseason for Strong and the Longhorns. Texas is the program that must catch the competition right now, but at least they can sell the idea they can compete on the same field and start to try winning back momentum in the state. Maybe this was a fluke, but Texas should not treat it as such.

With the loss, Baylor’s chances of playing int he New Years Six lineup have been shredded. With Baylor out, and Oklahoma very likely to be selected to play in the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 will be expected to be represented in the Sugar Bowl by Oklahoma State. Baylor’s bowl destination will fall outside the New Years Six with the Alamo Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl possibilities.

TCU’s Boykin improving, Baylor’s Stidham questionable for Big 12 clash

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What was supposed to be one of the top games of the year on the college football calendar has been diminished in its importance this week as it relates to the national championship and Big 12 picture, but that will not stop Baylor and TCU from going all out for a win this weekend. Unfortunately, both teams are facing some injury concerns with their starting quarterbacks in the days leading up to the game.

On Monday, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said his starting quarterback, Trevone Boykin, is still not 100 percent ready to go but is showing signs of improvement. Boykin did not play against Oklahoma this past weekend in Norman. Boykin is working his way back from an ankle injury suffered a couple of weeks ago against Kansas. If Boykin is unavailable to play against the Bears, TCU will likely go with Bram Kohlhausen at quarterback. Kohlhausen came off the sideline to lead a late TCU rally against the Sooners that nearly led to a victory (a two-point conversion attempt that would have won the game was knocked down).

In Waco, Art Briles is hoping his backup quarterback will be good to go against the Horned Frogs. Freshman Jarrett Stidham, who has filled in for an injured Seth Russell, is questionable for this weekend, and Briles appears to be less than optimistic about his chances of playing.

Stidham rallied after getting roughed up in a loss to Oklahoma the previous week. Before leaving the game with Oklahoma State with an injury, Stidham passed for 258 yards and a touchdown and picked up 36 rushing yards on seven rushing attempts to help Baylor rebound from its first loss of the season. Chris Johnson stepped in to lead the offense after Stidham left the game, and he completed five of his 10 pass attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns with one interception thrown.

As the week goes by, both teams will be closely monitoring the status of their quarterbacks. Baylor still remains lurking in the College Football Playoff picture, even by a hair at this point with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State playing this week to determine the true Big 12 champion. TCU is out of the discussion with two losses but can still play spoiler. TCU also has a revenge factor after letting one slip away against Baylor last season for their only loss of the year, which likely prevented TCU from entering the playoff.

Baylor QB Seth Russell to undergo season-ending surgery

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After getting banged up in Baylor’s latest victory en route to a possible Big 12 championship run, starting quarterback Seth Russell will see his season come to a premature end. Baylor announced this afternoon Russell will undergo season-ending surgery on his neck. The decision to move forward with the surgery was made after meeting with a specialist, leaving with the recommendation of going through with surgery for a more secure long-term future. According to a release from Baylor, the recovery period for the surgery typically takes about six months, meaning Russell will be out for the remainder of Baylor’s 2015 season and possibly at least some of the spring football practices.

“Seth exemplifies the spirit and will of our football team,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said, “and through this our team will keep that spirit alive and well for him.”

Russell injured his cervical vertebra during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Iowa State. His season will end having thrown 2,104 yards and 29 touchdowns as well as 402 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. With Russell now on the shelf for the remainder of Baylor’s promising 2015 season, the fate of the Bears now falls in the hands of freshman Jarrett Stidham. Stidham, a four-star recruit in Baylor’s Class of 2015 and a former commit to Texas Tech, has appeared in all seven games in relief of Russell this season. In his relatively limited action, Stidham has thrown for 331 yards and six touchdowns without an interception, while completing 24 of 28 pass attempts.

Baylor made some roster adjustments in the offseason to help make room for Stidham as a possible starter this season by moving Chris Johnson to wide receiver. That allowed Baylor to bump Stidham to No. 2 ion the depth chart. Johnson will slide back to the quarterback position as the new backup behind Stidham, according to a Baylor statement.

Baylor is off this week. The Bears return to action on Thursday, November 5 at Kansas State. The Wildcats have struggled this season but will also be coming off a bye week to prepare for the game. There are not too many environments that could be more difficult of a setting to make a debut as a starting quarterback than Kansas State will be for Stidham, but Briles should feel confident in having enough pieces around his quarterback to help make for a moderately painless transition as Baylor looks to keep their Big 12 and College Football Playoff hopes alive.