HOUSTON — Rice had some fun at Baylor’s expense at halftime. The Bears then toyed with the Owls in the second half.
Seth Russell threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns and No. 21 Baylor shrugged off a slow start to beat Rice 38-10 on Friday night after the Rice band mocked the Bears at halftime.
The band formed a Roman numeral IX on the field to represent Title IX, the federal law Baylor is accused of violating in sexual assault scandal, and a shifted to a star formation in reference to Ken Starr, the former Baylor president was demoted and eventually resigned amid the scandal.
Russell was 22 of 38 to help the Bears win their 19th straight regular-season nonconference game and improve to 3-0 for the sixth straight season, a program first.
“We’ve preached start fast, and we haven’t done that the past three games,” Russell said. “It’s pretty disappointing. It’s just something that we can grow on. It’s an aspect of the game we need to get better at.”
KD Cannon caught nine passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Cannon cited the Bears’ youth as a reason for the slow starts.
“Just being young and not knowing what to do,” Cannon said. “It’s something we have to get better at.”
Rice (0-3) led 3-0 after the first quarter before JaMychal Hasty scored on a 16-yard run, and Cannon caught a 10-yard pass from Russell to put the Bears up 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
“We aren’t very consistent right now,” Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe said. “That’s our problem. It’s obvious we have some talent, and I think we can be a good football team, but right now we are just so inconsistent.”
The Owls closed to 14-10 with 3 minutes left before halftime, but that would be as close as they would get.
Darik Dillard ran for 124 yards on 14 carries for the Owls. Emmanuel Esukpa had Rice’s lone touchdown.
The Owls fell to 0-3 for the second time in three seasons.
“Standing up here, we’re 0-3, but all our goals are still intact,” Rice coach David Bailiff said. “If we have that same type of effort, we’ll keep growing those young ones up, and we ought to be in great shape.”
BAYLOR: The Bears were able to gain yards, but struggled to put points on the board early. Russell had a pass intercepted, and Chris Callahan missed field goals from 47 and 37 yards. The defense played well, holding the Owls to 265 yards.
RICE: The Owls hung with Baylor and kept it a two-score game until 45 seconds left in the third quarter. Rice still struggled defensively as the Bears put up 638 yards. The Owls offense was able to run well, but could not get anything going passing, gaining just 31 passing yards.
BAYLOR: The Bears should at least remain where they are but could move up a couple spots with the 28-point win. Baylor’s stats were impressive, but they should have scored more. Nonetheless, they earned a win on the road by a comfortable margin.
BRILES MAKES AN APPEARANCE
Former Baylor head coach Art Briles was in the stands for the game. Fired at the end of May for Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, Briles sat behind the Baylor bench about 20 rows up from the field. Briles’ son, Kendal, is still the Bears’ offensive coordinator.
“I did not know he was here,” Russell said. “I wish I had seen him. He’s a guy that’s what I came here for. I came here for coach Briles. He’s a top notch guy. A lot of bad things are being said about him now, but I know in my heart that he’s one of the best guys I’ve ever been around.
“He’s a father figure. For sure, he does the right things when he needs to. He just got caught up in the wrong situation. He’s going to support us any way he can. I love him to death. He’s a great coach and a great guy.”
SHOCK BREAKS RECORD
RB Shock Linwood had 57 rushing yards to set a new school record with 3.676 yards over his career. Walter Abercrombie had 3.665 yards from 1978-81.
“It’s just something I can look back on and say I am one of the legends and one of the all-time leading rushers,” Linwood said.
BAYLOR: The Bears start Big 12 play against Oklahoma State in Waco on Sept. 24.
RICE: The Owls will look for their first win of the season as they play their second Conference USA game against North Texas on Sept. 24.