Robert Griffin led Baylor to a win in Austin.
Baylor Bears: Now Do You Believe?
Baylor’s rise in the Big 12 South and the national rankings and in the thoughts and minds of college football fans has found real traction with win over Texas.
Bowl eligible? Nice. Back in the rankings? Cool.
But big time? Not by virtue of wins over the likes of Buffalo and Kansas State and Colorado. The Bears lacked substance, with an ugly loss to TCU and another setback to Texas Tech on their resume.
Not anymore. Baylor beat the Longhorns, 30–22, for the first time since 1997 and won in Austin for the first time since 1991, securing the sort of statement win that had been missing. OK, so this isn’t your typical Texas team, a title contender carved from superb stock. The Longhorns, who have now lost three times at home, are clearly scrambling.
Still, it’s Texas, with all its four- and five-star recruits. And Mack Brown. In Austin.
And while the thought had been that outstanding quarterback Robert Griffin III was willing his team to wins, the win over the Longhorns revealed that the Baylor’s talent is improving across the board.
“It’s been a while since we’ve given our fans proof to believe,” Bears coach Art Briles said afterward.
“Our players are as resilient as any I’ve been around.
“What’s really helped is that we’ve gone down to the wire the last few weeks. We’re used to being in those situations and our guys believe good things are going to happen.”
After prevailing at Texas, Baylor isn’t just bowl-eligible; it is bowl bound. And at 4–1 in the Big 12 South, they lead the pack with several key games against the rest of the division coming up, including a visit to Oklahoma State this Saturday.
“Our goal has always been to win the South title,” Griffin said. “The tide has changed this year and we’re the team to beat.
“People say that Baylor can never beat this team and that team. Well, that Bear is gone.”
Oklahoma State 24, Kansas State 14
Iowa State 28, Kansas 16
Nebraska 31, Missouri 17
Texas A&M 45, Texas Tech 27
Baylor 30, Texas 22
Oklahoma 43, Colorado 10
Huskers Run Away
All the anticipation of Saturday’s North heavyweight title bout — Nebraska vs. Missouri — exited Lincoln after the Huskers delivered a staggering early blow, getting a 66-yard touchdown run from Roy Helu Jr. in the opening moments and bolting to a 24–0 first-quarter lead.
That’s the kind of day it was for Helu and the Huskers. And Mizzou, which was off to its best season start since 1960, lost for the 17th straight time on the road against a Top 25 team.
Helu enjoyed a memorable day, rushing for a school-record 307 yards and three long scoring runs. He had 228 yards on his first 10 carries, and tacked on touchdowns covering 73 and 53 yards.
“I can’t explain how much I feel for my linemen and fullback,” Helu said. “They deserve as much credit as I do.”
Adversity was stacking up on Oklahoma State, with its first loss to Nebraska followed by the one-game suspension of star wide receiver Justin Blackmon as the repercussion of an ill-advised trip to Dallas to watch former teammate Dez Bryant on Monday Night Football.
On top of that, the Cowboys were heading to Kansas State, where they hadn’t won since current coach Mike Gundy was handing off to Barry Sanders in 1988.
But the Pokes prevailed behind their defense and kicking game. They slowed K-State standout running back Daniel Thomas and picked off three second-half passes. And punter Quinn Sharp dropped four punts inside the Wildcat 10.
Overall, OSU out-rushed K-State 213 to 111, with Kendall Hunter running for 143 yards.
Player of the Week: Roy Helu Jr., Sr., Nebraska. Helu’s big day in a big win over Missouri broke Calvin Jones’ NU rushing record of 294 yards, set against Kansas in 1991. And it was much needed, with quarterback Taylor Martinez missing the second half with a bruised right leg. Late in the game, when the Tigers entertained faint hopes of a comeback, Helu kept moving the chains and the clock.
Game of the Week: Baylor at Oklahoma State. Two teams picked for way down in the South Division are way up, both in the Big 12 title hunt, as well as the Top 25. While strange things can happen, the Bears and Cowboys are squaring off in what amounts to an elimination bout within the conference.
On the Spot: Mack Brown, Texas. Don’t look now, but the Longhorns are a .500 team at 4–4 overall. They’ve lost three times at home (UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor) and seem to be in disarray, just one season after making the BCS title game. Brown remains the king of Texas, but there’s some work ahead in directing a rebound.
In the Spotlight: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. Better late than never, right? A former prep quarterback who spent three seasons at wideout, Tannehill has replaced Jerrod Johnson behind center and thrived. He passed for a school-record 449 yards and four touchdowns and led the Aggies to their most points in a league home game since 2005 in the win over Texas Tech.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State. The second-year coach has crafted some benchmark wins in his short stay in Ames. His teams have shown character, too. Just two weeks ago, the Cyclones were reeling and seemingly bound for the bottom of the North Division, after surrendering 120 points in losses to Utah and Oklahoma. Now ISU is streaking, beating Texas and Kansas back-to-back and creeping within one win of bowl eligibility at 5–4. The closing schedule is rugged, with home games against Nebraska and Missouri and a trip to Colorado. Circle the visit to Boulder as the make-or-break game.
Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M. Johnson’s spiral has apparently flattened out, with Tannehill’s ascension in College Station. The two QBs had split time the week before, but it was Tannehill all the way in the win over Tech, while Johnson watched from the sideline. It’s been a freefall senior season for Johnson, the school’s career passing yards leader.
By the Numbers
4 Conference wins by Baylor, its most as a member of the Big 12.
34.5 Average distance of Nebraska’s 34 touchdowns from the line of scrimmage.
208 Yards receiving for Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles, a school record.