WACO, Texas — Baylor quarterback Seth Russell will undergo surgery to his neck and miss the remainder of the 2015 season. The decision comes after Russell visited a specialist Monday who recommended surgery, which has a typical recovery period of six months.
“Seth exemplifies the spirit and will of our football team,” head coach Art Briles said, “and through this our team will keep that spirit alive and well for him.”
Russell was injured in the fourth quarter of Baylor’s win over Iowa State Oct. 24, and suffered damage to the cervical vertebra.
Russell threw for 2,104 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first season as a starter, and ran for 402 yards and six TDs. He led Baylor’s NCAA-best offense to 686.1 yards per game and 61.1 points per contest.
Moving forward, Baylor’s first-string quarterback will be Jarrett Stidham, a true freshman from Stephenville, Texas, who has appeared in all seven games for the No. 2 ranked Bears. Stidham owns a 255.7 passer efficiency rating, having thrown for 331 yards and six TDs on 24-of-28 passes (86 percent completion percentage). Third-year sophomore Chris Johnson, who had moved to receiver this season, will be No. 2 at the position.
Individually, Russell leads the FBS in passing efficiency (189.7), passing TDs (29), passing yards per completion (17.68), points responsible for per game (30.0) and passing yards per attempt (10.52). The junior is 15th in passing yards per game (300.6) and his total offensive output of 358.0 yards per game is seventh-best nationally.
Russell has also helped Baylor rise to a program-best ranking of No. 2 in both the AP Top 25 and the Amway Coaches Poll. With Russell at the helm, the Bears are 7-0 for the third time in program history (1980, 2013) and 4-0 in Big 12 conference play for the second-time ever (2013).
For his performance in a win over West Virginia (540 yards of total offense and 6 TDs), Russell was recognized as the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, the Athlon Offensive Player of the Week, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose National Player of the Week.