Last year Baylor opened the season with an extremely uneasy 29-20 victory over Texas State in San Marcos and the Bears (2-1) continued their winning record against the Bobcats (1-2) by excelling 42-7 in Waco! Baylor greatly improved their offensive showing this week to bounce back from last Saturday’s two overtime loss to then-ranked No. 21 BYU. Whereas the Bears struggled immensely both on the ground and through the air in Provo, they developed new rhythm with a breakout showing by freshman RB Richard Reese and sophomore QB Blake Shapen inking far more completions. Texas State repeatedly shot themselves in the foot on offense and despite making it into Baylor territory multiple times, they ended the matchup with only one score. The Bears still have much to improve on with question marks all over the DL, DBs, and WRs, but their progress from first half to second half was exciting to watch! Shapen completed 15 of 26 passing attempts for 184 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception and added 3 carries for 42 yards and 1 TD. Redshirt freshman QB Kyron Drones completed 2 of 2 passing attempts for 24 yards with 2 carries for 5 yards. Baylor surpassed Texas State on offense with 501 total offensive yards to the Bobcats’ 268 and decreased their number of penalties from last week with 5 for a loss of 55 yards.
The Bears got the ball first and Shapen opened the drive with a 6-yard pass to junior TE Drake Dabney before Reese rushed for 16 yards on 3 carries. Shapen threw a 6-yard pass to junior RB Craig “Sqwirl” Williams and C. Williams subsequently rushed for 7 yards. Shapen threw two incomplete passes and followed with three consecutive passes to sophomore WR Seth Jones for 18 yards, sophomore TE Gavin Yates for 10 yards, and freshman TE Kelsey Johnson for 3 yards. Reese closed the drive with a 14-yard rush for a TD followed by 5th year K John Mayers’ extra point to go 7-0. Texas State went 3-and-out to punt the ball and Baylor had a 3-and-out of their own (despite Shapen’s 6-yard pass to sophomore WR Hal Presley) to give the ball back to the Bobcats. Texas State moved the ball 45 yards in 4:44, but they turned the ball over on downs at the Baylor 31 at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, Shapen threw a 6-yard pass to K. Johnson and C. Williams rushed for 4 yards. Reese ran for 15 yards on 3 carries before Shapen added 5 on the ground. Shapen’s helmet was knocked off during his run, so he had to sit out the Bears’ 2nd and 5 play where Drones came in and connected with S. Jones on a 10-yard pass. C. Williams ran for 30 yards to the house and with Mayers’ extra point, the Bears led 14-0. On Texas State’s drive, junior LB Garmon Randolph recorded a QB hurry and the Bobcats moved upfield 71 yards, but they turned the ball over on downs again on 4th and goal at the Bears’ 4 thanks to junior LB Will Williams’ pass break up. C. Williams lost 3 yards on the ground and Reese gained 2, but Shapen’s huge pass to S. Jones was called incomplete, so the Bears had to punt. Texas State scored an easy 7 points on the drive to decrease Baylor’s lead to 14-7. Baylor got the ball back with 1:59 left in the half as Reese rushed for 1 yard and junior RB Qualan Jones had 5. Shapen completed two passes of 13 and 5 yards to 6th year WR Gavin Holmes and two passes of 13 and 9 yards to redshirt freshman Javon Gipson. Shapen had two incomplete passes before faking a handoff and rushing for 35 yards into the end zone for a score with Mayers’ good kick for a 21-7 lead going in to the half.
On Texas State’s opening drive, senior S Al Walcott forced a fumble that sophomore S Mike Harris recovered to give Baylor the ball at their own 37. Reese rushed for 24 yards on 3 carries, Shapen threw an incomplete pass, and Shapen gained 2 yards on the ground. Shapen’s pass to C. Williams lost 1 yard and C. Williams ran for 2 yards, but Shapen’s next pass was intercepted and returned to the Texas State 30. Junior DL Siaki Ika broke up consecutive passes on 3rd and 4th down to give Baylor the ball at their 49-yard-line. Shapen threw two incomplete passes, Reese rushed for 28 yards on 3 carries, and Shapen threw a 28-yard bomb to Holmes for a TD with Mayers’ kick for a 28-7 lead. Junior LB Matt Jones and senior DL TJ Franklin combined to sack QB Layne Hatcher for a loss of 9 yards and 6th year LB Bryson Jackson hurried Hatcher to force a 3-and-out. However, C. Williams fumbled the punt return and gave the Bobcats the ball back on the Baylor 45. 5th year DL Brayden Utley notched a QB hurry and 6th year DL Chidi Ogbonnaya blocked Texas State’s field goal attempt to leave the Bobcats with 7 points at the end of the third quarter.
Shapen’s first pass of the fourth quarter hit Reese for 17 yards and Reese ran for 52 yards to the house, so Mayers’ extra point increased the Baylor lead to 35-7. Senior LB Victor Obi hurried Hatcher and sophomore LB Brooks Miller sacked Hatcher for a loss of 9 yards to force a punt. Starting at the 50, Shapen threw a 45-yard pass to 5th year RB Josh Fleeks and Reese rushed for 5 yards and a TD, making the score 42-7 with Mayers’ kick. Freshman S Alfonzo Allen broke up a Bobcats pass on 3rd down to force a 3-and-out. Shapen exited the game and Drones rushed for 5 yards on 2 carries, C. Williams ran for 8 yards on 2 carries, and Presley added 2 on the ground. Drones completed a 14-yard pass to redshirt freshman WR Josh Cameron, but the Bears had to punt. The Baylor defense held and stopped the Bobcats on another 3-and-out. Fleeks rushed for 17 yards on 4 carries (due to penalties), but the Bears punted again and Texas State finished the game on the ground.
7 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including Reese (19 carries for 156 yards and 3 TDs), C. Williams (8 carries for 56 yards and 1 TD), Shapen (3 carries for 42 yards and 1 TD), Fleeks (3 carries for 27 yards), Q. Jones (1 carry for 5 yards), Drones (2 carries for 5 yards), and Presley (1 carry for 2 yards). 11 received passes including Holmes (3 catches for 46 yards and 1 TD), S. Jones (2 catches for 28 yards), Gipson (2 catches for 22 yards), Johnson (2 catches for 9 yards), C. Williams (2 catches for 5 yards), Fleeks (1 catch for 45 yards), Reese (1 catch for 17 yards), Cameron (1 catch for 14 yards), Yates (1 catch for 10 yards), Dabney (1 catch for 6 yards), and Presley (1 catch for 6 yards). The defense improved from last week, amassing 70 tackles with 8 for a loss of 31 yards (Walcott, Miller, Franklin, M. Jones, 5th year DL Jaxon Player, sophomore LB Tony Anyanwu, Jackson), 2 sacks for a loss of 18 yards (Miller, Franklin, M. Jones), 1 forced fumble (Walcott), 1 fumble recovery (Harris), 4 pass break ups (W. Williams, Ika, Allen), 1 blocked kick (Ogbonnaya), and 4 QB hurries (Randolph, Obi, Utley, Jackson).
Baylor will open Big 12 play against Iowa State (3-0) in Ames on Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT).