In what’s noted as the coldest Baylor game in program history with data available from 2011 at the earliest, the Baylor Football team dropped their final matchup of the season against Air Force in the 2022 Armed Forces Bowl, 30-15. The game was an amalgamation of what the Bears experienced and showed mostly throughout the season—uninspired passing offense, inexperienced secondary, and unfortunate special teams—heightened by extraordinarily frigid 13 degree temperatures with high winds. And while much of what Baylor displayed during the Air Force game was difficult to watch, nothing was more shocking to me than the frustratingly idle offense in both the pass and rush (which is obvious as the team recorded only 188 and 42 yards, respectively). With running talent like C. Williams, Q. Jones, and Reese and a highly experienced All-Big 12 O-line, notching 42 rushing yards is a staggering statistic.
Shapen completed 11 of 23 passing attempts for 188 yards and 2 TDs and rushed for a loss of 8 yards on 5 carries. 4 other Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including junior RB Craig “Sqwirl” Williams (7 carries for 25 yards), junior RB Qualan Jones (5 carries for 14 yards), freshman RB Richard Reese (8 carries for 10 yards), and redshirt freshman WR Josh Cameron (1 carry for 1 yard). 5 received passes including 6th-year WR Gavin Holmes (4 catches for 47 yards and 1 TD), Cameron (3 catches for 56 yards), freshman TE Kelsey Johnson (2 catches for 20 yards), junior WR Jaylen Ellis (1 catch for 57 yards), and sophomore WR Hal Presley (1 catch for 8 yards and 1 TD). The defense amassed 67 tackles with 4 for a loss of 12 yards (redshirt freshman CB Tevin Williams III, sophomore CB AJ McCarty, junior LB Garmon Randolph, redshirt freshman LB Jackie Marshall), and 1 blocked kick (junior DL Gabe Hall).
The Bears have a lot of growing to do during the off-season with many veterans graduating and new folks incoming. After falling in the last four games, firing DC Ron Roberts, and losing supposed future QB Austin Novosad to Oregon on Wednesday’s Signing Day, an end to the season is more than comforting. Within the next few months I’m hoping for an exciting transfer QB, creative DC, and a well-deserved break for our dear Dave Aranda!