Instant Analysis: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38
November, 20, 2011
By David Ubben | ESPN.com
WACO, Texas--Chalk this one up among the greatest wins in Baylor history.
Art Briles has done a lot of big things at Baylor, but this is among the biggest. Baylor ended one of the most lopsided all-time series in college football with a 45-38 win, the first for the Bears in 21 tries throughout the history of college football.
Lots more to come tonight, but here's some instant analysis.
How the game was won: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III rolled to his left and hit Terrance Williams for a 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left and the Bears recovered a squib kick. One kneel by RG3 and the Baylor fans stormed the field for the second time this season.
Turning point: Baylor reversed momentum and answered two quick touchdowns by Oklahoma to open the second half with three touchdowns of their own, highlighted by a crazy 87-yard touchdown catch by Kendall Wright that bounced off Tevin Reese's hands and helmet before floating into Wright's hands in stride. Easily one of the plays of the year in the Big 12, if not all of college football. Oklahoma threatened to run away with the game, but Baylor wasn't shaken. The Bears did what they do best -- throw the ball deep -- and snatched back control of the ballgame.
Player of the game: Griffin III, QB, Baylor. Who else? RG3 was the man for the Bears. He threw for 479 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover, torching Oklahoma's secondary in the second half and breaking a few records in the process. Speaking of which ...
Record performance: Griffin broke his own single-game record for passing yards in a game (479) and broke his own record for passing yards in a season, all on the same night. He also helped his team get one of the biggest wins in school history. Not a bad day's work.
Second guessing: Baylor faced a 4th-and-1 in its own territory early in the third quarter, but decided to go for it. That's OK, I guess, but running Griffin into the pile from the shotgun? Not good. Oklahoma stuffed it, celebrated and scored right away to take the lead. What would this game have looked like if the Bears simply punted there?
What Baylor learned: It really can go head-to-head with the Big 12 titans and get a win. The Bears have ascended to the second tier of the Big 12, but failed to prove themselves against an elite opponent. Safe to say this game qualifies. The Sooners had a lot to play for and couldn't get it done.
What Oklahoma learned: Life without Ryan Broyles is going to be hard. The Sooners host Iowa State next Saturday, but they'll face a similarly dangerous offense in Oklahoma State on Dec. 3. The offense put 38 on the board Saturday night and it wasn't enough. Don't be surprised if 38 isn't enough against the Cowboys, either, with a Big 12 title hanging in the balance.
What it means: Oklahoma's national title hopes are kaput. Oklahoma State's loss on Friday night didn't help, but there's an SEC West logjam at the top of the BCS and Oregon lost earlier on Saturday. The Sooners were still alive ... until they weren't. A Big 12 title is still on the table for the Sooners, but a season that began with a beeline to the national title game will come up short. Big 12 titles are great and always difficult to win, but Oklahoma fans have come to expect more. They won't get their eighth national title in 2011.