The Baylor Bears lost to the Oklahoma Sooners, but showed enough life and improved play to maybe offer some hope in the next three games. Though they lost 42-34, the Bears had numerous chances to not only make this game closer, but to win. The defense played well for the most part, expect for two big plays.
It is tough to say that a defense that gave up 42 points played well, but when you are a Baylor fan, that is just a fact. The defense played well enough to win this game, and did their job by getting 2 big turnovers on back to back drives by Oklahoma. The first was a fumble recovery by Terrance Lloyd after the Bears gang-tackled Damien Williams. Eddie Lackey knocked the ball out with a timely hit, and Lloyd found the ball just sitting there waiting for someone to claim it.
Unfortunately, the Bears offense did not hold up its end of the deal, as Nick Florence threw his worst pass of the day on a 4th and 3 that fluttered about 15 yards short of the intended (and wide open) receiver. But the defense would step up again, this time with a Mike Hicks interception on the sideline. The Bears offense would strike this time, behind 6 rushes by the Bears Thunder and LIghtning duo Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk. The Bears would travel 28 yards on those 6 carries, and get to within two points after missing the 2-point conversion.
Words of the Game:
Offense - Fluttering
I chose this word, mainly to describe the numerous passes that landed incomplete for the Bears. Too many times, the Bears had receivers running open deep, and Nick Florence would overthrow them. His best throw of the day was a ball under thrown that Levi Norwood came back to catch, on the Bears first touchdown drive. Florence completed just 12 of 33 passes, and finished with 172 yards. Most of the incompletions deep were on him, except for the one to Tevin Reese in the end-zone that Reese floated away from.
Whether it was the 35 mile per hour wind, or the best secondary in the Big 12, the Bears passing attack was off enough to never get the Bears the lead in this game, and to take away valuable scoring chances.
Defense - Enough
Looking at normal metrics and statistics, the Bears defense struggled against OU. They allowed 460 yards, 9 of 13 third down conversions, and 42 points. Those are not good for most teams, but I think most Bear fans would have taken those, along with the two aforementioned turnovers forced. Really, I thought the Bears defense played well, other than 2-plays, that probably decided this game.
The first play was the touchdown to end the first half. The Bears had cut the lead to 21-17 and would receive the ball to start the second half. Baylor kicked off and a squib kick went to Brennan Clay, who struggled to get a handle on the ball. Of course after that, he returned the kick 36 yards to the Baylor 45. The big play though came 2 offensive plays later. With the Sooners at the 35 yard line, and just 22 seconds left, Landy Jones found Justin Brown in the endzone. Despite just rushing four players, Brown found himself one on one with Joe Williams. Williams actually played the route properly, but the ball was under thrown a little and Brown was able to get back to the ball and catch it before Williams could adjust. The score changed the complexion of the game, and put the Sooners up 11 going into halftime.
The second play was the final score for the Sooners, a 55 yard touchdown run by Blake Bell on a quarterback zone-read play. Bell entered the game to try and convert a 3rd and 1. The Sooners had shown this formation quite a bit this season, and really have only tun two plays from it, both runs. The Bears lost containment, and were pushed off the line, with both linebackers attacking the same gap. If Bell would have gone to that gap, he would have been hit behind the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately for the Bears, he chose another gap, one that had no one in it.
Those two big plays allowed the Sooners to escape with a win over the Bears.
Players of the Game:
Offense - Thunder and Lightning - Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk
For now on, these two are a duo, and what a dynamic one they have been the past two games. They combined for 151 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on just 32 carries. Seastrunk got the glamor stats with all three touchdowns and 91 yards, but Martin converted tough 3rd down rushes all day and picked up the tougher yards for the Bears offense. These guys work well together and as long as they continue to get 30+ carries combined, the Bears offense will continue to be balanced and even more dangerous.
Honorable Mention - Nick Florence's legs, interior of the offensive line
Defense - Bryce Hager
The benched starting linebacker for the Bears was put back into the lineup due to Rondey Chadwick's injury early in the game. The Sophomore responded with his best game of the season, a 16 tackle performance that saw him do a great job of controlling the Oklahoma running game. If you take out the Bell touchdown run, the Sooners averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on 39 carries. That is very good run defense, and a big part of that was Hager. He also had the best blitz of the day for Baylor, as he timed his blitz off the edge perfectly and tackled Landry Jones for a 10 yard loss on 3rd and 6.
Honorable Mention - Mike Hick, Eddie Lackey, Landry Jones' mustache
The Bears, looking for the big upset in Norman, and their second victory in a row over the Sooners, just did not do enough on offense to take advantage of the opportunities they had. Baylor made just enough mistakes in all three phases of the game to not get this win. However, if they play like this in their last three games, the hope for two more wins and a bowl bid are much brighter for Coach Briles and his Baylor Bears.
Overreaction Central - Baylor Vs. Oklahoma
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