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Bryce Petty of Baylor will try to play vs. Northwestern State


Sunday'sopening ofMcLane Stadium was supposed to be quite the celebration for the Baylor faithful. In many ways, the team's 45-0 trashing of SMU was exactly that.

However, whatever happy emotions Bears fans had in the win were likely tempered thanks to the unknown status of quarterback Bryce Petty. The signal-caller took a face mask directly to his back on the fifth offensive play of the game and was noticeably not himself despite Baylor putting 31 points on the board before halftime.

On Tuesday, he told College Football 24/7 that he's still feeling the aftereffects of the injury, but that the pain is more manageable than most thought it would be after an MRI revealed bones were cracked in the transverse processes of his back.

"I feel good, I've made a lot of progress the past couple days. They said the second and third day is probably the worst part and I really haven't felt that bad," Petty said. "There's honestly not a lot you can do for it. It's just a lot of ice and some movement stuff to stretch out the muscles. It's really tight in one area, but as far as it goes it's looking good."

The quarterback suffered the injury on his first run of the game, a read-option that he took right up the middle. Petty didn't call it a freak injury, but noted he got hit "perfectly" by the defender to come up hobbled. He stayed in the rest of the series -- and rest of the first half -- despite the pain after talking with head coach Art Briles on the sidelines after the drive.

"The conversation was, 'Can you play?' I said 'yes' and that was kind of the end of it. I just tried to push through it as long as I could," Petty said. "Once we got into halftime, the thing really started firing and I couldn't really stand on two legs. I had to stand on my right leg quite a bit. At that point it was what's best for the offense.

"I wasn't myself. Every time I stepped to throw, it was kind of like somebody was punching me in the back. My accuracy was off and it was kind of all arm. (The injury) really affected everything."

Petty finished the game 13-of-23 for 161 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while adding another score on the ground late in the second quarter. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year last season, the signal-caller is considered a possible first-round draft pick in the spring and one of the top senior quarterbacks in the country.

Ever optimistic, he's being listed as day-to-day by the training staff and was expected to be limited in practice this week while he rests up. Despite that diagnosis, the ultra-competitive quarterback is not ruling out starting against Northwestern State and does not appear to be listening to others who say he should take off the next two games against far inferior competition.

"If we were to play today, I probably couldn't play today," he said. "But I'm really hopeful, really positive about Saturday.

"I'm not promised tomorrow, I'm not promised Saturday's game. If it comes down to it and I can play Saturday, I'm going to play Saturday. I can guarantee you this, if Sunday comes and I could have played Saturday, but didn't because I was playing it safe there's no way I would be ok with that. It is important to look at from a future standpoint by protecting my body, but at the same time I can't hurt it any worse."

Sunday's contest wasn't all bad for the Heisman Trophy candidate. In addition to picking up a win over an old Southwest Conference rival, the opening of the brand new McLane Stadium was everything Petty thought it would be -- and more.

Although he only was able to spend a few minutes with former players such as Robert Griffin III, everything from the walk to the stadium to the opening coin toss lived up to the advance billing it received.

"It was insane, unlike everything I've ever seen. The hype, the excitement, the build up ... ever since they laid that first brick everybody has been saying they can't wait," Petty said of the atmosphere. "It was everything and then some. I was really proud of our guys for being focused because, at the end of the day, I was nervous because we still had to play the game. There were a lot of extracurricular activities going on and distractions."

Petty even left with an off-the-field moment he will never forget. When those involved in the coin toss took a few photos, former president George W. Bush leaned into kiss Baylor president Ken Starr's wife on the cheek. Sensing the opportunity, the quarterback quickly addressed the former Commander-in-Chief.

"I asked where my kiss was at," Petty recalled. "He said, 'You ain't getting one, you're too ugly.'

"So I guess I got made fun of by the president."

That seems like a much more pleasant memory to have from Sunday's game than the injury he suffered a few minutes later.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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