The Baylor Bears ran their season record to 9-3 and their conference record to 6-3 with a 48-24 victory over the Texas Longhorns in Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday. Weathering a consistent drizzle that sometimes turned into a decent rain (most of you probably didn’t know what that was coming out of the sky since we haven’t seen much of that around here for some time), the Bears stretched their conference winning streak to five games in front of the largest crowd of the season (46,543). Of special note is the fact that a school-record 9,198 students attended the game.
It was Senior Day for the Bears. It would be remiss of me not to recognize the contributions of this senior class in which many chose to attend Baylor when there was only a hope of getting better. This year’s seniors are: Philip Blake (74), Elliot Coffey (4), Terrance Ganaway (24), Robert T. Griffin (79), Nicholas Jean-Baptiste (90), John Jones (63), Travis McClain (84), Ben Parks (40), Reggie Rice (43), Tracy Robertson (13), Bryan Swindoll (27), IsaacWiiliams (4), and Kendall Wright (1). These guys had the vision to see what was possible at Baylor and the work ethic necessary to make that vision a reality. Great job, Seniors!
The #22 in the nation Longhorns brought in a highly respected defense and saw it give up 511 yards in a game where the Baylor defense often gave the Bears terrific field position, making a long drive unnecessary. The Bears totaled 191 yards rushing and 320 yards passing (on only 15 completions) against the leading defense in the conference. Because of the great job by the Baylor defense of getting turnovers, the Bears got the ball in great field position and only ran 60 plays (far below their usual average of plays per game). But the great field position provided for the offense resulted in 48 points.
The offensive line did a great job working against what was believed to be the best defense in the conference. The starting group of Ivory Wade (78) at right tackle, R.T. Griffin (78) at right guard, Philip Blake (74) at center, Cameron Kaufhold (71) at left guard, and Cyril Richardson (68) at left tackle gave up 1 sack, 1 quarterback hurry, and only 2 negative running plays on the entire afternoon. They consistently got decent movement at the line of scrimmage against a group of defenders that had been very difficult for the rest of the conference.
Ivory Wade did a great job of picking up inside stunting defensive ends and washing them down so the running back could cutback behind his block and into the secondary. He did not allow penetration on this block and created a great edge to allow the play to get vertical much more quickly than you would have expected was possible. The back was able to bounce to the outside on the backside cut more often than we have seen all year. When he gets this cut, it is a big man running fast at smaller players. That is good for Baylor and it's all because of great movement from the block of Ivory Wade.
R.T. Griffin was very physical against the Horns. He did a great job of picking up a blitz on the opening play of the second half (a shovel pass). R.T. pancaked the guy, paving the way for the gain. But he needs to become more effective when he pulls. He is a little slow recognizing what is happening on the playside as he pulls. He continues to get caught up in trash, instead of being able to bump around the trash and work to the outside.
Cameron Kaufhold and Philip Blake have become very effective when working together on combination blocks. Philip is doing a much better job at picking up slants and working to level two. Philip has become very patient when he is working to level two. This allows him to get a good read on the linebacker and make effective blocks. Cameron is getting quality movement at the point of attack by keeping his hips down and utilizing good power leg drive. Cameron did a very good job of picking up a stunt on the quarterback keep off the sweep midway through the 3rd quarter, too. Cameron continues to get a little too wide on his wrap blocks and he needs to focus on getting a bigger piece of the linebacker on these blocks. He has a tendency to hit edges – backs can break off of “meaty” blocks much better than edge blocks. On the quarterback isolation play to put the Bears ahead prior to the half, Cameron did a much better job on the wrap and made the critical block. Jake Jackson (70) “gave up” the sack when he had to choose out of two defenders off of the outside. Jake shoved one, but couldn’t pick up the other. Overall, Jake was solid in his time in the lineup. John Jones (63) did a good job on the last drive. Cyril Richardson continues to allow too quick of a corner for defensive ends. He needs to be able to move his feet more effectively to push ends beyond the release point on drop back passes.
On the goal line, the Baylor offensive line continues to stand up and miss blocks on stunting defenders. This is something that needs to be addressed in bowl preparation. You want to put your man in the end zone from the 2-yard line.
Terrance Ganaway (24) continues to get better and better. He has been VERY good in blitz pickup for the last 5-6 weeks. He is a big body that can stand up to the toughest linebacker when called on to protect the quarterback. He has demonstrated that he can catch the ball when called. But his most impressive qualities have to be his ability to make positive yardage and get additional yards after contact. Terrance carried the ball 23 times for 152 yards for a 6.6 yards per carry average. Terrance scored 2 touchdowns on the afternoon. He did a great job of cutting back behind the blocks on the “A” gap defensive tackle and getting vertical inside the defensive end that was trying to read give-or-keep. He, also, made great cuts to get behind the blocks of the backside tackle for real big gains. Terrance has really improved his ability to make people at level two miss. He is doing a much better job of running through the edges of defenders. At 240 pounds, if you only get an edge of Terrance, that’s usually not enough. On the goal line, Terrance did a poor job of carrying out his fake when he didn’t get the ball at the 6:03 mark in the first half. If he hits it harder, his threat would hold a lot of defenders inside that showed up to stop the quarterback. But he did a good job of lead blocking for the quarterback isolation play to put the Bears ahead 24-17 with :50 in the first half. Early in the year, Terrancewas a guided missile on safeties. On the opening drive of the 3rd quarter, the guided missile made a slight return. Terrance had Gideon 1-on-1 at the 5-yard line. Terrance put a decent move on Gideon, who didn’t take the fake. Terrance, then, just ran over the Longhorn taking the ball down to the 1-yard line.
Jarred Salubi (21) has improved as a pass protector. He is doing a much better job of picking up blitzes and his blocking is much more effective. He is still an effective part of the 5 wideout package. His ability to play receiver doesn’t let defenses know when the Bears are going to be empty in the backfield.
Despite beating the Horns for two huge plays within minutes of the start of the game, Robert Griffin III (10) had to show good patience for most of the afternoon because the Horns were dedicated to the idea of covering the vertical routes. Robert looked deep all day long, but was willing to drop down to intermediate throws to keep the sticks moving. He has become a quarterback that is very effective at all levels of the passing game. Robert has added another movement to his drop back game. He is now stepping up and working in the middle of the field with his throws. Several times RGIII stepped under deep rushing ends and found Baylor receivers wide open in the middle zones. The sweetest play of the evening was Robert’s 4th quarter run from the Baylor 10-yard line where he had the big UT defensive tackle right in the hole. Robert neatly sidestepped him for a 20 yard gain, getting the Bears off the shadow of their own goal line. Robert had 12 carries for 32 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robert has made the Baylor goal line package more effective by finding creases in tight spaces for scores. Robert went 15 of 22 for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns while giving up 1 sack and 1 interception. That’s over 20.1 yards per completion for the game.
Some thoughts about what Robert Griffin is doing with the duties of quarterback: Robert is doing a much better job of keeping two hands on the ball as he moves in the pocket and even when he scrambles. Robert is not only taking care of the ball better when he moves, but he is making excellent choices regarding when to throw the ball away. Earlier in the year, he might have been reluctant to throw the ball away because of that absurd statistic of having more TD than incompletions. With that statistic out of the way, RGIII has time-and-time-again wisely chosen to throw the ball into the cheap seats to save a sack. Robert continues to be a very tough player in the pocket. He has endured several marginally legal hits as he is throwing the ball. Despite having a player right in his face, RGIII will put the ball right on the money on most throws. Oh, by the way, Robert can block, too. He pealed back and leveled a Horn defender when Terrance Ganaway bounced outside in the 4th quarter.
As good as Robert is, he still could improve on a few things. He had a couple of plays (especially on the read/sweep) where it appeared he might have misread the play. At the very least, he might be a little too quick on the read to give or keep. The athletic Longhorn defensive ends were able to “feather” him and still be able to play whatever Robert chose. In addition, Robert had his first interception in a home game this year. He rolled to his right and tried to work the ball between defenders to the back of the end zone. He might not have seen Gideon at all. In this situation, you’d like to have a “throw-away”to preserve the field goal attempt, if at all possible.
Kendall Wright (1) has been terrific all season. Against the Longhorns, Kendall opened the game with a great route on the second play from scrimmage that went for a 59-yard touchdown. Kendall angled inside off the line of scrimmage convincing Gideon (the Texas safety) that he was going to run a shallow cross. Just as Gideon bit on the fake, Kendall turned the route vertically and ran right by Gideon and inside of the backside corner who was trying desperately to close the distance. RGIII did a perfect job of leading Kendall away from the backside corner and threw it over Gideon’s head and right into the waiting arms of the former quarterback from Pittsburg High School. On the very next drive, Kendall again got behind the Texas safeties, using a subtle move, for a 48-yard catch where he had to come back for a slightly underthrown ball. Kendall has become a very smart receiver at finding the holes in the zones and sitting down in them. Many young receivers run right through the open seams. Kendall knows where the seams are and sits down providing the quarterback an excellent window through which to throw the ball. Kendall caught 6 passes for 166 yards (27.6 yards per catch) and 1 touchdown. That’s a pretty good day.
Terrance Williams (2) has become a big-time threat. He is very good in the vertical game, but is also tough to defend on stop routes. He has become a much more effective runner after the catch. He continues to do a terrific job of attacking the ball in the air. When the Horns brought four rushers off of Terrance’s side, the Bear receiver converted his route to a shallow cross and picked up a key first down for Baylor. On Terrance’s 4th quarter touchdown, he beat the Horn corner off the line of scrimmage and worked over the top of the defender sealing him off from being able to recover. Robert Griffin put the ball right on the money and Terrance converted the throw into a 39 yard touchdown. Terrance totaled 4 catches for 88 yards (22 yards per reception) and 1 touchdown.
Lanear Sampson (3) is just one of my favorite Baylor Bears. He is very reliable. He is very tough. He is very fast. He is physical. The most impressive play of the game for Lanear had to be a stop route he caught on the Baylor sidelines. The UT corner (Phillips) came up and tried to get him down by hitting Lanear at the waist. Despite being pinned on the sidelines, Lanear didn’t go down and shoved the poor Longhorn corner down to the ground with one arm prior to the whistle blowing as he stepped out of bounds. Another physical play by Lanear was the pancake block he got on Phillips during Kendall Wright’s reverse play (which was a pass because it was a forward toss instead of a backward toss) for 29 yards. You just don’t see receivers getting those kinds of blocks very often. Lanear did a great job of recognizing blitz and working the shallow cross for 19 yards in the 4th quarter. Lanear caught 3 passes for 49 yards (16.3 yards per catch). Tevin Reese had one catch for 12 yards and a 1st down.
The Baylor tight ends had a workman-like game. Neither Jordan Najvar (18) nor Jerod Monk(20) was overwhelming at any point, but they both did quality jobs on most of their plays on the afternoon. Jordan continues to be very effective at tying up the defenders. It might be better if he got back to getting the movement we have seen in past games, but the Texas defensive ends are pretty good. Jerod got beaten badly on one pressure of Robert Griffin III, but did a good job on most of his assignments.
The Longhorns played the Bears in a lot of man-to-man in the second half. Because the Bears were milking the clock very effectively with the run game, they didn’t really attack it like you would expect. When the Bears did throw, they were VERY effective in the second stanza.
Also, with 4:09 left in the game, the Baylor defense got a 4th down stop at the 10 yard line. The Longhorns never got the ball back. The Baylor offense ran the ball (for the most part) right down the field against a Texas defense that knew the Bears were going to run the ball.