WACO, Texas -- He waited 1,786 days to become the starting quarterback at Baylor.
Four years, 10 months and three weeks had passed since Bryce Petty made his final start at Midlothian (Texas) High School.
Enough time for a kid to grow into a man, from the three-star recruit Lane Kiffin coldly dumped to the quarterback leading undefeated, No. 6 Baylor into its biggest game in school history amid growing Heisman Trophy hype.
Enough time to become the No. 1 quarterback in the country in QBR, passer efficiency and yards per attempt. He's the triggerman of a Baylor offense that's poised to shatter single-season scoring and offense records and, potentially, fight its way into the thick of the national title discussion.
In between, there was more than enough time to question when it would finally be his turn. Petty wondered if his patience would ever pay off. His dedication is being rewarded now in ways he never could've imagined.
"When I came here, I wanted to see it through to the end," Petty said. "Whatever happens happens. I'm a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason. After all that waiting, to see how everything has unfolded now has made it that much more worthwhile.
"That's what makes winning so much sweeter, when you know where you came from."
If it seems like Petty has come out of nowhere to become a star in 2013, that's because he's been lurking on the practice field and the sideline for years. He's spent a long, long time thinking about games like the one Thursday night, when Baylor puts everything on the line against No. 10 Oklahoma.
"You've got a guy that, right now, is playing as well as anybody in America at the QB position," Baylor coach Art Briles said.
And Petty knows he wouldn't be one of the nation's top passers today, wouldn't be the operator of the best offense in college football, if he hadn't had to earn this chance.
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