Baylor will have to continue its pursuit of a spot in the College Football Playoff without starting quarterback Seth Russell.
Russell, the engineer of the No.1-rated offense in college football, will undergo neck surgery and miss the remainder of the 2015 season, the school announced on Monday. The decision for surgery was made after a recommendation from a specialist, per the school, which also stated that the procedure usually carries with it a recovery period of six months. Russell broke a bone in his neck in the fourth quarter of Baylor's 45-27 win over Iowa State on Saturday.
"Seth exemplifies the spirit and will of our football team, and through this our team will keep that spirit alive and well for him," said head coach Art Briles in a statement.
True freshman backup Jarrett Stidham will replace Russell. The Bears have an idle date this weekend that will help Stidham adjust to his new role. Baylor's next game is scheduled for Nov. 5 at Kansas State.
With Russell operating the offense, the Bears have averaged an FBS-best 686 yards this season, 70 yards better than TCU's No. 2-ranked offense.
Baylor is 7-0 and ranked No.2 in the nation. But the Bears' schedule gets tougher late in the season, meaning Stidham will have to carry the team's Big 12 title and College Football Playoff hopes through its most difficult tests. After Kansas State, Baylor faces Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas, two of whom (Oklahoma State and TCU) are also unbeaten.