Treston Ebner returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, ran for a third and caught a fourth as Baylor cruised past Kansas in its belated 2020 season opener, 47-14, Saturday at McLane Stadium.
The Bears (1-0, 1-0 Big 12 Conference) endured two false starts with games against Louisiana Tech and Houston canceled and postponed, the result of COVID-19 protocols. They were understandably slow to get going in the delayed debut game under new head coach Dave Aranda, falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter.
But Baylor scored the game’s next 40 points, a spurt that began on the first of Ebner’s four scores. He capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive with a goal-line score in the late first quarter.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer found Ebner for a 13-yard score in the second quarter that, coupled with a 47-yard John Mayers field goal, put Baylor ahead 17-7 at halftime.
The flood gates opened immediately after intermission.
Ebner returned the kickoff out of the locker room 100 yards for a score. In the fourth quarter, he went 83 yards to pay dirt on a kickoff following Terrel Bernard’s sack of Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels for a safety.
Ebner became the first player in Baylor history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. His second concluded the game-breaking 40-0 run, which also included a seven-yard John Lovett scoring rush.
Craig Williams added another touchdown run of 26 yards in the late fourth quarter.
Kansas (0-2, 0-1) book-ended the Bears’ outburst with a pair of Pooka Williams touchdown carries: the first from 21 yards, and the second from 16. He finished the night with 76 yards on 14 carries.
Velton Gardner added 70 yards on 14 carries. They were the sole Jayhawks rushers in positive territory until the final drive, when Daniels rushed for 34 yards. He finished with 23 yards officially after taking four sacks, 2.5 of which Bernard made.