A Good Opportunity Spoiled In Waco

WACO, Texas – It was set up well. After last week's upset win over Texas Tech the Cowboys were just two wins away from earning a fourth straight bowl bid. It would take wins over Baylor and Oklahoma, both on the road. It was still considered doable. Baylor had lost five straight games and its chance at going bowling, while everyone knows anything can happen in Bedlam.

Oklahoma State played well enough in a number of areas to take care of the first leg. They had a season high 383 yards passing and 473 yards of total offense. The scoreboard lit up for 34 points on the Cowboys side, a season high. The only problem was Oklahoma State had its holidays confused. Next week is Thanksgiving and not Christmas, and this win for Baylor came gift wrapped by the Cowboys with eight turnovers.

"Having been on the opposite end of those games I know how it feels and I feel for those guys, but I'll take it," said grateful Baylor head coach Guy Morriss. "We'll take all the donations. The defense got in the act. If they are going to give them, then you have to take advantage of them. We have had turnovers before and couldn't capitalize."

It was crazy how the game started and kept going into the second quarter. After a three and out and a punt into the wind for 36 yards, Baylor's Willie Andrews returned the punt 34 yards and the Bears drove in for the first touchdown. Then OSU threw gas on the fire as Mike Hamilton fumbled. It was 14-0 Baylor and the first quarter ended that way. OSU had a chance to score, but Bobby Reid threw a long ball where he should have seen the deep safety and it was picked off at the Baylor 3-yard line.

"Give Baylor the credit," said senior defensive end Jerry Don Bray, who had seven tackles and a sack. "Baylor came out ready, but I really feel we beat ourselves."

The second quarter really stung as the turnovers continued - Juliius Crosslin fumbled, Reid threw his second interception, and Al Pena's first pass was an interception that Baylor linebacker Colin Allred returned 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-0. The lead was too much to overcome. Baylor earned part of it, but OSU had made it easy for Baylor to enjoy its Senior Day and live up to the promise the Bears had made this past week to end the Cowboys bowl hopes.

"A lot of people thought we had nothing to play for and that we would just lay down and let them use the momentum of a possible bowl game to beat us," said Baylor running back Paul Mosley, who when he signed in 2002 had committed to Oklahoma State. "We were playing for our seniors today. Our motto was, 'If we can't go, then they can't go.'"

"What they did you can't say it is all on us," said Gundy. "This is a different Baylor team. They are better than they have been, but when you turn the ball over eight times in a game this is what you get."

The second half was interesting to watch and, at times, there was even a glimmer of hope as Pena threw for 276 yards in the second half and D'Juan Woods had 10 receptions for 186 yards, many of them of the spectacular variety.

"We felt we were in the game," Pena said in the second half. "We weren't in it points wise, but we knew we could move the ball on them. We just ran out of time. We were moving the ball well in the second half and if we had a little more time and we would have kept scoring and got it back. I always look for 84 (Woods) because I know he will make a play."

As good as the second half was the first half was awful and sealed the fate of the Cowboys having a winning season and going to a bowl. It just wasn't meant to be in a season of changes at head coach, at quarterback, on offense and defense. Too much new and now the Cowboys are left with an old option for a pleasant momentum building finish to the season, win Bedlam.

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