Why not start with the area of the game that accounts for 30% of the plays but rarely gets the corresponding attention?
With Quan Cosby fighting through injuries for several weeks, the staff decided to turn to Shipley to return punts and he very nearly took another kick to the house. Malcolm and Aaron Williams both had very good kickoff returns of 30 and 26 yards respectively. Both show a burst that could turn a game for the team anytime they grab a kickoff.
Hat Tip: Ryan Bailey reminded everyone that he was the main man last year when he booted 18 of 22 field goal attempts, including several game winners, by making his first field goal attempt of the year in fourth quarter. Unfortunately, he got that opportunity after Hunter Lawrence missed his first two attempts of the game after starting the season 9 for 9.
The defense gave up a paltry 272 yards on 49 plays. The key statistic was the defense's ability to get the Baylor offense off the field – 1 of 11 on third downs and 2 of 5 on fourth downs. 189 yards of the 272 came on four explosive plays, and two of those explosives included multiple back-ups who were out of position.
Palmer turned the tide of a 14-14 ballgame by picking off a deflected ball and returning it 22 yards for a touchdown. That score was the first of 31 unanswered points which put the game away. Palmer also added one sack on a corner blitz for minus six yards. Palmer did miss another sack on a similar blitz earlier in the game for his lone blemish.
Roy Miller, typically the unsung hero pushing the pocket while the glamour ends get the press clippings, picked up two sacks for minus 23 yards. That was the second week in a row that Miller recorded a sack.
The offense racked up 494 yards on 84 plays while registering an amazing 30 first downs. The offense was not as crisp in execution as we have come to expect, but it was efficient in that it should have scored on 8 of 12 possessions in which it tried to score.
Gold Stars: Wide Receiver Quan Cosby and Running Back Tandem Fozzy Whittaker and Vondrell McGee
Quan Cosby returned to game action after missing most of the Texas Tech game with a vengeance. He recorded eight catches for 111 yards with two first half touchdowns.
Fozzy Whittaker got his first career start and showed why a lot of fans have clamored to see more of him. McGee spelled Whittaker and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. The tandem combined for 132 yards on 25 carries. These two together look like they might be Greg Davis' favorite running back committee.
Gold Star: Baylor Head Coach Art Briles
After the Colt McCoy interception that set up the first Baylor score at the six yard line, Baylor ran four plays for 1 yard. There was a pass interference call on the second play which left the Bears at the one yard line with third and goal. Briles called timeout.
When they broke the timeout huddle, Briles ran his jumbo package-equivalent out on the field, and Texas was forced by personnel to have its goal line crew on the field. He kept three wide outs ready to substitute into the game on fourth down. Against tendency, he threw on third down (incomplete) and then immediately ran his three wide outs on the field to spread the defense out. Texas was not able to substitute its guys onto the field, so Kindle and Muckelroy were forced to cover the wide outs on the trip side. Robert Griffin, then rushed over left tackle for the touchdown through the area vacated by Kindle and Muckleroy. That is very solid scheming out of the timeout.
And then for the second Baylor touchdown, Briles attacked back-up Ben Wells by getting Kendall Wright matched-up one on one for the big play of the game.