*Note: I’ve been posting my Baylor football recaps days after I shared my weekend newspaper capsules, but after enough of Jonathan’s complaints, I’m reshashing the Baylor vs. Texas Tech game today!*
Last year, the Baylor Bears became bowl eligible for the first time in the Matt Rhule era on the final game of the regular season when they defeated Texas Tech 35-24. Yesterday, the Bears (6-0, 3-0) secured a bowl ticket as they notched their sixth victory of the season on a thrilling 33-30 overtime win again against Texas Tech on Homecoming Saturday! There’s a lot to recap, especially with today’s news about a key Baylor player out for the season as well as an updated AP ranking for the Bears after the game, so let’s dive in! Junior QB Charlie Brewer had an off day as he completed 24 of 37 passing attempts for 352 yards and 3 interceptions and redshirt freshman QB Gerry Bohanon had one passing attempt. However, Brewer also added 15 carries for 55 yards and 3 TDs. The Bears recorded 3 turnovers and finished with 525 yards, but increased their penalties to 10 for 83 yards.
The Baylor defense got to work quickly with junior DT James Lynch sacking Tech QB Jett Duffey for a loss of 9 yards on the Red Raiders’ first offensive possession. Neither team could move the ball downfield, however, so Lynch and sophomore LB Terrel Bernard sacked Duffey again for a loss of 7 yards with seven minutes left in the first quarter. On Baylor’s final possession of the first 15 minutes, the offense received help from two consecutive Tech pass interference calls, but Brewer was picked off, setting the Red Raiders’ offense up at their own 47 yard line. Despite Tech’s great field position, Duffey and co. couldn’t move the ball close enough to the end zone, and Baylor senior LB Blake Lynch and junior DE Niadré Zouzoua combined to sack Duffey for a loss of 2 yards, holding the Red Raiders to a 40-yard field goal at the end of the quarter.
Brewer slowly got his offense moving at the start of the second quarter, but on the Bears’ second first down, he was intercepted again at the Tech 45 yard line. However, Duffey returned the mistake with a pass intercepted by Baylor senior LB Jordan Williams, who returned the catch 16 yards to the Tech 41. Once the Baylor offense took the field, junior RB John Lovett rushed for 4 and 3 yards and senior WR Denzel Mims caught a 14-yard pass, setting up redshirt freshman K John Mayers’ 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3. Tech’s next possession ended with a fumble recovered by Baylor senior CB Jameson Houston at the Bears’ 15 yard line. The Bears’ offense couldn’t get anything going, and after punting, Tech scored a 25-yard field goal, taking the 6-3 lead with 2 minutes left in the first half.
The Bears looked like a completely different team coming into the third quarter as Brewer rushed for 5 yards and connected with senior WR Chris Platt for 23 yards. Bohanon and Brewer each added 4 yard runs, with Brewer launching into the end zone for a Baylor TD. When Tech got the ball back, Bears’ senior DE James Lockhart sacked Duffey for a loss of 4 yards, but the Red Raiders secured a TD of their own to take the 13-10 lead. Baylor immediately responded as Brewer completed a 10 yard pass to sophomore WR R.J. Sneed and rushed for 5 yards before Lovett added a 3 yard run of his own. Brewer connected with sophomore WR Tyquan Thornton and Sneed on passes of 24 and 32 yards and ran in the end zone on a 1 yard rushing score– his second of the day. With 3 minutes left in the game, J. Lynch sacked Duffey for a loss of 4 yards, but the Baylor offense began to struggle until the end of the third quarter.
Although the Bears opened the fourth quarter on offense, Brewer recorded his third interception on 3rd and goal. Tech’s responding drive finished with Duffey’s pass getting picked off by senior LB Clay Johnston, who ran back to the Baylor 20 yard line. The Bears were forced to punt with 4:19 left in the game and on Tech’s final drive, they scored to take the 20-17 lead with 1:37 on the game clock. While it seemed like all hope was lost for a Baylor offense that struggled immensely throughout the game’s entirety, Brewer’s confidence and urgency took center stage. He was sacked for a loss of 8 yards on the first play, but Brewer connected with junior WR Trestan Ebner for 20 yards and Sneed for 9 yards before adding a 3-yard rush. Mims caught a stunning 19-yard pass where he landed with his toe barely in bounds and Ebner added a 27-yard catch with 26 seconds left. Thornton caught a 6-yard pass and Brewer rushed for 10 yards at the 10 second mark, but after two incomplete passes to Mims, Mayers kicked a 19-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to tie the game 20-20 and take the Bears into overtime.
Baylor got the ball first as Lovett lost 3 yards on the rush and a false start caused a Bears 2nd and 18 play at Tech’s 33 yard line. Brewer launched a 32-yard pass to Mims and rushed for a 1-yard score to take the lead. A Baylor defensive pass interference call led to Tech’s touchdown, sending the game into double overtime. Tech’s second overtime series ended with a 35-yard field goal and on Baylor’s possession, Lovett rushed for 2 yards and Brewer threw an 18-yard pass to Hasty, who secured the Baylor victory on a 5-yard rushing TD!!
Four Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts, including Lovett (17 carries for 77 yards), Brewer (15 carries for 55 yards and 3 TDs), Hasty (5 carries for 37 yards and 1 TD), and Bohanon (1 carry for 4 yards). Seven received passes including Sneed (6 catches for 84 yards), Thornton (4 catches for 84 yards), Mims (3 catches for 65 yards), Ebner (2 catches for 47 yards), Hasty (4 catches for 38 yards), Platt (4 catches for 29 yards), and sophomore WR Josh Fleeks (1 catch for 6 yards). Baylor’s defense amassed 83(!!!) tackles with 11 for a loss of 38 yards (Johnston, Williams, B. Lynch, Bernard, J. Lynch, junior LB Jalen Pitre, senior DT Bravvion Roy, Lockhart, freshman DT Gabe Hall, Zouzoua), 5 sacks for a loss of 26 yards (B. Lynch, Bernard, J. Lynch [2.5 for a loss of 17 yards!!], Lockhart, Zouzoua), 1 forced fumble (sophomore RB Abram Smith), 1 fumble recovery (Houston), 2 interceptions (Johnston returned 8 yards, Williams returned 16 yards), 4 pass breakups (Johnston, Williams, senior S Henry Black, J. Lynch), and 5 QB hurries (B. Lynch, Bernard, J. Lynch, Roy x2).
Unfortunately, arguably Baylor’s leading tackler and one of the most important team athletes, Clay Johnston, will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. This loss will immensely impact the rest of the Bears’ 2019 as Johnston truly demolishes every offense. Hopefully the rest of the LB corps can pull together and try to fill Johnston’s absence heading into the rest of Big 12 play. Following the Bears 6-0, 3-0 start to the season, their AP ranking shot up from #22/23 to #18. They join Oklahoma (#5) and Texas (#15) as the only Big 12 schools in this week’s Top 25.
Baylor will face Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT).