As usual, I’m desperately missing high school and college football, but specifically Baylor’s team (no explanation needed, obviously) as we patiently await the start of the season. I’ve already written a few posts about the Bears as of late, reminiscing on the athletes and moments I loved most the past few years, so after reading Our Daily Bears’ tweet about their worst Baylor sports losses, here are five of my favorite Baylor football games from the past five years!
- #18 Baylor defeats Oklahoma State in Stillwater, 45-27, on November 19, 2015: The Bears delivered their most dominant victory of the season since their non-conference win against UTSA as rallied past the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. The win was just the second time the Bears had ever won in Stillwater (remember the 2015 classic where third backup QB Chris Johnson led the Bears to their first win at OSU since 1939??) and it was one of the few times during the 2019 football season where I felt confident and calm throughout most of the game due to the large margin of victory (no wonder it was one of my favorite Baylor Athletics moments!). I wrote these two paragraphs about the second half of the game in my November recap, which was the highest ranked of my favorite Baylor football games from 2015-19:
The Bears couldn’t score on their first possession in the third quarter, so Oklahoma State added to their lead, 20-10, putting Baylor in their first two score deficit this season. When the Bears got the ball back, however, [junior QB Charlie] Brewer immediately connected with Thornton on a 78-yard pass, his longest of his career, and [senior RB JaMycal] Hasty added a 5-yard rush into the end zone, putting the Bears at 17-20. One drive later, Brewer completed an 18-yard pass to sophomore WR Josh Fleeks and Hasty rushed for 9 yards on 2 carries. At Baylor’s 36 yard line, Brewer threw a 64-yard pass to Fleeks who ran it in for a score, giving Baylor the 24-20 lead before Baylor’s defense forced an OSU three and out to close the third quarter.
Oklahoma State scored a touchdown on their first possession, but Baylor took back their lead on the following drive. Brewer completed a 44-yard pass to Fleeks and a 4-yard pass to sophomore WR R.J. Sneed before Hasty ran for 2 yards and Brewer scored on an acrobatic 2-yard rush. Coming off a 31-27 lead, the Baylor defense notched their first big play of the day on sophomore DT Chidi Ogbonnaya’s sack for a loss of 6 yards, leading to Sanders’ fumble recovered by sophomore LB Terrel Bernard, who ran the ball in for a touchdown to put the Bears up 38-27. According to Baylor football’s twitter, Bernard’s score was the team’s first fumble recovered for a TD since former CB Xavien Howard did the same at Kansas in 2015. Oklahoma State couldn’t move the ball more than 20 yards and senior S Henry Black broke up a pass on fourth down to give the offense the ball back at the Baylor 27 yard line. On the first hand off, Brewer gave the ball to Hasty who ran it back 73 yards for a touchdown, the longest run of his Baylor career, and secured the Bears’ 45-27 victory.
- #12 Baylor defeats TCU in triple overtime, 29-23, on November 9, 2019: The game itself was incredibly stressful and less than stellar on the scoring front, but the Bears excelled over my second least favorite team in the conference for the first time in 5 years (since the classic 61-58 decision in 2014) in arguably the most exciting overtime finale. Here’s what I wrote in my recap of the game to cover the end of regulation through the three overtime victory, and the most intense but incredible of my favorite Baylor football games:
The offense finished on TCU’s 34 yard line with 36 seconds left when head coach Matt Rhule sent [sophomore K John] Mayers in for the 51-yard game-tying field goal (and the longest and most important of his career). Miraculously, he sent the ball flying through the uprights and tied the game 9-9 to send the Bears and Horned Frogs into overtime.
Baylor got the ball first and senior RB JaMycal Hasty started with a 3-yard run before Brewer connected with senior WR Denzel Mims on a 12-yard pass to get the first down. However, sophomore WR R.J. Sneed was flagged for a personal foul, which moved the Bears back 15 yards. [Junior QB Charlie] Brewer ran for 4 yards and allowed Sneed to make up for his error on an 11-yard catch for a second first down. Hasty added a 7-yard rush and Brewer ran the ball 3 yards in the end zone to take the 16-9 lead with Mayers’ made extra point. [Senior LB Blake] Lynch sacked [TCU QB Max Duggan] for a loss of 4 yards on TCU’s possession, but the QB connected on an insane 24-yard pass on 4th and 9 to tie the game up.
TCU easily scored another TD in double overtime as Baylor’s defense looked exhausted throughout the series. Junior RB John Lovett rushed for 5 yards, but Brewer was unable to hit sophomore WR Tyquan Thornton on 3rd and 5. With one shot left, Mims caught a 20-yard pass for the score and another tied game, 23-23, taking the game into triple overtime. Brewer immediately completed a 21-yard pass to senior WR Chris Platt and hit Mims again for a 4-yard score, but their essential 2-point conversion failed. When TCU got the ball back, Duggan ran for 17 yards and what looked to be a TD, but he had stepped out twice, so the ball was placed at Baylor’s 3 yard line. A personal foul penalty on [senior DT Bravvion] Roy moved the ball even closer to Baylor’s 1, but TCU’s RB lost 3 yards on a rush, Duggan threw an incomplete pass, and the Horned Frogs collected a holding penalty, pushing the ball back to Baylor’s 14. On 4th and goal, Duggan threw a long ball, but [junior CB Grayland] Arnold intercepted it in the end zone and secured Baylor’s 29-23 victory!
- #2 Baylor defeats West Virginia in Waco, 62-38, on October 17, 2015: Of all the Baylor football teams I’ve loved, 2015 with QB Seth Russell pre-broken neck was probably the most dominant and destined to be in the final four. Just as 2019-20’s Year of the Bear featured many what if’s, I often wonder how far this Baylor team could have gone had Seth and co. remained healthy. This West Virginia game was arguably the most dominant I’ve seen the Bears in recent memory, and after their brutal 2014 loss in Morgantown, felt much deserved! Here are the best moments about the third of my favorite Baylor football games I wrote about in my 2015 recap (please don’t judge the immaturity of my writing, I was just a wee 18 year old!):
The shining star of the game was none other than QB Seth Russell who rushed for 160 yards and a TD of his own. With a combined 540 yards and 6 TDs, the QB could not be slowed down. Russell has proven to be a similar version of beloved Robert Griffin III when it comes to his speed, strength, and agility. Although he has the ability to throw deep passes like that of Bryce Petty, he exceeds his predecessor in almost every way. Russell has shown that he likes to take risks on the field. Whether it’s throwing the ball to a receiver who has two backs covering him or faking the handoff and running 30-40 yards into the end zone, the current QB under [head coach Art] Briles is an obvious knockout.
Junior WR Corey Coleman again proved why he’s the best receiver in College Football. His speed and incredible connection with Russell allowed him to have 10 catches for 199 yards and three TDs against the Mountaineers. In just six games, Coleman has passed the school record of TDs in one season (record formerly held by WR Kendall Wright who now plays for the Tennessee Titans). Coleman now logs 16 TDs in half of the season and is on track to receiving 30+ TDs for the rest of the year. WR Jay Lee received two TDs of his own and TE Trevor Clemons-Valdez (if you haven’t heard that name before, it’s because he wasn’t on the team earlier this season) received one in the late fourth quarter.
- #17 Baylor defeats #10 North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl, 49-38, on December 29, 2015: After QB Seth Russell’s season-ending injury, the Bears faltered against Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas, quickly dropping their top 5 ranking. As the season winded down, they also lost their second (Jarrett Stidham the worst ever) and third string (Chris Johnson) QBs to injuries, forcing the Baylor offense to utilize WRs and RBs as fill in QBs. In their December bowl game against former Baylor coach and now current OC Larry Fedora’s team, the Bears used the Wildcat formation (nicknamed Wildbear) under primarily RB Johnny Jefferson (as well as WR Lynx Hawthorne and RBs Devin Chafin, and Terence Williams) who easily and constantly sped past the Tar Heels in the unexpected Baylor victory, and one of my favorite Baylor football games, which I wrote about in this lengthy recap:
RB Johnny Jefferson had the game of a lifetime as he rushed for 299 yards in the game, scored three TDs, and became Baylor’s second 1,000 yard rusher in the season. Under the leadership of five different “QBs” in the form of [senior QB Chris] Johnson, Jefferson, Chafin, Hawthorne, and Williams, Baylor showed its diversity and ability to control the ball on the ground as well as they can in the air. The Bears racked up 645 rushing yards and 756 yards of total offense. [Senior LB] Aiavion Edwards was the most dominant defensive player of the field as he was credited for 17 tackles, 2 TFL, one sack, and a forced fumble. The offensive line battled their way through the trenches as they protected every QB and RB on the field (incidentally, every RB was a QB that night), despite constant injuries.
- Baylor defeats Vanderbilt in the Texas Bowl, 45-38, on December 27, 2018: In the last of my favorite Baylor football games over the past five years, the Bears notched their first winning season under head coach Matt Rhule and the first since 2016! Baylor’s offense was spectacular throughout the entire game, which was especially necessary as the defense wasn’t stopping Vandy as much as they could have. Although neither team was ranked going into the bowl, watching the Bears go from 1-11 to 7-6 following their victory was one of the most special moments I’ve witnessed! Here’s the breakdown of the game’s second half I wrote in 2018:
Baylor opened the second half of the game with [sophomore QB Charlie] Brewer completing short passes to [freshman WR Josh] Fleeks, [junior WR Denzel] Mims, and [freshman WR Tyquan] Thornton of seven, five, and 23 yards, respectively, before handing the ball off to [sophomore RB] Ebner, who ran for a 34-yard TD. Vaughn tried to quickly respond, but the Bears’ defense shut him down and junior LB/S Blake Lynch sacked QB Kyle Shurmur on 3rd and five to force a Vanderbilt punt. Brewer showed his wheels on the next drive, rushing 38-yards on a keeper before completing passes of 19 and 33 yards to [sophomore RB] Lovett and Ebner. Brewer was sacked again, stalling the drive on third down, but completed a crucial 15-yard pass to Mims on 4th and 13 to get the first down. A 13-yard Ebner rush set up Brewer’s 1-yard run in for the TD. The Bears forced a fumble on Vandy’s next series, which Lynch recovered, but couldn’t capitalize on the field position, so they were forced to punt. The Commodores caught up on a 52-yard rush and Blasingame’s 2-yard run in TD. The third quarter finished at 31-28 Baylor.
The Bears marched down the field in their first series of the fourth quarter, but Brewer’s pass to Mims in the endzone was insanely intercepted as he fell to the ground and the ball bounced off of his legs into the Vandy CB’s hands. Once the Commodores’ offense took the field, the ball went straight into Vaughn’s hold and he took off for 66-yards to set up Blasingame’s one-yard rushing score. Within 12 seconds, Brewer completed a pass to Ebner, who ran the ball in for a 75-yard TD to swap the lead in Baylor’s favor. Baylor’s defense held strong on Vanderbilt’s next possession, forcing them to only kick a FG and tie the score at 38-38. With five minutes left in the game, the Bears’ offense took the field once again with Ebner rushing for 11 and six yards and Brewer added a six yard run before hitting junior WR Marques Jones for the game-winning TD (and his second of the season).