Baylor, 7-0 and the second-ranked college football team in the country, announced today that quarterback Seth Russell will miss the rest of the season. Russell injured his neck during Saturday’s win over Iowa State, and will soon have surgery that is expected to keep him out around six months.
The junior Russell is having a stellar season, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing 29 touchdowns to just six interceptions. His favorite target has been wide receiver Corey Coleman, an outside Heisman candidate (everybody not named Leonard Fournette is an outside candidate) who has nabbed an incredible 18 touchdowns so far.
Taking Russell’s place will be true freshman Jarrett Stidham. He’s played every game this season, getting in during fourth quarter mop-up duty, throwing 28 passes and completing 24 of them for six touchdowns. Stidham is obviously talented—ESPN ranked him the third best high school quarterback in the nation last season—but for Baylor to make the college football playoffs he needs to be very good, very fast.
Baylor is on pace to break the NCAA scoring record, but their gaudy record (and offensive numbers) has been built on the back of cupcakes. Their out of conference opponents were SMU, Lamar, and Rice, and they have still yet to play a ranked team. But after a bye this weekend and Kansas State the Thursday after, they’ll face #14 Oklahoma, #12 Oklahoma State, and #5 TCU. They might still have a chance at the playoffs if their only loss comes to TCU, but a loss to one of the other three—or their final opponent of the season, Texas, but c’mon, I could lead Baylor to a win against Texas—likely dooms them.
Photo via AP