It’s already been four days since the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl and I’d say I’m…barely over my mind numbing frustration/sadness/disappointment/every synonym for sorrow and defeat. Is that a little dramatic? I understand that the No. 7 Bears (11-3) were at a predetermined disadvantage as they faced No. 5 Georgia (12-2) in the New Years Six bowl, but a girl can dream of Baylor football making history with a postseason victory and a record breaking number of wins in a single season, right? The Bears lost their second-straight game with a 26-14 defeat in the Baylor vs. Georgia match up. The game saw a near miraculous comeback that ended in almost the same fashion as the Big 12 Championship, where true freshman QB Jacob Zeno took the fourth quarter in his hands. Junior QB Charlie Brewer completed 21 of 44 passing attempts for 211 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception and added 9 carries for 7 yards and a score before another violent late hit left him motionless on the field for minutes, sending redshirt freshman Gerry Bohanon in for a pair of plays (though he didn’t record any stats before exiting the game). Zeno completed 4 of 9 attempts for 23 yards and 1 interception and had 2 carries for a loss of 4 yards. The Bears had 3 turnovers and finished with 295 yards and a whopping 10 penalties for 90 yards.
The Baylor defense held strong for the majority of the first quarter, keeping Georgia at a 3-0 lead by the end of the early 15 minutes. On the Bears’ first possession, junior RB John Lovett rushed for 12 yards on 2 carries and caught a 2-yard pass before senior RB JaMycal Hasty ran 3 yards and junior RB Trestan Ebner added a 4-yard catch. Unable to get out of their own territory, Baylor punted the ball away. When the Bears got the ball back, Lovett ran for 6 yards and Brewer connected with sophomore WR R.J. Sneed on an 8-yard pass, further assisted by a Georgia pass interference that pushed Baylor to the UGA 26 yard line. Brewer rushed for a loss of 4 yards and attempted a pass to sophomore WR Tyquan Thornton, but was intercepted at the UGA 18. Brewer threw an 11-yard pass to Thornton on the Bears’ next offensive drive, but recorded 2 incompletions and gained 2 yards rushing before being forced to punt again. Baylor closed the first quarter with 2 incomplete passes and an 8-yard catch by senior WR Denzel Mims before the subsequent punt. The Bulldogs scored their lone 3 points on a 24 yard field goal before entering the second quarter.
Despite defensive efforts keep a maximum 3 point lead, the Bulldogs notched a 27-yard score on their first possession of the quarter to increase to 10-0. Brewer connected with Ebner on a 10-yard pass, but followed with 2 incomplete passes and the offense was set back even further by junior OL Blake Bedier’s personal foul penalty to force a punt almost near midfield. The Bulldogs tacked on a 31 yard field goal to the score, increasing the lead to 13-0 with 8 minutes left in the second quarter. On Baylor’s ball, sophomore WR Josh Fleeks rushed for 4 yards and Hasty added 3 before catching a 5-yard pass that was ultimately negated by another Baylor holding penalty. Brewer nailed a first down with a 13-yard pass to Ebner, but couldn’t move the ball any more downfield with the drive ending at the BU 34 yard line. Georgia easily scored on their next series to make the lead 19-0 as their 2 point conversion attempt failed. Brewer threw a 4-yard pass to Hasty and a 7-yarder to Thornton before reaching Hasty again for 5 yards. Brewer sacked for a loss of 4 yards pushed the Bears back and his 3-yard pass to Thornton didn’t extend the drive, closing the first half at 19-0 in the Bulldogs’ favor.
Baylor got the ball first in the second half and they came out of the tunnel looking like a new team. Brewer threw a 40-yard bomb to Mims on the second play and completed consecutive passes to Fleeks for 3 and 8 yards. Ebner rushed for 4 yards on 2 carries and Mims added an 8-yard catch and a 12-yard catch for the first Baylor TD of the day. After forcing a Georgia three and out, Brewer was knocked down on a late hit and threw 2 incomplete passes following Hasty’s 6-yard rush. On 4th and 4 at the Georgia 46, head coach Matt Rhule elected to go for it and Brewer was sacked for a loss of 7 yards and fumbled the ball, which the Bulldogs recovered at Baylor’s 47 and turned into an eventual score to lead 26-7. The Bears bounced back as Hasty rushed for 3 yards and Brewer completed passes of 17 and 24 yards to Thornton and Ebner. Ebner rushed for 18 yards on 2 carries and Brewer added a 1-yard running score, cutting the lead to 26-14 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. The Baylor defense felt the momentum swinging their way as senior DE James Lockhart sacked UGA QB Jake Fromm for a loss of 5 yards and senior DT Bravvion Roy sacked him again for a loss of 2 yards, forcing a three and out and giving the offense better field position. The offense moved the ball to the UGA 48 on short passes before punting the ball away to start the fourth quarter.
Baylor’s junior All-American DT James Lynch got in on the action with a sack on Fromm for a loss of 5 yards to stop the Georgia drive. When the offense got the ball, Brewer rushed for 11 yards and threw a 3-yard pass to Ebner. Brewer scrambled and ran out of bounds on a 9-yard rush, but was hit late and knocked out, leaving the game with 9 minutes left and momentum favoring the Bears. Bohanon threw an incomplete pass and handed the ball to Hasty for a 3-yard run, but was instantly replaced by Zeno, who threw a 6-yarder to Sneed. The drive ended after Zeno was sacked for a loss of 4 yards. After the Bears forced a final Georgia punt, Zeno completed passes of 7 and 8 yards to Mims and Ebner, but was intercepted on 4th and 10, securing a 26-14 defeat.
6 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including Ebner (5 carries for 23 yards), Lovett (3 carries for 18 yards), Hasty (8 carries for 13 yards), Brewer (9 carries for 7 yards and 1 TD), Fleeks (1 carry for 4 yards), and Zeno (2 carries for minus 4 yards). 8 received passes including Mims (5 catches for 75 yards and 1 TD), Ebner (7 catches for 70 yards), Thornton (4 catches for 38 yards), Sneed (4 catches for 20 yards), Hasty (3 catches for 11 yards), Fleeks (2 catches for 11 yards), sophomore TE Christoph Henle (2 catches for 7 yards), and Lovett (1 catch for 2 yards). Baylor’s defense amassed 62 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss of 17 yards (senior S Chris Miller, senior LB Jordan Williams, Roy, Lockhart, Lynch, sophomore DT Chidi Ogbonnaya), 3 sacks for a loss of 12 yards (Lockhart, Roy, Lynch), and 2 pass break ups (Williams, senior CB Jameson Houston).