Little mistakes turned into big mistakes. An 11 point lead at halftime turned into a 4 point deficit late in the 3rd quarter. Dropped passes in the first half forced the Bears to do something they don't like to do when the game is in doubt; punt. They did that dirty word three times in the first half, but still put 21 points on the board. The defense held strong, albeit while giving up a ton of yards to Wildcat quarterback Daniel Sams.
But then the third quarter started and those little mistakes turned into big one for the Bears offense and special teams. A three-and-out on the Bears first drive of the second stanza ended up in a blocked punt. The Wildcats would score a touchdown just two plays later to cut the lead to 2, after failing on the 2-point conversion.
The next Baylor drive would last just two plays as Bryce Petty was stripped of the ball by Ryan Mueller on the side line gave the Wildcats the ball back. They would score the go-ahead touchdown 10 plays later after a 44 yard drive that took up a ridiculous 5:37 off of the clock. With another failed 2-point conversion, the Wildcats had a 25-21 lead and all of the momentum. The Bears got the ball back with just 1:12 left on the clock in the third quarter, looking for their first point of that 15 minute stretch. They would start to get rolling finally, with three moderately successful runs for a first down.
The fourth quarter was all Baylor. Just two plays in, Tevin Reese was strolling into the end zone at the conclusion of a 54 yard passing play. That would be all the points the Bears would need to win, as the Wildcats would not score again. Baylor would add on one more touchdown, courtesy of a back breaking Glasco Martin third down run for a 21 yard touchdown to make it a 10 point game with just 76 seconds remaining.
Fun Stats of the Game
-Kanas State had the ball for almost 19 more minutes than the Bears did winning the TOP battle 39:24 to 20:36.
-Baylor had touchdown plays of 93 yards, 72 yards and 54 yards that totaled 219 yards. Outside of those there plays, the Bears gained just 227 yards on the remainder of their 57 plays. That breaks down to a 3.98 yards per play average. They averaged 9.62 yards per play coming into the game.
-Baylor averaged just 3.1 yards per carry (37 attempts for 114 yards) versus 5.6 for Kansas State (58 for 327).
-The Bears had a season low three players catch a pass as Tevin Reese, Antwan Goodley and Levin Norwod were the only three Baylor players with a reception
-Coming into the game, Spencer Roth had 7 punts in four games. He had 6 total against Kansas State for a 44.2 average, not including the one punt that was blocked
-The Bears won despite recording just 1 official turnover, though they did add a turnover on downs early in the game
Words of the Game
Offense – Passionless
The Baylor offense for most of the game just didn't seem to play with the same purpose and passion as we have seen over the first four games of the 2013 season. Against Kansas State, they appeared to be trying to keep an even keel, which not only kept them from getting too low, but prevented them from playing with the same passion and freedom that Baylor fans are accustomed to seeing from them. They had a business-like approach to the entire thing. But this offense needs passion and energy to fully function.
But they were not shut out. For most offenses, 35 points would be a solid day, not just half speed. But those are the expectations that the Baylor offense has set. Is it ridiculous to ask them to score 60 or 70 points every game? Absolutely. But their lack of urgency and passion showed, especially in the 3rd quarter where they had 9 plays from scrimmage that resulted in 35 yards, a blocked punt and the aforementioned fumble. There is a benefit to having a business-like approach to the game, but in this game, it might have backfired on the Bears a bit.
Well, the lack of fundamentals, but "nonfundamental" isn't a word. The Bears defense struggled mightily with the option attack of Kansas State, and could never solve the Daniel Sams riddle. The only thing that slowed the sophomore quarterback down was a hurt shoulder that took him out for a few series. Too many times a player tried to make the perfect play rather than just playing their assignment. This resulted in large gains due to running backs have a clear cut-back lane where a defender should have been. The run defense was abysmal primarily due the defense not staying fundamentally sound consistently enough.
Tweets of the Game
Level of competition… Road woes… Margin of victory – Baylor critics are adept at changing criticisms of 5-0 team. #SicEm— Heath Nielsen (@HeathNielsen) October 12, 2013
Baylor celebrates its opening TD of game. http://t.co/1EQTBdQQIF— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) October 12, 2013
Play of the Game
With the Bears holding on to a 3-point lead, the Baylor offensive attack failed to capitalize on a huge missed field goal by Kansas State that could have tied the game. They got 1 first down but then were stopped on 2nd and 5 for a 5 yard loss and then a costly dropped pass forced the Bears to punt for the second possession in a row. With plenty of time remaining for a game-tying field goal or even more, Daniel Sams led the Kansas State offense out on the field. After an 8-yard gain on first down, it was 2nd- and-2 from the KSU 28.
The Wildcats were in shotgun, with John Hubert to Daniels Sams left and two wide receivers out wide to the right. The Bears were in their standard defense, with four down lineman and three linebackers. The defense rushed four players with zone coverage underneath. Andrew Billings was double-teamed but pushed the lineman back into the pocket forcing Sams to roll out to his right as Chris McAllister and Trevor Clemons-Valdez chased after in pressure. The coverage was good from the start.
Sams unleashed a ball to a receiver 26 yards down field, but Ahmad Dixon broke perfectly on the ball and intercepted it right at the sideline. Dixon was able to get his first foot down in bounds and finish off the outstanding play that took excellent coverage from the secondary, and great pressure from the front four.
Players of the Game
Offense – Bryce Petty (12-21, 342 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown)
Petty didn't play a perfect game; just see the stripped ball in the third quarter for an example of that. But he made the plays when he needed to. The three long touchdown passes were delivered perfectly. He struggled a bit on third downs, but was hurt more by drops from his top two receivers than anything else. Antwan Goodley especially had a rough game, and failed to convert a few big first downs to keep some drives alive. Petty didn't throw any interceptions, and had 4 total touchdowns. It wasn't a perfect game, but it was a very good start in the first road game of his career.
Honorable Mention: Tevin Reese (5 catches, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns), Glasco Martin (16 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown)
Defense – Bryce Hager (18 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack)
Hager struggled with shedding blockers all game, especially in the first three quarters as the defensive line was pushed around and let the offense get to the second level to easily to take Hager and Eddie Lackey out of the game. But Hager still made several huge plays, including a huge tackle on Daniel Sams in a 2nd and goal situation for no gain, a big sack on 3rd down in the first half and several tackles down the field to limit big gains. Hager was everywhere, and he was one of the more consistent guys on the defense in terms of playing their assignment.
Honorable Mention: Ahmad Dixon (8 tackles, 1 interception), K. J. Morton (3 tackles, 1 pass broken up)
It was a win. It counts the same if it is by 1 point or 100 points. The third quarter was by far the worst 12 minute stretch of football for the Bears this year. Outscored 15-0, a fumble, a blocked punt, and really no offense to speak of, it was a terrible 12 minute stretch. Lesser teams would have folded after that, especially in a tough place to play like Manhattan, KS. Heck, most Baylor teams would have folded and not had the tenacity and confidence to come back and win that game by 10. But this Bears team does. While this game might not be the prettiest of the five wins, it might mean the most. This was a game that easily could have been lost. The Bears made more than enough mistakes to lose this game, but they did not. You always learn from games like this, where you have a ton of adversity and have to overcome a lot. The hope is that you somehow sneak out with a win and take those lessons on with you to the next game, and the Bears did just that.