Quarterbacks: A pretty good night for Seth Doege was marred by two critical interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Doege gets only partial blame for the pick six because intended receiver Darrin Moore made a pathetic effort to fight for the ball. The other, however, was nothing more than a severe underthrow by Doege. Otherwise, he was sharp. Backup Jacob Karam threw a beautiful touchdown to Moore on a gadget play.
Running Backs: It was certainly a tale of two backs against Baylor. Senior starter Aaron Crawford was singularly ineffective in the first half. Perhaps because of a lingering ankle sprain, it was all Crawford could do to maintain his footing when he attempted to cut. Despite a fumble, Kenny Williams was a huge improvement over Crawford. He displayed the strength and power that made him one of the most sought after running back recruits in the nation a year ago. Williams was also effective as a receiver.
Receivers: Eric Ward and Adam James were spectacular. Both notched double-digit totals in receptions, and Ward broke Michael Crabtree's school record for receptions in a game with 16. Ward and James had career nights. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the receiving corps. Darrin Moore dropped two crucial passes and was joined by several others in the dropped ball department. Blocking on the bubble screen was good.
Offensive Line: The offensive line once again more than pulled its weight, doing a far better job on Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and the Baylor defensive line than Oklahoma did the week before. Seth Doege was sacked only once, and would not have been sacked at all had he prudently gotten rid of the ball. Run blocking was inadequate early on, but improved dramatically as the game proceeded. Lonnie Edwards and Justin Keown totally whiffed on one blocking assignment, allowing a Baylor defender to tackle Kenny Williams for a loss.
Defensive Line: Scott Smith and Dennell Wesley each got sacks, but pass rushing was not the issue here. Baylor, a pass-heavy team, threw the ball only 23 times because it was so easy for them to run it. Defensive tackles Wesley, Kerry Hyder and Chris Perry were mowed down with ease by the Bear offensive line, and Jackson Richards, as he has done all season, was either biting on the inside fake or getting washed to the outside on off-tackle runs. All in all, it was painful to watch.
Linebackers: Daniel Cobb and Sam Eguavoen recorded 14 and 12 tackles respectively, and almost all of them were five to 10 yards downfield. They didn't register a single tackle for loss. As I've noted before, Cobb is a safety playing linebacker, and his lack of size underscores the woefully underpowered nature of Tech's front six. I can't fault the effort of Cobb and Eguavoen; they just don't have what it takes to clean up the deluge of running backs allowed by the defensive line.
Secondary: Baylor completed only 16 passes but gained 257 yards in the process. Coverage, particularly from Derrick Mays, Happiness Osunde and D. J. Johnson, was hardly equal to the task. Johnson did force a pair of fumbles, however, and that counts for something. Cody Davis and the rest of the safeties did precious little to stop the hemhorraging in the run game. It's no fun taking on a 240-pound back barreling untouched through the line time after time, but that's part of their job.
Special Teams: With the exception of one poor punt, Ryan Erxleben was masterful. He's been a specialist at nailing the Coffin Corner for some time, but is also developing a powerful leg to root the ball way downfield. Donnie Carona's kickoffs were decent, but not his best. That said, his onsides kick was a work of art. Eric Ward had a superb punt return called back by a holding penalty, while Ben McRoy struck fear into Bear hearts with his kickoff returns.