Outstanding First Half, but Finish More Important

The most impressive thing about the Bears win over the Tulsa Hurricane Saturday night was the first half. A couple of missed tackles allowed for a 78-yard touchdown on a screen pass, but other than that, the first half execution by the Bears was almost flawless. They scored on every possession except their last one, which came with less than two minutes on the clock. However, starts can be rendered ineffective with a bad second half. The finish, however, was the most critical aspect.

QB Aaron Karas showed he could handle blitzes in the first half, hitting 14 of 19 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. The Bears scored on their first five possessions scoring four touchdowns and getting a field goal (one extra point was missed) to open a 30-6 lead on the Tulsa Hurricane.

However, the second half brought hard times as Karas would only complete 4 of 11 passes and throw 3 interceptions, one for a 5-yard touchdown return. This, plus a couple of lost fumbles, allowed the Hurricane to get back into the game and pull to within 12 points, 37-25. Then, however, something happened that may have been the most important thing for this Baylor team in its struggle to get turned around - and it was from the defense.

Unable to move the ball late in the fourth quarter, the Bears punted from deep in their own territory. The Hurricane used a reverse-return, and wound up with first and ten at the Baylor 30-yard line. A few "quick-out" sideline passes put the Hurricane, finally, inside the ten. Then, on a third down pass, the Bears were flagged for an interference penalty in the endzone which would put the football at the two-yard line, and make it first and goal from there. Anyone watching the game would feel there was no way the Hurricane could be kept out of the endzone.

Now, it's very important here to remember that the Bears had a 12 point lead. There was about 2:45 left on the clock, so even if Tulsa did score, they would have to get the football back on an onsides kick, and scored another touchdown in order to win, not likely with the little amount of time left and the way the Bears were playing defense.

However, now the Hurricane only needed two yards to get a touchdown, so there could be no more "letting them have" even short gains. The Bears seemed to get a mindset that they could not allow the Hurricane to score, period. It was if the Bearas had adopted an attitude that if Tulsa scored they would win the game. They bowed their necks, they dug in, and they stopped them. The final blow came when they forced a fumble and recovered the ball, taking over and running out the clock. This team wasn't giving an inch, much less, two yards. There is no way of knowing at this point, but that one series could have been the most important series in the entire game, possibly in the season, so far.

The Bears now get a week off before opening conference play with the Kansas Jayhawks, in Waco, on October 5. Next week, ironically, those same Jayhawks will play these same Tulsa Hurricane which should provide for an interesting barometer, of sorts.


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