Griffin, Baylor Dash OU's Title Dreams

WACO, Texas — It was all falling into place for the Sooners, even after a devastating loss to Texas Tech earlier in the season, but given a second chance, again the Sooners couldn't capitalize.

With Oregon losing just moments earlier, the Sooners in the meantime erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit and looked poised to turn Sooner tragedy again into Sooner Magic.

But then Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin rose to the occasion with a Heisman-like drive, taking the Bears down for an 80-yard drive in just 43 seconds and hitting wide out Terrance Williams for the game-winning 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left.

And in just one moment, OU went from a serious national championship contender again to a 45-38 loser in a crucial Top 25 battle.

"Congratulations to Baylor, they played an excellent football game," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "In the end, I thought our team came in prepared, we had a really good week of work, we came in ready to play, but at the end of the day, they coached better than we did ,and they played better than we did. We fought back. I never questioned our players' want to and fight, but in the end, they made a few more big plays than we did, and that's the difference in the game."

Before that, though, the Sooners showed incredible resiliency.

Down two scores with just less than six minutes left, quarterback Blake Bell, who was dominant and scored four touchdowns on the night, found pay dirt with a 4-yard run.

OU quickly got a stop, and quarterback Landry Jones drove the Sooners down the field, where Bell again capped it off with a 6-yard score.

The Sooners were poised to go for two in the Bellcat look, but a false start negated that.

"I felt confident that they hadn't stopped us in that formation down inside the five the whole game, either," Stoops said. "So, we were going for it."

Because of that, they then kicked the extra point to tie it and at that point, it looked like overtime, as Baylor ran on the first play of the eventual game-winning march.

However, OU called timeout and tried to get the ball back, but it backfired.

On the next play, Griffin scampered 22 yards, setting up shop for the game-winning heroics a couple plays later.

"Well, you got the wind, we had stopped them," Stoops said of the decision to use the timeouts instead of heading to overtime. "I think we were 3-of-13 in stopping them on third downs. I really thought, in the end, they would run it one more time, make us burn another timeout and then we had an opportunity on third down, you know, in which they were still backed up punting into the wind, opportunity to get a return, have one timeout, maybe have a chance for a field goal."

The Sooners struck first blood when place kicker Michael Hunnicutt pushed through a 47-yarder at the 5:34 mark of the first quarter.

Baylor came right back with a field goal of its own, a 34-yarder that made it 3-3 after the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Baylor took its first lead of the game when senior running back Terrance Ganaway blasted through a gaping hole up the middle 15 yards for the touchdown.

But OU responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by Bell in the special Bellcat formation.

Just 15 seconds later, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin found wide receiver Tevin Reese on a busted coverage by OU free safety Javon Harris, and he sprinted 69 yards to the house for a 17-10 Baylor lead.

"It's another day at the office for Robert," said Baylor head coach Art Briles. "He's been doing that for three or four years. When the ball's in his hands good things happen because he's very intelligent, very gifted."

It remained that way at halftime.

Early in the third quarter, it appeared as if it would be just another dominant Sooner third quarter.

Jones and the Sooner offense moved 69 yards on four plays in just 1:47 to notch it at 17 when fullback Trey Millard scored from five yards out.

After stopping the Bears on a fourth-and-1, Bell ran a 1-yard touchdown a couple plays later, and the Sooners were back on top 24-17.

That's when it got crazy, though.

A tipped ball from Griffin found its way into the hands of star wide receiver Kendall Wright, who sprinted 87 yards and tied it again at 24.

"It kind of went back and forth all night," Jones said. "Baylor's a good team, and they outplayed us tonight. We got up on them by seven points, but we didn't make plays in the series after that to start going again. We just kept believing, kept thinking that we were going to come back. Eventually we did, but things happen. We just kept believing and kept fighting."

Baylor reclaimed the lead when Griffin found Jordan Najvar on a 13-yard pass over the middle of the field.

They went up 14 when Ganaway capped off a four-play, 74-yard drive early in the fourth quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run.

That set the stage for the dramatic fourth quarter.

Baylor out-gained OU 616-605 in the contest but actually had one less first down (29-28 OU).

However, it was the big plays time and time again that got the Sooners.

"It's disappointing when you work as hard as we did the past two weeks, and come out here, not play to the best of our abilities, and lose the game," said OU linebacker Tom Wort. "It's disappointing, but we will get back to work. Now is not the time to stray away from the process, we still have to do the same thing we've been doing. We've got two more games to win, now is not the time to let the rest of the season go down the drain."

Jones threw for 447 yards, completing 36-of-51 passes with an interception.

Bell rushed for 16 yards, but had four touchdowns.

Running back Roy Finch had 95 yards on 17 carries, while wide receiver Jaz Reynolds led the receiving attack with seven catches and 114 yards.

For Baylor, Griffin threw for 479 yards and four touchdowns and was 21-for-34.

Griffin also had 72 rushing yards, and wide receiver Kendall Wright led all receivers in the contest with eight catches for 208 yards and a touchdown.

The Sooners drop to 8-2 and 5-2 in the Big 12 Conference and await Iowa State next Saturday at 11 a.m.

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