Saturday, November 24, 2012
Baylor topples Tech to reach another bowl
By David Ubben
Art Briles remembers the first time he led Baylor to a bowl game. It took a rain delay and a dramatic win over Kansas State that had him chuckling years later about the world never making it easy.
Baylor's 52-45 win on Saturday over Texas Tech had to feel pretty similar. It wasn't easy. This time, it even took extra possessions in overtime after a missed 48-yard field goal by Aaron Jones as time expired, his third miss on four attempts in the game.
Still, add it all up and you get six wins for Baylor and a third consecutive trip to a bowl game for the first time in school history. Fresh off last week's upset of No. 1 Kansas State, the Bears rescued what once felt like a lost season and an 0-4 start in Big 12 play to reach the postseason yet again.
Baylor's defense won the game with a turnover on downs in the bottom half of the first overtime, surviving a wild game with four fourth-quarter lead changes and an unlikely interception from Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege off his offensive lineman's helmet that set up Jones' miss as time expired.
Terrance Williams stated a strong Biletnikoff Award case with a week left in the season, grabbing seven balls for 175 yards and a touchdown. Texas Tech's Darrin Moore had a big game of his own, besting Williams with 13 grabs for 186 yards and two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter to put the Red Raiders ahead.
It wasn't enough, though, and last year's Heisman winner -- Robert Griffin III -- was one of the first players on the field to celebrate with the Baylor defense, which made a stop that will be remembered for a long time in Waco. The Bears have a chance to win a seventh game next week against Oklahoma State. But for now, it's time to celebrate.
Nick Florence finished 22-of-37 for 396 yards and three touchdowns. Lache Seastrunk had another big game, rushing for 136 yards on 19 carries. Glasco Martin added 98 yards and two scores on his 23 carries, including the game-winning score in overtime.
After a 14-point loss to Iowa State back on Oct. 27 to fall to 3-4, almost no one gave the Bears a chance to reach six wins. Baylor got itself up off the mat and proved the doubters wrong. Now, the Big 12 will have 90 percent of its teams bowl eligible.
I have to think that's a first.