Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Here Comes CJ

Photo courtesy of Tim Heitman (USA Today Sports)
True freshman QB Jarrett Stidham was quickly thrust into the drivers' seat when starting QB Seth Russell broke a bone in his neck in October. When the news was announced that Seth would be out for the season, every sports analyst and fan doubted Stidham's skill and ability to take the Bears where Seth could. Jarrett played in every one of the Bears' games either during garbage time or in a starting position. In 10 games, Stidham had 75 completions of 109 attempts for 1,265 yards with 12 TDs and two INTs. His stats spoke well for the true freshman's skills, but he was taken down on a hard hit during the Oklahoma State game and was ruled out for the season with a broken fibula along with hand and back injuries. Things were starting to look bleak for the Bears in their journey toward a third consecutive Big 12 Championship, until third string QB Chris Johnson stepped in.

Chris Johnson was the fifth ranked dual-threat QB in 2012. He enrolled at Baylor in January 2013 and redshirted his freshman year to maintain eligibility. Johnson didn't see one snap for a year until he was able to play in four of 13 games in the 2014 season. When Seth Russell won the starting QB position for the 2015 team, Johnson's chance to be named his backup was taken by true freshman Stidham. At third string QB, it didn't seem likely for 6'5 235 lb Johnson to play at captain, so he switched over to WR- a position he would maintain until Russell went down. After Russell's injury, Johnson was changed back to QB on the depth chart behind Stidham. Stidham was hurt quickly in the Stillwater after a late hit in the Oklahoma game deeply bruised his back. This time, it was his hand, back, and a broken fibula that left Stidham hobbling off the field. It was finally CJ's time.

Three years and two different positions later, Johnson got the playing time he deserved. He started with a beautiful pass to WR KD Cannon (ruled incomplete), which was the first of many incredible connections between Johnson and his receivers. He ended his first drive at QB with a 39 yard TD pass to WR Jay Lee at the beginning of the third quarter. The crowd went wild. Fans on both sides of the field were left wondering "Who is #13?" Jaws dropped when the third string QB threw another deep ball to Cannon for a 71 yard TD to end the third quarter. Johnson showed his physical speed and strength as well as he rushed past defenders and stole many first downs for the Bears.

Today, Stidham was officially ruled out for the remainder of the regular season and CJ will be the Bears' starting QB. With two games left (one in Fort Worth for the biggest rivalry in Texas) and two QBs out with season-ending injuries, the Baylor team is putting their trust in arguably one of our most talented QBs to date. No, he hasn't truly started in a game in his college career, but Johnson has the speed and strength to shut down any team in the country.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CFP Week Four Rankings

The fourth installment of the CFP rankings is here and there have been some major changes. Unlike last week's rankings, in which the top four remained the same, both the #3 and #4 teams have dropped out of the top. With a miraculous loss to the Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State dropped from #3 to #8 and Notre Dame fell two spots from #4. The Oklahoma Sooners jumped a whole four spots after a nasty win against a banged up TCU team and Iowa secured their place in the top four while remaining undefeated. After Baylor beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater, the formerly undefeated Cowboys fell five spots while the Bears were propelled from #10 to #7.

The Bears will face off against bitter TCU rivals in Fort Worth on Friday and shouldn't worry about the rankings at this point. The team must win against both the Horned Frogs and the upcoming Longhorns while cheering for Oklahoma State to beat Oklahoma in Bedlam. If the Bears win out and the Sooners lose, Baylor will secure their third consecutive Big 12 Championship!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The New In Kate Spade Picks

Kate Spade has consistently created beautiful handbag collections throughout the years, but this Fall features some of my favorites. I've mentioned a few times on TIN that I need a new bag for Autumn/Winter and these three are my top picks. The beautiful navy Chaplin Drive Heloise is classic and stunning. I usually go for black bags during this time of year, but a navy one is a modern take on a classic shade. I love the simplistic gold bow on the front and the all leather detail around the purse. If it were a tad cheaper, I would be handing over my credit card in a heartbeat! This pink Cedar Street Mini Nora is a standard Noelle bag because of its cute shape and all season appropriate shade. I love the boxy shape of the purse and the chain link strap. This oxblood Cedar Street Maise is one of my favorite styles of all time. Oxblood is my go-to color during the Autumn/Winter time and this everyday bag adds class to any outfit.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Recap

The year 1939 holds many notable events such as the start of World War II, the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the birth of legendary football coach Bill Snyder, and the last time that Baylor football beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The curse of Stillwater has resonated with the Bears for 76 years and finally, after nearly eight decades, the curse has been broken! The Baylor Bears played their best overall game of the season (and of the past two seasons in my opinion) and destroyed Oklahoma State's 10-0 record and any hope they had of a spot in the College Football Playoff. Many of the Bears' starters have been beat up within the past few weeks with starting QB Seth Russell, DTs Beau Blackshear and Byron Bonds, and S Orion Stewart and Terrell Burt all out with injuries, but the Bears overcame their adversities to earn a historic road win in Oklahoma.

Although he injured his back on a late hit during the Oklahoma game, QB Jarrett Stidham threw deep passes with beautiful accuracy. During the first play of the game, Stidham threw a 48 yard pass to WR Corey Coleman, which set the Bears up for a five yard TD by RB Shock Linwood. Less than three minutes later, WR KD Cannon caught a 59 yard TD pass from Stidham, creating a 14 point lead over the Cowboys. The usually-quick offense took a longer route running 13 plays for 83 yards before RB Devin Chafin could haul in a one yard TD in the beginning of the second quarter. The Baylor offense extended their lead to 10 points with a 34 yard field goal by Chris Callahan. Stidham completed 12 of 21 pass attempts for 258 yards and one TD in the first half before injuring his wrist, fibula, and back. He was limping toward the locker room during halftime and wouldn't return to the game at all in the second half.

The defense shone brightly throughout the entire game with six sacks while holding the Oklahoma State offense to only eight rushing yards. LB Grant Campbell recovered a fumble during the Cowboys' first possession and hauled it in for a TD that would be called back. This quick move by Campbell set the tone for the defense's aggressive performance in the game. Forcing seven consecutive punts and consistently putting pressure on Cowboys' QB Mason Rudolph, the Defensive line played their best game of the year. Rudolph was sacked for a loss of four yards during the beginning of the first quarter by LB Taylor Young, which began the series of pressure by the defensive linemen. DE Shawn Oakman sacked Rudolph for a loss of two yards and was followed by a rushed sack by LB Aiavion Edwards two plays later. Edwards ran straight up the middle as the Cowboys' offensive line broke apart and sacked Rudolph in a very Bryce Hager-like manner. DC Phil Bennett needs to start giving Edwards more big plays like this one. A huge play in the beginning of the second quarter was completed when NB Travon Blanchard sacked Rudolph for a loss of nine yards at the OSU49, which forced the Cowboys to punt the ball in the first of their seven consecutive punts. Rudolph was sacked by Edwards for a loss of six yards and then by DT Andrew Billings for a loss of 10 yards before being penalized for intentional grounding. Billings followed suit with a Rudolph sack for a loss of seven yards in the beginning of the third quarter. DE Jamal Palmer sacked Rudolph for a loss of six yards to hold the OK-State rushing offense to only eight yards in the game. The secondary was on target all night with CBs Ryan Reid and Xavien Howard and S Chance Waz breaking up deep passes and keeping tight coverage on the WRs.

The star of the night was none other than third string QB Chris Johnson who started in the second half after Stidham's injuries took over. He stepped in and immediately starting throwing deep passes- as any Baylor QB would- and completed five of 10 attempts for 138 yards and two TDs. Johnson has been listed at WR for the whole season but stepped up to the plate when Stidham couldn't. His large frame: 6'5 and 235 lbs, strong arm, and quick feet make him the perfect candidate to step in at QB. Thanks to Johnson in the second half, the Bears prevailed and showed that they can be dominant on both sides of the ball. Baylor Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Performance Kaz Kazadi always says that we don't have any backups on the team and on that freezing night in Stillwater, Chris Johnson proved the accuracy of that point.

The Bears will play TCU on November 27th in Fort Worth at 6:30 pm.
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