Sep 11, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas Southern Tigers defensive back Ja'Corey Benjamin (8) breaks up a pass intended for Baylor Bears wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (9) at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor piles up 714 yards in rout of Texas Southern

The Baylor Bears scored on their first 10 possessions, nine touchdowns and a field goal, and crushed the visiting Texas Southern Tigers 66-7 on Saturday in Waco, Texas.

The Bears (2-0) rolled up 714 yards in total offense, led by quarterback Gerry Bohanon. The junior completed 16 of 21 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He picked up two more scores on the ground.

Running backs Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner led the running game, which sliced Texas Southern for 419 yards on the ground. Smith rushed 12 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 70 yards and another score.

Ebner amassed 125 yards on 10 carries, including a 58-yard burst. Isaiah Hankins went 9-of-9 on extra points and also booted a 37-yard field goal.

Tyquan Thornton caught five passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Taye McWilliams piled up 102 yards rushing and a fourth-quarter score.

Texas Southern (0-2), an FCS school, broke the shutout midway through the fourth quarter on Kevin Harris’ 1-yard run, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

The Tigers nearly scored earlier in the fourth, but on fourth-and-goal on the Baylor 2, Jacorey Howard fumbled, and the Bears’ JT Woods scooped it up and went 93 yards for a touchdown.

Texas Southern, which had only 52 yards of total offense in the first half, finished with 283. Jalen Brown threw for 96 yards on 7-of-12 passing. Howard had 70 yards on 11 carries, and backup quarterback Andrew Body, a freshman, added 67 yards rushing.

Matt Jones and Ashton Logan each had a sack and two tackles for loss for Baylor, and Jalen Pitre had six solo tackles, including two for loss, and forced the fumble that led to Woods’ score.

Baylor scored touchdowns on all six of its first-half possessions, three in each quarter. They came on drives as long as 12 plays (capped by Smith’s 20-yard run) and as quick as one play (Thornton’s 48-yard pass from Bohanon).

–Field Level Media

Jul 15, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA;  Baylor Bears head coach Dave Aranda speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA hands Baylor probation, fine in sex assault scandal

The NCAA infractions committee made available its findings from a years-long investigation into the Baylor football program on Wednesday, handing the Bears four years of probation, a fine and multiple other sanctions but declaring the school ultimately did not violate NCAA rules.

The ruling comes more than five years after the sexual assault scandal broke in 2016, leading to the firing of football coach Art Briles and the eventual departures of athletic director Ian McCaw and school president Ken Starr.

According to the report, “The allegations at the heart of this case centered on conduct never before presented to the COI (Committee on Infractions) — namely, that Baylor shielded football student-athletes from the institution’s disciplinary process and failed to report allegations of abhorrent misconduct by football student-athletes, including instances of sexual and interpersonal violence.

“Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of sexual violence on campus but argued that those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA legislation. Ultimately, and with tremendous reluctance, this panel agrees.”

However, the NCAA did find other violations that occurred between 2011 and 2016, including impermissible benefits for one football player as well as Baylor’s operation of “a predominantly female student-host program that did not align with NCAA recruiting rules,” according to the NCAA’s release on the report. Additionally, former assistant director of football operations Colin Shillinglaw failed to meet his obligation to cooperate, thus violating ethical conduct rules when he did not participate in the investigation.

The specific penalties include four years of probation, a $5,000 fine and several recruiting restrictions. Restrictions include a reduction in official and unofficial visits, a ban on football recruiting communication during a two-week period of the 2021-22 academic year and a reduction of evaluation days during fall 2021 and spring 2022. Also, a five-year show-cause penalty has been given to Shillinglaw, while Baylor must vacate any records that occurred where an ineligible player participated.

Following Briles’ departure, Baylor found success under former head coach Matt Rhule, who spent three seasons with the Bears and led them to an 11-3 season in 2019. After Rhule left Waco to take over as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Baylor brought in former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who led the Bears to a 2-7 season in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Dillon Stoner (17) runs past Baylor Bears safety Christian Morgan (4) on a 75-yard touchdown reception during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Oklahoma State posts 608 yards, crushes Baylor

Dillon Stoner caught eight passes for a career-high 247 yards and three touchdowns and true freshman Dominic Richardson rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns as 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State cruised to a 42-3 victory over short-handed Baylor on Saturday afternoon in Waco, Texas.

Spencer Sanders completed 20-of-30 passes for 347 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for Oklahoma State (7-3, 6-3 Big 12), who won in Waco for the first time since 2009 and also the first time ever at McLane Stadium.

The Cowboys, who jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first 19 minutes, outgained the Bears 608-156, including a 261-70 edge on the ground.

Charlie Brewer completed 13-of-26 passes for 68 yards before leaving late in the third quarter with an injury and John Mayers kicked a 40-yard field goal for Baylor (2-7, 2-7), which played the game despite closing its football facility on Thursday because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Bears were without 47 players, coaches and staff members due to injuries, COVID-19 cases and contact tracing.

Sanders and Stoner needed just two plays to take advantage of a Baylor secondary missing cornerbacks Kalon Barnes and Mark Milton when they combined for a 75-yard touchdown pass up the right sideline to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.

The duo then teamed up again for a 15-yard touchdown pass to cap a 92-yard, 11-play drive to make it 14-0 and again for a 40-yard touchdown pass 39 seconds into the second quarter to up the OSU lead to 21-0. Richardson made it 28-0 with a 17-yard touchdown run as Oklahoma State went into halftime with a 347-52 edge in total yards.

Richardson’s two-yard run late in the third quarter made it 35-0. After Mayers broke the shutout with his field goal midway through the fourth quarter, Richardson ended the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run with 4:49 to go.

Oklahoma State’s reigning FBS rushing champion Chuba Hubbard announced before the game that he was opting out for the rest of the season to concentrate on preparing for the NFL draft.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Dillon Stoner (17) is tackled by TCU Horned Frogs cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (1) in the first quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State looks to finish strong vs. Baylor

After a 4-0 start that included wins over Iowa State and West Virginia, Oklahoma State rose to No. 6 in the national rankings and looked like the Big 12’s best bet to make the College Football Playoff.

But the Cowboys (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) have dropped three of their last five games heading into Saturday night’s regular-season finale at Baylor (2-6, 2-6) and can finish no higher than third in the conference after last week’s 29-22 loss at TCU.

The loss to the Horned Frogs sewed up a matchup between first-place Iowa State (8-2, 8-1) and second-place Oklahoma (7-2, 6-2) in the Big 12 Championship game on Dec. 19. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have dropped seven places to 22nd in the latest CFP ratings released on Tuesday night and travel to Waco, Texas, for a makeup game of an Oct. 17 contest that had to be postponed after the Bears were unable to meet Big 12 roster requirements because of positive COVID-19 cases on the team’s roster.

The best Oklahoma State can finish in the Big 12 now is third with a win over the Bears and if Texas (6-3, 5-3), which owns the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of a 41-34 overtime victory over the Cowboys on Halloween, falls to last-place Kansas (0-9, 0-8).

However, a frustrated Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy made it clear during the league’s coaches teleconference on Monday that a third-place finish wasn’t high on his list of priorities.

“I’m not disappointed with anybody in this organization,” Gundy said. “I’m disappointed that — every year our goal is to win a Big 12 Championship. If you win a Big 12 Championship, you win first place. If you get second or 10th, you get the last place. There are no second-place medals.”

Oklahoma State lost at TCU despite jumping out to a 13-0 lead and forcing a season-high five turnovers. However, the Cowboys, playing without injured All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, managed to score off only one of the turnovers, a 40-yard fumble return by defensive end Brock Martin, and the Horned Frogs and quarterback Max Duggan took advantage of an injury-plagued OSU secondary to rally and pull out the victory.

“It’s a pretty rare game when you score on defense and you get that many turnovers to not be able to find a way to win, but we just couldn’t muster up much offensively,” Gundy said. “We couldn’t get much stability, we did hit on a couple of big plays, but we just couldn’t muster up enough with where we’re at right now to keep rolling.”

Baylor comes in off a 27-14 loss at Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to just 269 total yards including 76 rushing yards on 31 carries. Quarterback Charlie Brewer completed 30 of 56 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for another TD. He ranks second in rushing for the season for the Bears with 170 yards.

Since COVID-19 prevented Baylor from playing a nonconference game with Houston, the Bears could still schedule another contest for Dec. 19. But head coach Dave Aranda told the Waco Tribune his team is zeroed in on its final Big 12 contest of the season with the Cowboys.

“We’re not looking that way right now,” Aranda said. “All eyes are on this Saturday and the game versus Oklahoma State. All of our focus is really on that.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Drake Stoops (12) makes a catch as Baylor Bears safety JT Woods (22) defends during the first half at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Oklahoma beats Baylor, earns spot in Big 12 title game

Spencer Rattler threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns as No. 11 Oklahoma beat Baylor 27-14 in Norman, Okla., on Saturday night.

It wasn’t the characteristic offensive explosion for the Sooners, who finished with just 269 yards of offense.

Instead, the defense played a big role in lifting the Sooners into the Big 12 Championship Game for the fourth consecutive season.

Oklahoma’s chances to win a sixth consecutive conference title – or even make the title game – looked dead in early October after starting 0-2 in Big 12 play.

The Sooners, however, have reeled off six consecutive wins to clinch a spot in the game, even before the regular-season finale Dec. 12 at West Virginia. That game was originally scheduled for Nov. 28 before COVID-19 issues with the Sooners forced its postponement.

Oklahoma (7-2 overall, 6-2 Big 12) was playing without much of its starting secondary and several other key contributors, especially on defense.

But while the Sooners’ offense was largely intact, Baylor’s defense turned in a strong performance.

Baylor (2-6, 2-6) held the Sooners to their lowest offensive output since early in the 2015 season.

But offense was hard to come by for Baylor, too, as the Sooners picked off Charlie Brewer twice and held the Sooners to just 25 yards rushing.

Oklahoma sacked Brewer three times, with defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas involved each time, two of them coming solo.

Sooners’ running back Rhamondre Stevenson had 98 yards from scrimmage, with 15 carries for 50 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 48 yards.

Oklahoma led 3-0 for much of the first half, thanks in part to a pair of missed field goals by Baylor, one from 46 yards and the other from 47.

Stevenson scored the game’s first touchdown, a 3-yard run, with just more than a minute to go before half after the Oklahoma defense forced a punt from just outside the end zone. The Sooners’ offense got the ball at the Baylor 31.

Rattler, who had struggled with Baylor’s pressure throughout the first half, then led a touchdown drive to begin the third quarter to put the Sooners up 17-0 and give them some cushion.

Baylor ends its regular season next week against Oklahoma State.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Norman, Oklahoma, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) with fans after the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Oklahoma in Big 12 title hunt as it faces Baylor

A sixth consecutive Big 12 title seemed out of reach for Oklahoma after the Sooners dropped their first two Big 12 games, but suddenly became a reality after they rattled off five consecutive wins.

Now, after last week’s game against West Virginia was postponed to Dec. 12 due to COVID-19 issues with the team, the No. 11 Sooners (6-2, 5-2 Big 12) are back to being in the difficult position of waiting and watching heading into Saturday’s game against Baylor.

Oklahoma doesn’t quite control its own destiny to make the conference title game, but it is likely to be in with a 2-0 — or even a 1-0 — finish. But the Sooners must at least play one of their final two scheduled games to be eligible.

As important as the game results are to the Sooners are the results of the COVID tests leading up to the game.

“I think every single person in our program right now has anxiety when they take the test,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said of the thrice weekly tests. “I know we have a good plan in place if I were to test positive, but I absolutely have anxiety.”

The Sooners’ recent struggles with COVID led to another development — the potential for Bob Stoops to return to help coach.

Stoops, who coached the Sooners for 18 years and is the winningest coach in program history, was on the field for practice Tuesday and could potentially help throughout the rest of the week and Saturday’s game as some assistants could be held out due to testing or contact tracing.

“It’s kind of been in our hip pocket this whole time,” Riley said. “If we had any staff member who fell off, we have a Hall of Famer sitting on the bench. It’s a pretty good bench when you can call that guy up.”

Stoops retired before the 2017 season, handing the program over to Riley, who had been hired two years earlier as offensive coordinator. Since then, he’s served as a special assistant to Oklahoma’s athletic director, opening the door for him to help this season.

Oklahoma and Baylor played twice last season — both thrilling games pulled out by the Sooners.

In the regular-season matchup, Oklahoma overcame a 31-10 halftime deficit to win 34-31. In the Big 12 Championship Game, the Sooners needed overtime to win 30-23.

While the Sooners have rounded into form, Baylor has mostly struggled in Dave Aranda’s first season as head coach.

The Bears (2-5, 2-5) are coming off their biggest win of the season, though, a 32-31 come-from-behind victory over Kansas State in which Bears quarterback Charlie Brewer was spectacular. Brewer completed nearly 80 percent of his passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 56 yards and two more scores.

“When you do it one time, you can do it another time,” Aranda said of the Bears’ momentum. “Just putting the game in their (the players’) hands and giving the best opportunity to be successful and let them rise up and make plays, get them to feel comfortable throughout the week in terms of giving the best look possible.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Charlie Brewer (5) rolls out to pass against the Kansas State Wildcats during the second quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor beats Kansas State on last-second field goal

Charlie Brewer was responsible for four touchdowns, and he led Baylor to a winning field goal on the final play as the Bears defeated Kansas State 32-31 in a back-and-forth game Saturday night in Waco, Texas.

John Mayers kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired, capping a 10-play, 57-yard drive that started with 2:32 to go.

Baylor (2-5, 2-5 Big 12) snapped a five-game losing streak while Kansas State (4-5, 4-4) lost its fourth straight contest.

Brewer finished with 349 passing yards and two touchdowns as he completed 31 of 39 passes. He added two rushing touchdowns and was the team’s leader with 56 yards on the ground.

Trailing 17-6 at halftime, Baylor got a 28-yard field goal and then marched 63 yards in seven plays to draw within 17-15. R.J. Sneed had a ballet-like dance down the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown, but the two-point conversion attempt failed.

Baylor outgained Kansas State 152 yards to 27 in the third quarter.

The teams traded blows in the fourth quarter. Kansas State’s Will Howard found Briley Moore for a 49-yard gain, and then Howard ran it in from 24 yards out for a 24-15 lead.

Brewer then hit Trestan Ebner for an 8-yard score. Deuce Vaughn answered from 38 yards out to give the Wildcats a two-score lead again.

Baylor responded with a 54-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard dive by Brewer, to cut the lead to 31-29. Following a K-State punt, Brewer drove the Bears 57 yards for the game-winning field goal.

Baylor jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on a Brewer 7-yard run. The Bears got the ball on the Kansas State 9-yard line after an interception on the opening series. The extra point was botched on the snap.

The Wildcats responded on the next play with a 75-yard run on a sweep by receiver Malik Knowles for a 7-6 lead. Kansas State then took advantage of a Baylor miscue with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Howard to Vaughn. Baylor fumbled a punt and the Wildcats recovered on the Baylor 35.

The Bears struggled on special teams early. They had a missed extra point, had a 29-yard punt, fumbled a punt return and were called for a fair-catch interference penalty.

The final mistake put Kansas State in scoring position, and the Wildcats capitalized with a 20-yard Blake Lynch field goal for an 11-point halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (15) hands off to running back Deuce Vaughn (22) during a game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State, Baylor set for chance at redemption

Two teams limping down the stretch will square off Saturday night as Baylor hosts Kansas State at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

The Bears have lost five straight since winning their first game against Kansas. K-State hasn’t won since a 55-14 defeat of Kansas helped the Wildcats reach No. 16 in the AP poll. Their third straight defeat, a 45-0 whitewashing at Iowa State, was their worst loss in five seasons.

“Hopefully they’re a little ticked off,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said Monday when asked about his players’ attitudes. “In the same respect, our leaders are tremendous leaders. We had a good week of practice last week after a tough loss to Oklahoma State. I can promise you that we’ll have a good week of practice this week after a tough loss to Iowa State.

“It’s part of the learning process.”

Kansas State (4-4, 4-3 Big 12) has a slim chance at a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game, but the Wildcats have to win out (they host Texas on Dec. 5) and they need some help.

The first thing they need is to get healthy. They’ve been battling COVID-19 absences all year, several times finding out the day before games that they’d have enough players to play. They defeated Oklahoma on the road in that situation in the conference opener, but against the Cyclones the lack of practice time was evident.

K-State’s biggest problem has been finding consistency on offense. True freshmen quarterback Will Howard and running back Deuce Vaughn have showed signs of brilliance but also have been unimpressive at times.

With a thin margin for error for his team, Klieman isn’t looking past Baylor.

“They have guys who are going to fight and battle,” he said. “It’s going to be a heck of a football game. I’m a huge (quarterback) Charlie Brewer fan. I think he’s a winner and an exceptional college football player.”

Baylor (1-5, 1-5 Big 12) has also dealt with a thin roster, to the point that they have only played six games so far. The Bears will make up their game against Oklahoma State on Dec. 12.

Baylor has been in every game, beginning with a double-overtime loss at West Virginia and most recently in a one-point loss at Texas Tech on Nov. 14. Four of their five losses have been on the road, so some home cooking might help.

Baylor’s first-year coach Dave Aranda said his team has to be ready for a battle with K-State.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Kansas State,” he said. “Kansas State does a great job of attacking in the run game. They’re really smart in their attack. It strikes you when you see it because they’re subtle in the way they out-number you.

“I can see the struggles they’re going through with the depth-chart changes. It’s a fight, to a certain degree, we’re all fighting. I’ve got a lot of respect for their staff, and I feel for them. I’m sure, come Saturday night they’ll put up a big fight for us.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Henry Colombi (3) rushes in the first half against the Baylor Bears at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech chases down Baylor for last-second win

Welcome to big-time football, Jonathan Garibay. And welcome back to the spotlight, Alan Bowman.

They were key figures Saturday as the host Texas Tech Red Raiders staged a 24-23 come-from-behind victory against the Baylor Bears in Lubbock, Texas.

Garibay made a 25-yard field goal as time expired, capping a 79-yard drive that Bowman engineered after he took over at quarterback for good in the second half when starter Henry Colombi suffered a forearm injury.

Installed as the starting kicker earlier the week, Garibay booted four field goals – his other three were from 48, 28, and 46 yards – and he hit two in the final 4:41 to help the Red Raiders (3-5, 2-5 Big 12 Conference) claw back with the final 12 points of the game.

Garibay was also a huge factor as the punter, averaging 49.4 yards on five punts.

Bowman, Texas Tech’s starter to begin each of the last three seasons, lost his job to Colombi three weeks ago and had played sparingly since. He played a series in the first half Saturday and threw an interception that Baylor’s Jalen Pitre returned 26 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.

The Bears (1-5, 1-5) methodically built on that 7-3 lead, with senior quarterback Charlie Brewer’s steady performance as both a passer and runner: He threw for 153 yards on the day and ran for a team-high 86 to buoy a 207-yard rushing day for Baylor.

But Red Raiders linebacker Colin Schooler thwarted Brewer’s bid for what could have been a game-sealing touchdown when he stopped the quarterback in his tracks inches from the goal line late in the third quarter. A procedure penalty then forced the Bears to settle for a field goal that padded their lead to 23-12.

The rest of the game belonged to Texas Tech. With Bowman at the controls, the Red Raiders ran 26 plays in the final 15 minutes and carved out 176 yards to produce a touchdown and Garibay’s two field goals.

The defense chimed in as well. With Baylor trying to run out the clock inside the final three minutes, Texas Tech cornerback Zech McPhearson delivered a big pass breakup on third-and-5 to force the Bears to punt.

Starting from the 14-yard-line with 2:14 to go, the Red Raiders moved down the field quickly. Bowman connected on five passes for 58 yards, and running back SaRodorick Thompson wiggled out of a tackle for a 15-yard pickup to convert on third-and-8 and put Texas Tech at the 7 with 31 seconds to go.

Garibay calmly drilled the game-winner after Baylor coach Dave Aranda called a timeout to ice the kicker.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) scrambles out of the pocket during the fourth quarter against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech, Baylor chase improvement

In a weird season when goals seem to change on a weekly basis, Texas Tech and Baylor square off Saturday with the most basic, fundamental aspiration of all.

Just get better.

Neither team has been able to generate sustained momentum this season, so when the Red Raiders host the Bears in Lubbock, Texas, finding a foothold that will carry the winner the rest of the way and perhaps serve as a segue to 2021 is high on the priority list.

For Texas Tech (2-5, 1-5 Big 12), there is still a chance to finish at .500 in the abbreviated season. To reach that modest goal would require a much different and more consistent level of play.

Last week, the Red Raiders had a chance to head in that direction in a road game against TCU, another Big 12 team struggling to establish an identity. Instead, early offensive struggles and the Horned Frogs’ nothing-fancy, big-play offense doomed Texas Tech in a 34-18 loss.

Baylor was left even more frustrated in a 38-31 defeat against 17th-ranked Iowa State after the Bears (1-4, 1-4) squandered a 24-10 third-quarter lead.

In a game when Baylor did almost everything right — passed for more yards than the Cyclones (295-164), outgained them in total yards (366-362) and forced four turnovers — the end result was frustrating.

“One of the things that I talked about with the team at the end of the game was that really anything that we’ve asked them to do, they’ve been able to accomplish,” first-year Bears coach Dave Aranda said. “To see them stay in the fight shows the character of the team. To make a run at the end and to not get it is very disappointing. It’s a gut punch.”

Second-half offense was a major culprit in the fade. On Baylor’s first five possessions after the break, the Bears managed only 20 yards and that gave Iowa State time to produce touchdowns on four consecutive series to surge in front.

“It’s disappointing to struggle like we did in the second half, but it did feel like we kind of let the outside affect the inside, in terms of one side of the ball affecting the next,” Aranda said.

Making matters worse for the Bears, leading rusher Craig Williams and leading tackler Terrel Bernard have both been ruled out for the rest of the season with injuries.

Texas Tech will take any edge it can get. The Red Raiders have struggled to get in sync on offense and stay there all season. Last week, recently installed starting quarterback Henry Colombi was under heavy early pressure. The Frogs sacked him five times in the first half, and although he settled in and passed for 234 yards, most of that came on two long pass plays (60 yards to Ja’Lynn Polk, 57 to Erik Ezukanma) that came after TCU built 14- and then 17-point leads.

In three starts since taking over for Alan Bowman, Colombi has done some things well, but Red Raiders coach Matt Wells wants to see more from the graduate transfer.

“We need him to be the reason we’re having some success,” Wells said. “In our offense, the quarterback has to be more consistent than he has been the last two weeks.”

The Texas Tech defense has been solid much of the season and was in good shape last week until Frogs quarterback Max Dugan wiggled loose for long second-half TD runs of 48 and 81 yards.

Baylor presents a different challenge with senior quarterback Charlie Brewer at the controls. He is accounting for 225 yards a game through the air and may be a bigger focal point with Williams out of action.

“They’re led by a quarterback who is a four-year starter who has won a lot of games and has played a lot of good football,” Wells said.

Whatever the game plan might be for the Red Raiders, their approach and the intangibles of recovering from another tough setback might trump anything else.

“We’re going to continue to get off the mat and fight and go find a way to win,” Wells said.

–Field Level Media