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SMU vs. Baylor final score: 3 things we learned from the Bears' 45-0 win

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The Bears opened their brand new stadium with a demolition of SMU, but not without introducing a handful of issues.

Ronald Martinez

College football's premier blowout machine is back on track after a rocky conclusion to the 2013 season. SMU limped out of Baylor's new building looking like one of those teams the Bears put 70-or-so on last year, before injuries took a toll on Art Briles' offense. Baylor's defense led the way, turning in its first FBS shutout since 1995, surrendering a scant 67 yards, and achieving only the second shutout ever of a June Jones-head coached team -- Jones has been a head coach almost every year since 1994.

But speaking of injuries, those are already a concern. Ace senior quarterback Bryce Petty grimaced his way through the first half after suffering some sort of back injury, then yielded the huddle to athletic backups Seth Russell and Chris Johnson. The Bears could've beaten SMU on this night with you or me at quarterback, but Petty's condition is one to closely monitor going forward.

Assuming he's OK, however, all is right at Baylor. All is so right that favorite son Robert Griffin III was hanging out all over the place Sunday night. And when all is right with the Bears, the Bears dance.

Three things we learned

1. The Bears' passing game could stand to improve. Departures by star receiver Tevin Reese and a couple starting offensive linemen contributed to Baylor's shaky air attack, as did Petty's injury. And preseason All-America receiver Antwan Goodley was hurt tonight as well.

But you'd think even at half-strength, retooling Baylor passing attack would manage more than 313 passing yards against an SMU defense that ranked No. 81 in yards per throw last year and then lost its top defensive backs. Right?

It's hard to be too critical of an offense that put up 574 yards total, but 6.7 yards per pass is below the Briles standard. Games against Northwestern State, Buffalo and Iowa State mean time to get healthy and get synced.

2. Baylor's defensive line is as advertised. Baylor, of all teams, entered the season with a hyped defensive line, one that includes oak-like man Shawn Oakman and Texas strength hero Andrew Billings.

And granted, it was only SMU, but limiting any college football team to just 43 yards through three quarters and 67 on the night is as impressive as it gets. Fellow top-10 teams Oregon and Michigan State played FCS teams (ostensibly teams worse than SMU) this weekend and gave up 370 and 244 yards, respectively. Stars Oakman and Billings each had sacks, with eight total for the Bears. Counting those sacks, the Mustangs posted minus-24 rushing yards, which is an extremely short distance, in my opinion.

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3. That new stadium is going to haul in so many recruits. Over the last few years, Baylor's recruiting has bounded, showing off the conference's top non-Oklahoma, non-Texas class in 2014. Briles is going to have an even more productive time courting five-star wide receivers to Waco now that he's got maybe the prettiest stadium in the country in his back pocket (big khakis).

With Charlie Strong taking over at Texas and Bob Stoops' OU reign showing no signs of downfall, Baylor's going to need to display all the offensive explosiveness and facilities glamour it can. All going according to plan there.