This was suppose to be the first challenge of the year for the 2015 Baylor Bears. After another traipse through soft non-conference schedule land, Texas Tech would finally test the Bears on both sides of the ball. With an explosive offense, the Red Raiders would be able to keep pace with the record-setting Baylor offensive attack. They did, for about four minutes. The Baylor offense was clicking on all cylinders in as good of a half of football as you will ever see. Seven touchdowns and 499 yards later, the Bears were up 49-21 at the half. In the end, this was not the test that the experts expected. This was no test at all, even for a Red Raiders team that took TCU to the brink (or maybe a fingertip) of an upset.
Coach Art Briles spoke with week of being devastatingly dominant. Baylor fans got to see that this weekend against a team that had played very good football so far in 2015. They were just simply no match for the Bears on this particular day.
Stats of the Game
- In the first half, the Bears averaged 8.85 yards per carry. 28 carries for 248 yards
- The Bears ended the game with 368 yards on the ground, averaging 7.07 yards per carry
- Baylor failed to gain 700 yards in the game for the first time in 2015. They finished with 680 yards
- The Baylor defense generated 13 quarterback hurries, while the Bears offensive line allowed just 1
- The Bears committed a season-low 8 penalties for 72 yards. Four of the penalties were on special teams plays
- Bears had a big edge in the punting game. 50.8 yards per punt from Drew Galitz and -6 return yards in total
- Seth Russell had 6 total touchdowns for the third time in four games, and fourth time in 5-career starts
- Corey Coleman caught 3 or more touchdown passes for the 3rd consecutive game
Words of the Game
Offense - Effecient
The Bears have scored more points. They have had more big plays. However, there have been few games where just felt that Baylor would score whenever they wanted to. Whatever points they needed to win this one, they would get. 63 or 84. It didn't matter. The Bears offense was that effecient, and the Red Raiders defense was that bad. Texas Tech had four tackles for loss. They forced just 8 incompletions. On the Bears 76 plays, they had just 12 (15.79%) that did not gain yardage. Compare that to Tech's rate of 23.60%. Baylor had 333 of offense after the first quarter, resulting in 28 points. They had 499 going into halftime. They were over 9.15 yards per play after the 3rd quarter. Tech simply did not have a chance in this game defensively. Baylor's offensive line was too good, as Shock Linwood and the Baylor running backs had huge holes to run through, and Seth Russell had plenty of time to find wide open recievers. It was a workmanlike performance on the way to 63 points. That sounds weird, but with 49 points in the first half, the Bears did their job and scored the points they needed to, resulting in a big win.
Defense - Close Enough
Texas Tech has a Top-10 offense in the nation. They are very good, especially with a big play passing attack that specializes in yards after the catch. Add in a strong running game led by DeAndre Washington, and this is a dangerous offense. They were 3rd in the nation in scoring per game at 53.8 points. Baylor's defense wasn't great. The first Tech touchdown was an example of that, as Orion Stewart badly read a miracle heave by Patrick Mahomes. A second long drive in the 1st quarter cut the Bears lead to 21-14. From then on though, it was all Baylor. The Bears would score 21 straight points to extend the lead to 28. Baylor forced three turnovers in the second quarter to take over the game and put away any hope of an upset for Texas Tech. Orion Stewart forced a fumble to get the Bears first turnover. Baylor would score a touchdown less than a minute later. Another Mahomes pass thrown up to the heavens was picked off by Xavien Howard and run back to setup another Baylor touchdown just 4 plays later. By that point it was 42-14, and all Baylor. Finally, a Travon Blanchard forced fumble ended a drive late in the 2nd quarter for the Red Raiders. The Bears would pretty much kill the clock on that drive, throwing an interception with 7 seconds left.
The Baylor pass rush took over in the second half. While they did not record a single sack, the Bears harrassed Mahomes, and backup Davis Webb, throughout the last 30 minutes of action. The Bears recorded 13 quarterback hurries, routinely making the Tech quarterback roll out to try and save a play. When Tech needed to get points in the second and third quarters, they simply couldn't. In the middle 30 minutes of the game, they score 14 points, turned the ball over 4 times, turned it over on downs once, and punted another time. It was a dominant effort when the game was still in the balance. The Red Raiders hurt themselves quite a bit as well, with 17 penalties for 142 yards.
Critics will look at the final score and see that Baylor allowed 35 points. Yes, that is a lot of points, but on 15 drives, that is a very solid number. They weren't great, but in those middle two quarters, it was pretty dang good.
Tweets of the Game
Play of the Game
3rd and 4, Texas Tech 45
It was the third play of the game. Baylor completed a bubble screen pass to KD Cannon for 1-yard on the first play, and then a Shock Linwood run for 5 yards setup the first 3rd down of the game for either team. Balyor lined up with three wide receivers to Seth Russell's left, as Shock Linwood was to his right. Baylor had an tight end on the right side of the formation. It was a zone-read play, with Russell handing the ball off to Linwood as the defensive end lined up over Gus Penning stayed home on the edge. Russell read the defensive end perfectly, who stayed at home to take Russell out of the play.
Pat Colbert came inside to double team the nose tackle along with Jarell Broxton. The nose tackle ended up a good 10 yards from where he started, due to Broxton and Colbert. Colbert then pealed off perfectly and took out the linebacker, opening up a massive hole for Linwood. With Kyle Fuller, Broxton and left guard Blake Muir collapsing their side of the line, it was a wide open lane for Linwood to explode through. All that was in front of him was safety Keenon Ward, who came from the other side of the formation. Linwood jab-stepped towards the charging Ward, who took the bait. All that was left after that was a simple gallop towards the goal-line.
After the game, Shock said it was "clear as day" and just put on the afterburners. He made one man miss, and exploded up the field. Shock did his job, but the true star of the play was Pat Colbert and the offensive line. This play should be in the textbooks for how an offensive line should block a zone/read play. The Bears set the tone for the day on that one play.
Players of the Game
Offense - The Offensive Line
This was as dominant as you will ever see an offensive line. The Baylor front-5, lead by Spencer Drango, Pat Colbert, Kyle Fuller, Blake Muir and Jarrell Broxton dominated this game from the first snap. Well, actually the third snap, which resulted in a 79 yard Shock Linwood touchdown run. Texas Tech's defensive line was pushed back all game, as the Bears running game routinely gashed the Red Raider defense for big gains. Baylor finished with 368 yards on the ground, as Shock Linwood had a career game with 221 yards on 20 carries and 2 touchdowns. Seth Russell had a big game on the ground as well, with 81 yards.
It wasn't just the running game where the offensive line dominated. They allowed just a single quarterback hurry in the game, giving Seth Russell plenty of time to make big plays down the field. Whatever the Baylor staff asked the line to do, they did and did it with excellence.
Honorable Mention - Shock Linwood (20 rushes for 221 yards, 2 touchdowns), Corey Coleman (7 receptions, 110 yards, 3 touchdowns), Seth Russell (15-23, 286 yards passing, 6 total touchdowns,81 yards rushing)
Defense - Xavien Howard, Cornerback (1 interception, 2 passes broken up, 4 tackles)
Howard is the Bears best secondary player, and he had himself one heck of a day Saturday. He had a big interception to setup a touchdown, as well as two pretty passes broken up down the field. The Tech passing attack did its damage underneath and to the running backs, while their outside receivers were mainly held in check.
Honorable Mention - Travon Blanchard (4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble), Jamal Palmer (1 tackle, 4 QBH), Taylor Young (8 tackles, 2 TFL)
Another step is done. Another foe is vanquished, as the Bears left no doubt in this game. Baylor is one of the best teams in the nation, and Texas Tech still might be good. They have two losses to top-tier teams. Baylor beat them by 28, while TCU beat them by 3. The Bears are playing great football the past two weeks, some of the best in the nation. They will gain more votes and more respect with this dominant performance. The offense is firing on all cylinders, and scoring at will. Even the one turnover the Bears had was fine, as it was a risky play at the end of the half. With Seth Russell playing within himself, the offensive line dominating the trenches and the defense making enough plays, this is truly one of the best teams in the nation.