Rudolph, who up until this week was expected to redshirt this season, threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns while playing in the first game of his college career. He and Washington, the true freshman who a year ago was leading his Stamford High School team to the Texas Class 1A state championship, teamed up four times for 114 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Rudolph was 13-of-25 passing for 281 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while making what will certainly be the first of many starts at quarterback for the Cowboys. He began the game completing only two of his first seven passes for 40 yards but after that was 11 of 18 for 241 yards and two TDs.
"Well he certainly competed in an (hostile) environment," Gundy said. "His first game was on the road against the number six team in the country that's rolling pretty good, and traditionally in the last couple of years has won big at home.
"From a competition and effort standpoint I thought that he was really good."
The Cowboys fell behind on the second play of the game – Bryce Petty’s 65-yard scoring pass to Jay Lee – and were playing from behind all night.
Baylor led 7-0 following the Petty-to-Lee quick strike when Rudolph led the Cowboys offense onto the field for the first time. The Cowboys went three-and-out despite Rudolph completing the first pass of his college career – a swing pass to Tyreek Hill that went for six yards – before punting the ball back to the Bears.
Petty led the Bears 80 yards on just three plays to go ahead 14-0 on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Corey Coleman. Baylor had run just five offensive plays and had a 14-point lead just 2:36 into the game.
The Cowboys got back in the game when Richards, the true freshman cornerback, intercepted Petty’s pass at the Baylor 43-yard line. On a third-and-5 play, Randolph threw a beautiful pass to David Glidden for a 34-yard gain to the 4, and a few plays later Desmond Roland scored on a 1-yard run to cut the Bears lead to 14-7.
Baylor scored two more first half touchdowns before Rudolph directed a 10-play, 75-yard drive in the final minutes of the first half, capping it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Glidden to 1 second left on the clock.
The Bears looked like they were going to make it a rout by scoring two touchdowns to go up 42-14 but Rudolph and the Cowboys wouldn’t go away.
Rudolph and Washington teamed up on a 68-yard touchdown throw and catch and then the Cowboys capped a five-play, 70-yard drive with Rennie Childs scoring from two yards out.
The Bears added a late touchdown for the final score.
"I thought that we played good once we got going. Unfortunately, we started slow and ended up behind," Gundy said. "When you play a team that's this good, you've got to start from the start.
"We're still making too many mistakes. There are things that our players are doing that I'm not happy with, just basic fundamentals that we have to improve on as a football team. The turnovers were two-to-two, and when you play a team like this you have to win the turnover battle.
"We missed too many tackles. They're a really good team and you can't take a lot away from them but I thought we felt like we gave some points away and we didn't get as many as we should have."