WACO, Texas -- How did Jarrett Stidham celebrate his first victory as Baylor’s starting quarterback? He went hunting.
“I was at the deer lease all weekend,” he said. “Opening weekend.”
The national spotlight burned bright on him last Thursday night, so taking a break from it all had to feel good. He came home empty-handed this time, but that’s OK. Hunting relaxes Stidham. He doesn’t have to talk to anybody or worry about anything.
Considering three straight games against top-15 opponents are up next for Stidham and the Bears, this was his last chance for a little peace and quiet before the chaos.
“It’s good to get away for a little bit to relax and get your mind right for your next opponent,” he said. “That’s what I did this weekend, went and relaxed at the deer lease and started watching OU tape to get ready.”
What Stidham put on tape against Kansas State -- throwing for 419 yards, three scores and no interceptions in a 31-24 road win -- confirmed the suspicions his teammates had leading up to the night: The kid plays like he’s been here for years.
“Jarrett matched expectations everyone had for him,” left tackle Spencer Drango said. “If he can continue like he played last game, I think we'll be in pretty good shape.”
Against K-State, Stidham was prepared and poised. He sure didn’t feel like this 11 months ago. He laughs when he looks back on his first few days inside Baylor’s offensive machine.
As he put it: “I started watching film and thinking, ‘What in the world is this?’”
He’s caught up and grown plenty since then. One knock on Stidham coming out of Stephenville High: too skinny. He said he’s already gone from 185 pounds in the spring to 213 today. He even grew a little hair on his chin, just to “get the college boy look.”
Coach Art Briles still won’t use the “F” word (freshman) when describing his new QB1, and the K-State game sent a clear message that Baylor's coaching staff isn’t going to tread lightly with its young passer.
Stidham got to play through three fourth downs last week. All three were short-yardage situations (four, one and two yards to gain). On all three, Stidham threw the ball. He converted all three, including a three-yard pass that Corey Coleman turned into a 38-yard gain.
The Stidham-to-Coleman connection got off to a hot start, but Baylor’s TD machine is trying to be cautious with his praise. Even after they hooked up for an 81-yard touchdown in the second quarter, he didn’t go too crazy.
“I told him good pass,” Coleman said. “Didn’t want to say too much cause I wanted him to keep rolling and make sure his head didn’t get all blown up.”
Stidham got the green light again when the Wildcats made it a seven-point game late. He took the field with four minutes left and fired a 40-yard laser to KD Cannon over the middle on first down.
When you think Baylor is going to play it safe and take the ball out of Stidham’s hands, Briles is happy to hit you with the unexpected.
What will Oklahoma throw at them? The past four teams that faced the rising Sooners combined for 739 passing yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions. Stidham is supposed to be worried. He doesn't sound like it.
“We'll just keep doing our thing,” Stidham said. “I've watched quite a bit tape on them. I think there's some things we can attack.”
With a Big 12 title and playoff bid in his scope, the kid's ready to hunt.