Although they showed two entirely different performances at McLane Stadium between last week and this week, the Baylor Football team (6-5, 4-4) still came up with the same result in their loss to undefeated No. 4 TCU (11-0, 8-0), 29-28 on a last-second field goal. Nothing about this week’s Baylor team was even remotely similar to the squad that showed up (or actually didn’t show up) to play then-ranked No. 19 Kansas State (read my extremely mini recap of that game here) in that blowout loss. Whereas the Bears looked extraordinarily lethargic and lackadaisical against the Wildcats, both the Baylor offense and defense showed hunger and the desire to win during Fox Sports’ Big Noon Kickoff. Baylor’s game plans were far more dynamic on Senior Day than what we saw last week as they found immense success in the rushing game thanks to an impressive showing by the offensive line and contributors like freshman RB Richard Reese (who rushed for 56 yards and 1 TD to give him 908 yards on the season—earning the program record for most rushing yards by a Baylor freshman), junior RBs Craig “Sqwirl” Williams and Qualan Jones, freshman TE Kelsey Johnson, and sophomore WR Monaray Baldwin. The Bears totaled 501 offensive yards to TCU’s 442 and of that, the Horned Frogs had 115 rushing yards—only 3 yards more than C. Williams by himself. Baylor held the ball for 33:58 compared to TCU’s 26:02, but the Horned Frogs only needed several quick drives to crush the Bears’ dreams on the last second by No. 4.
While the Bears scored 28 points, they left 17 points on the field as they had one interception, one turnover on downs, and a missed field goal all in the first half. And as much as the defense held the explosive Horned Frogs offense to a low scoring performance and made them almost solely reliant on QB Max Duggan’s passing, the Bears’ play calling wasn’t aggressive enough to hold on to the ball with the lead for the last 6 minutes of play on Senior Day. Giving up 9 unanswered points in the last 3 minutes of the game and losing on a literal last second chaotic field goal was devastating to the team, coaches, and fans alike. However, Baylor’s athletes showed athletic prowess and passion and they truly looked like the better team for almost the entire game. They exposed TCU’s clear weaknesses on both sides of the ball and revealed a glimpse as to what this squad can be with more experience and time.
Sophomore QB Blake Shapen completed 21 of 30 passing attempts for 1 TD and 1 interception and he added 7 carries for 20 yards. 7 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including C. Williams (19 carries for 112 yards), Reese (10 carries for 56 yards and 1 TD), Q. Jones (5 carries for 30 yards and 1 TD), Shapen (7 carries for 20 yards), Baldwin (3 carries for 10 yards), 5th-year LB Dillon Doyle (1 carry for 2 yards), and Johnson (1 carry for 2 yards and 1 TD). 10 received passes including Baldwin (6 catches for 123 yards), redshirt freshman WR Josh Cameron (3 catches for 68 yards), Johnson (3 catches for 30 yards and 1 TD), C. Williams (3 catches for 5 yards), sophomore WR Hal Presley (1 catch for 15 yards), redshirt freshman WR Cameron Bonner (1 catch for 13 yards), 5th-year TE Ben Sims (1 catch for 4 yards), Q. Jones (1 catch for 4 yards), Reese (1 catch for 4 yards), and Doyle (1 catch for 3 yards). The defense amassed 51 tackles with 1 for a loss of 1 yard (freshman S Alfonzo Allen), 1 interception (junior S Devin Neal), 3 pass break ups (redshirt freshman S Devin Lemear, 5th-year CB Mark Milton, Doyle), and 2 QB hurries (Doyle, junior DL Siaki Ika).
The Bears will close the regular season by traveling to Austin to face Texas (7-4, 5-3) on Friday at 11 a.m. (CT).