Baylor Bears quarterback Seth Russell has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after injuring his neck towards the end of the game against Iowa State last Saturday. According to the school’s athletic page, Russell saw a specialist on Monday and was told that surgery was recommended in order fully fix the damage done to the cervical vertebrae. The recovery period for this surgery is around six months.
Russell has thrown for 2,104 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. He also has 402 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. This will be a big blow to the Baylor offense, especially since they will now be led by true freshman Jarrett Stidham.
''We certainly have tons of confidence in Jarrett...Maturity-wise, he doesn't seem like a freshman, act like a freshman or perform like a freshman,'' head coach Art Briles said on Monday. ''He's a guy that's instinctively and athletically ready to play.''
Stidham has appeared in all of Baylor’s games thus far so it should be somewhat of an easier transition for the Bears. In those seven games, he's thrown 24-for-28 with 331 yards and six touchdowns. With Stidham moving up to the starting quarterback position, sophomore wide receiver Chris Johnson will transition over to be his back up.
Baylor has a bye week coming up which will give them even more time to get the offense comfortable with Stidham. After that they'll face Kansas State on Thursday, November 5. Kansas State has a four-game losing streak right now but they are also heading into a bye week before their game with Baylor.
This will be a good game to see what needs to be adjusted on the offense heading into the hardest part of the Bears' schedule. On November 14, Baylor will face number 14th-ranked Oklahoma at home. This will be followed by two away games at 12th-ranked Oklahoma State and fifth-ranked TCU. The Bears will definitely need Stidham's best effort in all of these games.
Baylor still has hopes of winning the College Football Playoff and they believe they have the chance under Stidham regardless of his lack of experience. Only time will tell if he will be able to live up to those expectations.