Red Norther Blows Through Waco

I was there and I can say that the 2001 Bears are improved over last year's Bears! There is no doubt that this year's team could beat last year's version of the Kevin Steele Baylor Bears. This is the good news. The bad news is that I think the score would likely be 2-0 due to a safety by this year's defense. There would be NO offensive touchdowns scored in this fantasy game if it could be arranged.

The Big Red Machine rolled into a soggy Floyd Casey Stadium Saturday and played some very sloppy football for about half of the game. The Baylor defense, much improved over last year, tried to make it a game while Nebraska was coughing up the ball and generally being outplayed by the feisty Bears. Unfortunately, Greg Meyer's offense did not give the Baylor D any help today. The Bears could only muster 187 yards while giving up a record 688 yards.

The thunder you heard a few times was real and it was also named Collins. Thunder Collins slashed the Bear D for 165 yards. He was not alone. 3, yes I said three, other Husker running backs sprinted for over 100 yards on us. I scanned the sidelines for a running back that did not make the trip to Waco and collect their 100-yard day. I could not find one. I think they all boarded the plane back to Lincoln with career days at our expense.

One would think that if your defense gave up nearly 700 yards of offense that your defense was thoroughly manhandled. I don't think that was the case today. I'll give our defense one thing…..they are much more aggressive this year than they have been in years. There are people flying to the football and trying to make some plays. Unfortunately when you give up 688 yards to your opponent, somebody is not taking care of their responsibilities. Some will try to find solace in the fact that most of the yards came in the 4th quarter when Baylor was tired. Keep searching!

So, while trying to pat SOMEBODY on the back after Saturdays 48-7 flogging by Nebraska, I am left with the unenviable task of telling you all that we are barely better than last year. The sad thing is that it could have been worse. Much worse.

Imagine what the score could have been at the half had the Big Red Machine not fumbled 7 times! Imagine the total yards at the end of the game had these drives not ended with losing 5 fumbles.

While NU thought they were down the hill at the Michael Johnson Invitational Track Meet, Baylor was countering with 29 total yards rushing on 33 attempts. We did not even average 1 single yard every time we tried to rush the ball. At the half we were actually in negative yardage.

Greg Cicero did manage to throw for 145 yards on 14 for 35 passing. The Baylor receivers made some nice grabs but also managed to miss a few of our longer passes (25-35 yards downfield) while being blanketed by the Nebraska secondary. Our offense was only able to muster 187 total yards against the #5 Huskers. Baylor has now scored 4 touchdowns in 5 games!

I struggled to recall a game where Baylor was ripped for so many yards. The 1968 Bears yielded 557 rushing yards in a game to UT that year. The most net yards ever allowed up until today were to the 1989 University of Houston Cougars where we surrendered 589 yards. We blew this record out of the water today. Thank goodness for the water on the field or it might have been worse.

Some will say that we are much improved over last year's Nebraska blowout because it was 52-0 at halftime. Last year it was in Lincoln, dry and the Huskers only ripped us for 459 yards rushing and played 100 players against us. They let up in the second half so we could claim that we only lost the second half 7-0. Granted, todays game was still in question at halftime. In our minds at least. There was a lot of confidence flowing on the NU side of the field.

It is high time for Baylor fans to stop lowering our expectations and stop looking for a victory in 1 quarter, 1 half or improving our yardage output on offense or yield on defense. It is instead time to concentrate on winning the ENTIRE game. Baylor has now lost 24 consecutive Big 12 games. When will this ever end? OU? TT? UT? MU? OSU? I'm not sure we will see it this year.

There were a number of controversial decisions made in the game that point to this coaching staff playing not to get blown out of the game instead of playing to win or playing to put pressure on our opponents. Baylor has nothing to lose and everything to gain by selling out every play. The players seem to be selling out every play. Why not the coaching staff in their calls? We would respect them even more for at least trying!

I sat at the edge of the Husker fans Saturday on about the 35-yard line. I can tell you that they were very confident and none of them were worried even at the weather delay or halftime. I was on Row 8 and had an opportunity to look over the physical specimens on the Husker sideline. Not that it matters but I can tell you that I was NOT overly impressed with their overall physical conditioning. I have seen much more impressive players wearing the red for NU. My buddy sitting next to me could only laugh at the unusual number of "white boys" that made up the Nebraska team. Whatever we thought from the physical looks of them, they put what they had into a team effort on the field and won in usual Husker fashion.

You would think that when a team has enough time to roll for 688 yards of offense while holding a team to a measly 187 yards that the time of possession would be skewed. Not so! Nebraska had the ball for about 5 _ minutes more than Baylor did today. NU had nearly 4 times our offense and did it in about the same time. This means that we could be in serious trouble come October 20 and November 3 when the Sooners and Horns are our opponents. Pray for rain!

I want so bad to say that I loved the inspired play of our defense. The difference in effort over last year's intensity levels and this year's version is marked. The 2001 version is at least trying harder to make some things happen. If they could ever get some help from the offense before losing what confidence they have left, we might just slip up on someone prior to November 17. If not, I'm not certain we can beat anyone left on our schedule short of the Saluki Sacrifice that the Baylor Athletic Department served us for Thanksgiving trying to solidify that 6th win to become bowl eligible. Forget the bowl chances! We need to win NOW!

I thank TheeBearsDen for allowing me this opportunity to give the board a short recap of a game as I saw it. I predicted a very close Aggie game and was right. I was bold and predicted a 17 point Husker win. I was very wrong!

External improvements? I saw some today. I think this will boil down to just a couple of things: 1. How long are you guys willing to wait for a 6-5 record? At the rate we are going it very well could take until 2004 or 2005 at the earliest. 7-4? I say it will be 2006 or 2007 at our current rate. A Big 12 South Championship? It will NEVER happen under this current regime!

Coaching changes on November 18? Wishful thinking! It won't happen.

If we could have called it a game at halftime, I'd be pretty pumped right now. Unfortunately you have to play a full game and we can't seem to find ANY offense and our defense is still shaky no matter what anyone says.

Listening to the post game comments from various "experts" including the Head Coach you would think they watched a different game out there. We need to face reality. Perception is reality and Baylor is percieved on a national basis as a joke of a football team. The players are there and I feel sorry for them. They deserve better and were sold better. The player's attitudes seem to be relatively positive considering what they are having to endure. We shall see as this "season" wears on with the defending National Champs, an impressive Tech, the dangerous Longhorns, a surging Missouri and a very athletic Oklahoma State left to go.

Sic ‘em Bears!


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