Baylor Finishes Texas Tech, 45-17

Reese runs past Texas Tech
Photo credit: The San Diego Union-Tribune

What was that I said about the Baylor Football team (5-3, 3-2) struggling over past games’ four quarters last week (read my recap of our recent victory over Kansas here!)? Nothing of the sort could be said for yesterday’s performance against a vicious, somehow vengeful Texas Tech team (4-4, 2-3) led by none other than former Baylor Associate Head Coach Joey McGuire. The Bears truly played their best, most complementary game yesterday—seemingly finding their stride past the midpoint of the season. Winning their first match up in Lubbock since 1990 to snap a 10-game losing streak—though we can’t forget the “BUTT” challenges were alternatively held in Waco and DFW at AT&T Stadium—Baylor showed by they lead the all-time series against Texas Tech, 41-39-1. Not even a full crowd, blackout, and halftime celebration for Patrick Mahomes stressed the Bears as they finally stopped beating themselves and notched season-highs in sacks (6), interceptions (5), and possession time (40:17) with the interceptions being the most since Baylor vs. TCU in 1989! As the Baylor offense spent so much time on the field, the defensive tackle stats aren’t as high as usual, but their number of disruptive plays massively increased from games past. Sophomore QB Blake Shapen had himself a day, completing 19 of 30 passing attempts for 211 yards with 1 TD and added 10 carries for 30 yards. The Bears totaled 442 offensive yards (Texas Tech had 308) and had 4 penalties for a loss of 32 yards (the Red Raiders notched 4 for a loss of 46).

The Bears got the ball first to start and freshman RB Richard Reese rushed for 8 yards on 3 carries and caught a 1-yard pass from Shapen. Junior RB Qualan Jones ran for a 4-yard gain and Shapen rushed for 9 yards. Shapen threw passes of 8 and 2 yards to sophomore WR Hal Presley and junior TE Drake Dabney, respectively, but on 4th and 2, Shapen’s rush was spotted as only a 1 yard gain and the Bears turned the ball over on downs. 5th-year CB Mark Milton and redshirt freshman S Devin Lemear broke up Tech QB Behren Morton’s passes on the Red Raiders’ first drive to force their subsequent turnover on downs. Q. Jones rushed for 3 yards on 1 carry, freshman WR Jordan Nabors ran for 9 yards on 1 carry, and Reese rushed for 16 yards on 2 carries. Shapen completed a 2-yard pass to 6th-year WR Gavin Holmes before rushing for a 3-yard gain on 3rd and 8, so 5th-year K John Mayers’ attempted and made a 48-yard field goal (his longest of the season) to put Baylor up 3-0. Junior LB Garmon Randolph sacked Morton for a loss of 9 yards and on 1st and 10, Lemear intercepted Morton’s pass at the Baylor end zone and returned the ball 21 yards. Reese rushed for 8 yards on 3 carries and Shapen ran for 4. Shapen threw passes of 11 yards to Presley and 10 yards to Dabney at the end of the first quarter.

Continuing the drive, Shapen completed 4 and 5-yard passes to Nabors and Reese, but after Reese lost 2 yards on the ground, Shapen was sacked for a loss of 6 yards on 4th and 3 to turn the ball over on downs at Tech’s 39. The Baylor defense forced a 3-and-out within 50 seconds for Holmes’ fair catch at the Bears’ own 9. Presley miraculously caught a 30-yard bomb from Shapen and Holmes snagged a 5-yarder. Q. Jones lost 1 yard on the ground and Shapen gained 3, but the Bears were forced to punt and 5th-year P Issac Power’s kick only traveled 17 yards to the Texas Tech 37-yard-line. Junior DL Gabe Hall and redshirt freshman LB Jackie Marshall each notched a QB hurry, but the Red Raiders managed a field goal to tie the game at 3-3. Q. Jones rushed for 6 yards and Reese caught a 6-yard pass between rushing for 52 yards on 6 carries. Reese finished the drive with a 1-yard run into the end zone and Mayers’ extra point gave Baylor a 10-3 lead. 5th-year DL Brayden Utley and junior LB Matt Jones combined to sack Morton for a loss of 10 yards to force another Tech punt after a quick 3-and-out. Shapen passed for 30 yards to Holmes, 5 to Cameron, and 23 yards to Holmes before Reese rushed for 2 yards and another TD with Mayers’ extra point increasing the lead to 17-3. Gabe Hall recorded a QB hurry to close the first half.

On the first play of the third quarter, Hall sacked Morton for a loss of 7 yards, and Milton followed by intercepting Morton’s pass and returning the ball 2 yards. Reese rushed for 25 yards on 5 carries and Presley snagged Shapen’s 9-yard pass for a TD to make the score 24-3 on Mayers’ kick. Senior S Al Walcott and freshman S Devyn Bobby each recorded pass break ups, but the Red Raiders scored their first TD and made the score 24-10. Reese gained 0 yards on 2 carries and Shapen rushed for 16 yards on 3, but he fumbled the ball at Baylor’s 41 and Tech recovered. Marshall hurried Morton and Lemear broke up a pass, but Tech quickly scored another TD in 2 minutes to shrink the scoring gap to 24-17. Reese rushed for 18 yards on 2 carries and Nabors added 2 on the ground. Shapen threw a 5-yard pass to Q. Jones and 25-yarder to 5th-year TE Ben Sims at the end of the third quarter.

Maintaining the series, Shapen connected with Q. Jones on a 13-yard pass before redshirt freshman QB Kyron Drones ran for 2 yards, 5th-year LB Dillon Doyle rushed for 2, and Reese added 7 yards and a 1-yard rushing score with Mayers’ subsequent XP, making the lead 31-17. McGuire benched Morton and swapped in former starting QB Donovan Smith, who—on his first play—threw an interception to Walcott, which he returned for 4 yards. The Bears’ offense had a quick 3-and-out and Powers punted to the Tech 18. On Morton’s return, sophomore CB AJ McCarty broke up a pass and redshirt freshman CB Tevin Williams III intercepted his pass in the end zone. Reese rushed for 8 yards on 6 carries, Nabors gained 3 on 1, and Shapen threw a 17-yard pass to Holmes, but the Bears had to punt following a false start penalty on 4th and 9. McGuire brought in backup QB Tyler Shough and his first pass of the game was intercepted by McCarty, who returned the ball 18 yards into the end zone for a pick 6 with Mayers’ extra point, adding to the Baylor 38-17 lead. Shough was sacked 3 times for a loss of 8 yards by Randolph and 7 and 10 yards by Hall. With the third sack occurring on 4th and 18, Baylor took over at the Tech 26. Q. Jones rushed for 4 and 5 yards prior to a 17-yard rushing score at 45 seconds left in the game with Mayers’ made XP inking the final score at 45-17.

6 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including Reese (career-high 36 carries for 148 yards and 3 TDs), Q. Jones (8 carries for 38 yards and 1 TD), Shapen (10 carries for 30 yards), Nabors (3 carries for 11 yards), Drones (1 carry for 2 yards), and Doyle (1 carry for 2 yards). 8 received passes including Holmes (5 catches for 77 yards), Presley (4 catches for 58 yards and 1 TD), Reese (3 catches for 12 yards), Q. Jones (2 catches for 18 yards), Dabney (2 catches for 12 yards), Sims (1 catch for 25 yards), Cameron (1 catch for 5 yards), and Nabors (1 catch for 4 yards). The Baylor defense was arguably the day’s shining star, amassing 50 tackles with 8 for a loss of 54 yards (Walcott, Randolph, M. Jones, Hall, Marshall, Utley), 6 sacks for a loss of 51 yards (Randolph, M. Jones, Hall, Utley), 5 interceptions returned 45 yards (Walcott, Lemear, McCarty, Milton, Williams III), 6 pass break ups (Walcott, Lemear, McCarty, Bobby, Milton), and 3 QB hurries (Hall, Marshall).

The Bears will remain on the road to face Oklahoma (5-3, 2-3) in Norman on Saturday at 2 p.m. (CT).