Baylor coach Art Briles is quickly becoming one of the hottest coaching names in college football. And his Bears just accomplished something that hasn’t been done in Waco, Texas, in over 60 years.
The Bears knocked off Oklahoma State 41-34 on Saturday to win their seventh game of the season (7-4 overall, 4-5 in conference play). Baylor has won seven games for three straight seasons for the first time since 1949-51. It was the Bears' third straight victory, Briles' first victory over OSU and Baylor's first win over the Cowboys since 2005.
With their performance in 2012, it’s become clear Baylor’s rise is built upon Briles’ brilliance more than Robert Griffin III’s excellence.
The Bears defense, which entered the game No. 119 in total defense, had one of its best performances of the season against the Cowboys' explosive offense. Baylor consistently rushed OSU quarterback Clint Chelf on third down, harassing him into bad decisions and leading to OSU converting just 7-of-15 third-down conversion attempts. The Bears also held the Cowboys, who averaged 45.64 points per game heading into Saturday, to just four offensive touchdowns including one with 1:16 left in the game.
BU’s offense lived up to its billing as one of the nation’s top offenses, finishing with 615 total yards thanks in large part to quarterback Nick Florence and running back Lache Seastrunk. Florence finished with 296 passing yards in the victory as the Bears spread OSU’s defense from sideline to sideline and the Cowboys simply couldn’t match up in coverage. And Seastrunk put the game away with a gutsy 76-yard touchdown run after suffering a cramped quad muscle midway to the end zone. He finished with 16 carries for 178 yards and one touchdown.
After knocking off Kansas State on Nov. 17, Saturday’s win means back-to-back home victories over teams among the top half of the Big 12 for BU and gives it terrific momentum heading into its third straight bowl game. The Bears, who won four of their final five games, could be headed to New York for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl or end up in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The Cowboys (7-5, 5-4) will have to lick their wounds and recover heading into their bowl game as injuries and depth concerns appear to have finally caught up to them. The Pokes could be headed for the Valero Alamo Bowl or Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl despite back-to-back losses to end the regular season.