Wofford is an FCS school added to the schedule after SMU dropped Baylor. They made the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs last year, and are picked as the #5 team nationally in preseason polls.
If you're looking for a relevant game of comparison from last year, a 24-7 loss at South Carolina late in the season will do enough to scare you straight. The game was 7-7 in the 4th quarter, before USC finally pulled away with 17 late points.
Although they have flirted with some different looks, historically Wofford has run a triple-option attack, which is one of the reasons USC struggled with them last year. Also, Jadeveon Clowney sat out that game. The thing is this isn't the first time USC struggled with them. The score was 27-20 in '06 and 23-13 in '08.
In 2011, Wofford lost to Clemson 35-27.
There have been plenty of blowouts from FBS teams playing Wofford of course, but those close games throughout the years prove that Wofford does come to play in these games. In addition, they've had the same coach for 26 years, so things are pretty consistent there.
Wofford returns 12 starters, 5 on offense and 5 on defense and then 2 specialists.
They will be breaking in a new quarterback and replacing an All-American running back, so that does not bode well for them in the first game of the season.
Their leading receiver does return this year - he had 17 receptions last year, highlighting how rarely they threw the ball last year.
They list 4 fullbacks and a ton of running backs on their roster. Their quarterback last year was their 4th leading rusher - but they played multiple quarterbacks, or it was likely the quarterback would have been one of the top 2 rushers.
They were 2nd in the nation in rushing last year on the FCS level, but that is because of the inordinate amount of rushing plays they run. Still, they obviously excel at running. One issue is they only return 2 starters on the line - so they will have 3 new linemen against Baylor.
On defense, the most returning experience they have is on the defensive line and linebacker - where they have 2 starters returning each. None of the players appear to be standouts statistically, and I didn't see any highlights of all-conference talent on that side of the ball. They will have 2 new corners, 1 safety with experience, and the other safety that has 5 starts. In other words, Bryce Petty should be ready to sling the ball around.
BearsIllustrated First Look Analysis: Certainly Wofford has the ability to cause FBS teams fits if they are not prepared, but my hunch is that Baylor will be ready to go on August 31. Coach Briles will want to pile up some significant stats early on offense, and put this game out of reach as quickly as possible. The thing that did in the South Carolina's of the world to keep their games close were turnovers. In the game from last year, they held Wofford to 15 yards total in the 1st quarter, but had some bad turnovers and thus Wofford was able to hold them in check.
Assuming Baylor's offense flows pretty decent, which is a good assumption to make, I don't see how Wofford can possibly slow Baylor down. They will attempt to do so with ball-control, I'm sure, but I don't see them succeeding. This will be an early test for Baylor's run defense, and it will be good for Coach Bennett to see who is staying disciplined.
We'll make a final call later in the week, but the First Look seems very positive for Baylor in their opening game.
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