- Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

WACO, Texas (AP) - No matter how much Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty wants to be on the field, the reigning Big 12 offensive player of the year could be watching from the sideline with his top receivers Saturday night.

Petty, who played only the first half of the season opener after cracking two small bones in his back, is questionable for the 10th-ranked Bears (1-0) against FCS team Northwestern State.

Antwan Goodley (quad) likely won’t play, while fellow senior receivers Levi Norwood (wrist) and Clay Fuller (broken collarbone) are out.

Coach Art Briles has said Petty will play only if he is 100 percent.

“There’s just no reason to,” Briles said of playing Petty if he is still hurting in any way.

With the goal of winning another Big 12 title and getting into the new four-team College Football Playoff, the Bears need Petty for the long term. And tougher games.

Even without Petty and those senior receivers, the Bears should have plenty of depth and talent - albeit young - to get by Northwestern State (0-1). They are at Buffalo next Friday before a week off leading into Big 12 play.

“We had an opportunity to see their other guys. There wasn’t much of a drop off,” NSU coach Jay Thomas said. “They are going to have guys they can plug in that can play and perform. They don’t change what they do if (Petty) plays or not.”

Petty took a shot to the back on his opening series, but threw for 161 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score to put the Bears up 31-0 by halftime Sunday night in a 45-0 win over SMU.

Sophomore Seth Russell played in the second half, matching Petty’s 13-of-23 passing line while throwing for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Goodley aggravated a quad issue and didn’t play after the first quarter, going without a catch for the first time in 18 games. Norwood had a 45-yard punt return to set up a short touchdown, but landed awkwardly on his wrist in the second half. Fuller got hurt practicing in early August, and sophomore Corey Coleman has a lingering hamstring injury that kept him out of the opener.

Those are the Bears top four returning receivers.

That just means an extended early look at sophomore Jay Lee (eight catches, 83 yards vs. SMU) and standout freshmen Davion Hall (seven catches, 76 yards) and KD Cannon (46-yard TD).

Here are a few things to know about the Baylor-Northwestern State game:

SHUTOUT AND SACKS: Baylor’s defense will be trying to follow up a dominant opening performance. The shutout of SMU was the Bears’ first against another FBS team since winning 14-0 at North Carolina State in 1995. (They won 48-0 over FCS team Stephen F. Austin in 2011, a game ended after three quarters because of lightning). Also against SMU, nine different players took part in the Bears’ school record-tying nine sacks, and the Mustangs were held to 67 total yards - the fewest allowed by Baylor since 1988.

AWAY A WHILE: After playing twice in seven days to open its new $266 million riverfront campus stadium, Baylor won’t be back there until Oct. 11 against TCU. Before that, the Bears have three games in a row on the road and an open date. Northwestern State, which opened at home with a 34-27 loss to Missouri State, plays the first of four consecutive road games. The Demons’ next home game is also Oct. 11.

FROM WACO TO NATCHITOCHES: Demons senior starting offensive lineman Luke Burleson started his collegiate career at Baylor, where he played one game in 2011 and dressed out for seven others. He transferred to NSU after that, and will earn his third letter this season. There is even a Demons connection with Baylor’s only Heisman Trophy winner. De’Jon Griffin, the sister of Robert Griffin III, is an NSU graduate who set a hammer throw school record as a senior in 2013.

IN AWE: Baylor coach Art Briles was asked if he learned anything during the first game at McLane Stadium last week. “From a football standpoint, not really,” Briles said. “From an awe-inspiring standpoint, I’d say quite a bit.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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