WACO--Seth Russell threw a school-record six touchdown passes as the fourth-ranked Baylor Bears extended the nation's longest current home winning streak to 18 games, downing Rice 70-17 at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday.
The Owls came into the game hoping to make a memorable debut in the Bears' sparkling new home along the Brazos River, but after taking an early 3-0 lead, they could not hold off Baylor's high-octane attack, which piled up 793 yards, the most ever allowed by the Owls in a game.
"We knew in order to give us the best opportunity to win we'd have to come in here and play our best, and play flawless football offensively, flawless football defensively and flawless special teams," Rice head coach David Bailiff said. "We didn't though; we struggled offensively, had too many drive-stopping penalties, had too many mistakes, and had some busts defensively."
Rice opened the game on offense for the fourth time in as many games this year and for the first time since the opener against Wagner, the Owls took advantage of the opportunity to score the first points of the day.
Driphus Jackson's 35-yard completion to Dennis Parks highlighted a 60 yard march that ended at the Bears' 13 when walk-on kicker Hayden Tobola successfully converted his first career field goal attempt from 37 yards out.
Baylor responded with touchdowns on its first two possessions, but the Owls responded after the second score in lighting fashion.
Freshman Austin Walter darted and spun his way to a 74-yard kickoff return, and Jackson and Parks hooked up on a 24-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage. The touchdown catch was Parks' third of the year and the eighth of his career.
But the Bear offensive attack could not be stopped, as the home team scored three times in each of the first three quarters on their way to tally the most points ever in the 80 meetings between the two old Southwest Conference rivals.
Rice's opened the scoring in the second half as well as Darik Dillard sliced his way into the end zone five plays after J.P. Thompson stripped the ball free from Baylor's KD Cannon and Alex Lyons recovered at the Bears' 24.
After three weeks on the road, the Owls will finally return to familiar surroundings next weekend when they host Western Kentucky in their Conference USA home opener. Bailiff knows his team will see another high-powered attack next week.
"I know they've got a great quarterback, so we'll just have to watch video and see where all of our breakdowns were and why," he noted. "Hopefully you play games like this and they help you play up-tempo in conference.
"I just told our players we want to come here and we want to beat the fourth-ranked team in the country. You come here expecting to win, but we didn't play well. We have to flush it, can't let this one beat us."