Originally Posted by BearTruth
I don't mind TCU - In fact id like them to be competitive as I think the rivalry between us is good for us. We need a rivalry. Tech is going to be chasing after UT and with aggy gone… TCU is it for us.
But as I just typed that I laughed at myself for the self revealing post. I clearly don't see them as a true rival saying I don't mind them and hope they do well. I had true hatred for aggy but probably not healthy. I'll try and drum up some horned frog hate - maybe they will pull a sword on our cheerleaders or create a fake army or start dressing like neo nazis or wear aggy golf shirts to church or perhaps start grabbing their nuts dressed like milk men. that would all help.
I agree... i dont want to see TCU do bad. I don't want them to beat us, but healthy competition is good for the Big 12. Our teams need to be challenged so when we reach the big stage we dont lay an egg... I hope recruiting picks up for them, i could see them as a nice middle of the pack Big 12 Team...
Originally Posted by JGTBH
I'm not a Bryce Lover or a Bryce Hater... I'm a Baylor Lover and a true believer of Coach Art Briles and Coach Montgomery when it comes to evaluating and developing Quarterbacks. I like Bryce fine and I think what he did this year after having only 14 throws in College coming into the year is just amazing, but if Johnson or Russell is the guy who can help us win games then I'm fine with them playing instead of Petty.
Briles will play the kid who gives the Baylor Bears the best chance to win. Anyone who thinks this is not true is a freaking moron and cheapens all of our diplomas... I don't care who says it...friend or foe...
our best guy will be playing. now, whether or not our best guy will be good enough to win a National Championship is definitely up for debate, but to pretend that Briles and Montgomery play favorites or some **** is just juvenile, childish, Junior High Bull ****.
I agree with you that we absolutely need to play the best players. I find it amusing when people are calling for Russell or Johnson after Petty just won POY in the Big 12. Petty had a TD:Int ratio of 32:3 for the season. Russell had a TD:Int ratio of 3:3 in garbage time. And Johnson has not taken a snap of college football, minus practice. I understand your want to have the best player play, and we could have that conversation for other positions on the field but not quarterback. To me that is foolish. (watch now that I say that Russell or Johnson will be the starter next year. ha)
Originally Posted by tomjmac
"Bobby Jack Floyd(TCU) slams into the Baylor line trying to find out what's behind the Green Door." No explanation needed if you know the hip parade songs of the day.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
Because of a busy Christmas schedule, I am attempting to write this preview as we bounce across the Texas sky on our way to Phoenix on the Baylor charter out of Love Field in Dallas. It’s great that this is a flight full of Baylor Nation, though the turbulence and the early hour have quieted the crowd significantly. We are looking forward to a great BCS Bowl experience in the Phoenix area and a Baylor victory over the 11-1 University of Central Florida Knights.
The Knights are a very impressive team that has navigated their schedule with a lot of grit and determination fueled by excellent play in the clutch by experienced leadership and youthful talent. The Knights have been at their best in the tight, closely fought games where it was critical to make plays down the stretch that would determine whether or not they won or lost. In almost all of these circumstances, the Knights have been able to rise to the task at hand and succeed where other teams might have wilted and failed. This is a gritty team in the vein of a Kansas State or TCU where they hope keep the ball away from the opponent; to play quality defense and be able to control the clock and the ball with a balanced offense that stresses both the run and the pass.
Obviously, the UCF defense has the biggest challenge in trying to stop (or at least slow down the potent Baylor offensive attack. The Knight defense utilizes a 4-man front with to inside linebackers and a Nickel linebacker that is similar to the Bears’ Bear Backer (a linebacker/strong safety hybrid). They run an umbrella coverage as their base alignment with two deep safeties and corners that can play both support and deep coverage roles. They are an athletic unit but don’t seem to possess the overall team speed of teams like OU, TCU, or OSU.
The Knight defensive line is a solid unit that has no superstars, but does a quality job at every position. They are decent against the run and pass, but don’t appear to possess any athletic pass rushers in the unit. They are very good at maintaining their rush lanes in their pass rush, leaving modest throwing windows for the quarterback setting up in the pocket.
The defensive ends (Miles Pace - #44, 6’2”, 242, RSo and Thomas Niles - #69, 6’2”, 270, RSo) do a quality job of maintaining outside leverage and work to contain the ball on both runs and passes. They are not dynamic players, but they do a workman-like job of maintaining leverage against the blocker and working to flatten out perimeter runs. Against the pass, they are effective outside rushers but don’t possess that elite speed to run by most D1 tackles. Niles appears to be the more productive of these two.
The defensive tackles (Demetris Anderson - #94, 6’2”, 303, RSo and E.J. Dunston - #95, 6’2”, 302, Sr) are solid run stoppers that do a good job of maintaining the line of scrimmage. They work very hard at keeping blockers from being able to reach level two. This hard work enables the play-making linebackers to run downhill to the ball. Probably because these guys aren’t dynamic pass rushers, they do a great job of maintaining their rush lanes in their pass rush. This causes the pocket to collapse on quarterbacks, even though they aren’t usually able to get a sack. E.J. Dunston is definitely the more productive tackle and will be a real handful for the Baylor offensive line.
The outlook for the Baylor offensive line against this unit looks pretty good. The defensive line is a good, but not great collection of athletes. The Baylor offensive line should have a distinct advantage in both the running and the passing game against this unit.
The All-Conference middle linebacker for the Knights, (Terrance Plummer - #41, 6’1”, 234, Jr.) is a stud. He is a very productive tackler and is a decent ballhawk in the passing game. This guy has excellent size and good speed. He is a physical player that is able to run though blocks to the ball carrier and still be good enough to take on offensive linemen, when necessary. He is pretty good in coverage, but he is very effective when asked to blitz. He is a “moose.” He brings a real nasty quality to the defense (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). He is a running, hitting machine. He certainly earned the All-Conference honors.
The WLB (Troy Gray - #57, 6’1”, 210, Jr) for the Knights is a solid contributor. He doesn’t possess the physical nature of his running buddy, but does a quality job of playing this position. He has been productive on the blitz and is a quality downhill player. He is supported by Justing McDonald (#34, 6’2”, 197, Fr) who appears to be a really talented young man, just inexperienced.
The Nickel linebackers (Michael Easton - #15, 5’1’’, 197, Jr. and Sean Maag - #31, 6’1”, 194, RSr) are very effective in coverage and run support. These guys make plays on perimeter screens and keep good leverage on the ball. They will test the Baylor receivers that attempt to keep them from getting to the screen receiver.
It wouldn’t surprise me if UCF attempts to run a “muddle” defense where the players mill around prior to the snap and then try to get to where they need to be just prior to the start of the play. Since UCF has had 3+ weeks to prepare, I think that they might try to utilize some of the aspects of the OSU and TCU game plans that make it more difficult to get pre-snap reads on alignments and blitzes. Baylor has seen these looks previously, but it doesn’t keep them from being effective, at times. It will be interesting to see if UCF chooses to cover or bring pressure. If I had to guess, I’d say that the Knights will chose pressure because of the relatively ineffective pass rush of the front 4.
The UCF secondary possesses two All-Conference performers (one at safety and one at corner). They are a solid unit, but I don’t think they have any coverage players at the level of Stanley from OSU or Verrett from TCU. In addition, the renewed threat of Tevin Reese will make it at least slightly more difficult to defend the Baylor receiving corps (if Tevin can return to a functional level or better).
It will be interesting to see how quickly the officiating corps is able to spot the ball and allow the Bears to get the next play underway. Remember that the Big XII has been working with an extra official (the “A” or alternate official) all season whose primary job was to get the ball spotted for play as quickly as possible and to monitor allowable substitution. In the Fiesta Bowl, the Bears will be playing with the umpire doing the spotting of the ball. This will definitely slow down the process between the plays – how much is to be seen.
The secondary is manned by cornerbacks, Jacoby Glenn (#12, 6’, 174, RFr) and Jordan Ozerities (#38, 5’10”, 191, RJr). Glenn is very talented and made All-Conference this season. The safeties are Clayton Geathers (#26, 6’2”, 207, RJr) and Brandon Alexander (#37, 6’2”, 191, Jr). Geathers is a tackling machine. He is a true strong safety and brings it every play. He’s very impressive. Both of these guys have decent, but not exceptional speed.
Teams like Louisville were very effective in their passing game. The coverage is good, but not air-tight. Look for the Bears to be able to effectively work at the intermediate route level, making occasional vertical attempts at big plays.
I expect the Bears to be very good at running the football on Wednesday. With Lache Seastrunk (25), Glasco Martin IV (8), and Shock Linwood (32) all relatively healthy for the first time in several weeks, the Baylor running game should be able to pound the ball at the over-matched UCF defensive front. Because the Knights will probably be struggling to stop the run, they will have to resort to additional personnel being brought into the box to increase run support. This will open the Knights up to vertical passes that will be quick score threats.
If the Knights defense can control the running game of the Bears, then offensive success becomes a more difficult proposition. If I have under-estimated the relative strength of the UCF defensive front, the Bears will have a more difficult time moving the football. I don’t expect this.
The matchup between the Baylor defense and the UCF offense has to be the most troubling for the Baylor Bears. UCF’s offense is very balanced, with an NFL-caliber quarterback as the trigger-man and two NFL quality running backs to beat the defense into submission. Baylor has had the most trouble with a quarterback that is highly accurate and still has a good enough running game to keep the defensive front occupied. The Knights are the prototype of this style of offense.
O’Leary has made no secret about the fact that he will be trying to control the ball and the clock against the explosive Baylor Bears. He wants to keep the high-energy, past-paced Baylor offense on the sidelines as much of this contest as possible. The Knights will be huddling all night long and snapping the ball with just a few seconds left on the play clock. With the quality running game and possession passing game, the Baylor defense will have a real challenge to limit the 3rd down conversions of one of the nations’ best offenses at succeeding on 3rd down.
The Knight offensive line is the strongest where the Bears are the least experienced. The Knights possess two All-Conference guards – twins Jordan (#63, 6’3”, 310, Sr) and Justin McCray (#64, 6’3”, 310, Sr) – that are very physical and extremely talented. These two mean-spirited young men will be matched up with the Baylor defensive tackles that have no player more experienced than a 20-year old sophomore and have two 19-year old true freshmen in their two-deep. These twins are really good. It is this matchup that will determine the effectiveness of the interior running game of the UCF Knights. If Beau Blackshear (95), Andrew Billings (75), Byron Bonds (96), Trevor Clemons-Valdez (98), and Suleiman Masumbuko (93) can stand up to the experienced execution of these two road-graders (plus their talented running mate at center – Joey Grant - #55, 6’2”, 285, RSo), then the Baylor defense should be able to be very successful. If the Knights can get quality movement against these two defensive tackles, the Bears will have great difficulty getting off the field.
One matchup that appears to be clearly in favor of the Baylor Bears is the duel of the Baylor defensive ends against the left tackle (Torrian Wilson, #72, 6’3”, 308, RJr) for the Knights. This young man is a large human being, but he doesn’t appear to possess the kind of quickness and agility necessary to pass protect against the likes of Chris McAllister (31), Jamal Palmer (92), Terrance Lloyd (11) and Shawn Oakman (2). The Bears should be able to bring quality pressure on the quarterback from the blind side of the UCF signal caller. It will be interesting to see if UCF utilizes tight ends and/or running backs to chip or stay in to double –team defenders matched up with the big tackle. The other tackle (Chris Martin - #70, 6’5”, 303, RSr) is a solid contributor for the Knights.
UCF uses a tight end or H-back (Justin Tukes - #84, 6’5”, 257, Jr) with 3 receivers most of the time, so expect Lloyd and Oakman to lineup to the strong side (the tight end side) of the ball most of the game. Both of these guys have been extremely good against even the best tight ends they’ve seen this fall. If these guys can maintain that level of performance, it should be difficult for the Knight running backs to get outside to the tight end side.
These two UCF running backs (Storm Johnson - #8, 6’, 215, RJr and William Stanback - #28, 5’11”, 205, Fr) are a very, very good tandem of backs. They are physical runners that protect the ball effectively and make excellent, vertical cuts for positive yardage. These guys are jitter-bug runners. They pound the ground when they carry the ball. Look for the Knights to try and get Johnson 25+ carries, with Stanback carrying the ball 10 or 11 times. They will be a very tough test of the Baylor tackling.
If Bryce Hager (44) is able to play, it would be a real benefit to the Baylor defensive cause because he is a bigger, more physical run-stopper. If, as expected, Bryce is not able to play, it will be critical for Brody Trahan (15) to duplicate his performance against the University of Texas where he played his best and most physical game of his Baylor career. The ability of Eddie Lackey (5) and Brody to play downhill and meet the challenge of tackling these two physical backs is critical to the Baylor defensive success.
Blake Bortles (#5, 6’4”, 230, RJr) is a terrific quarterback. This guy is the best quarterback the Bears have faced this season. He is an elite, NFL-ready quarterback that is very accurate, but still possesses the arm strength necessary to fire the ball vertically downfield. Coupled with a quality receiving corps, he should be a major challenge to the Baylor secondary coverage. With 3+ weeks to mend, the Baylor secondary should be as close to full speed as they have been in several weeks. This should make them noticeably more effective on Wednesday. That’s good – because the passing game of the Knights will be a real challenge.
The Knights are very good off of play action, they protect the quarterback effectively in dropback, and they attack the short, intermediate, and deep levels with equal effectiveness. This quarterback can make all the reads and throws. He throws in the middle and to the outside with equal effectiveness. He is very well coached and will be as good as anyone the Bears have seen at sniffing out where the blitz is and hitting the appropriate hot receiver.
The Knight receiving corps is very good. For the most part, they possess receivers with excellent speed and size combinations. They should be larger than all of the Baylor defensive backs and run will-coordinated routes with precision. They have good hands and protect the ball effectively after the catch. These guys have made phenomenal plays in the clutch. When the chips are down, they have come through multiple times this season. While they might not have one receiver that is as good as a Terrance Williams, they are a quality receiving corps as a group. Couple this receiving corps with a quarterback that can deliver the ball and you know that the Baylor secondary will have to play one of its best games. J.J. Worton (#9, 6’2”, 211, RJr) and Breshad Perriman (#11, 6’2”, 209, So) are backed up by Jeff Godfrey (#2, 5’11”, 190, Sr), Josh Reese (#19, 6’, 184, RJr), and Rannell Hall (#6, 6’1”, 196, Jr). All of these guys are very good receivers and will be a severe test for the Baylor coverage group.
The concern has to be that UCF will be able to maintain possession of the ball by converting 3rd down after 3rd down, keeping the ball away from the explosive Baylor offense. The worst case scenario has to be if the UCF offense can keep moving the ball downfield, converting possession after possession into touchdowns while monopolizing the time of possession, this could be a game like we saw in Stillwater. This kind of offensive execution by the opponent would put a premium on making the Baylor possessions pay off in touchdowns. If the Knights can control the ball with that kind of effectiveness, this probably won’t be a game where the Bears are going to see a lot of possessions.
This won’t be a game where UCF is able to or even wants to “big-play” the Bears. The Knights are going to rely on their ability to convert their 3rd downs at the same success rate as they have been able to maintain all season. On Wednesday night, this will be one of the most important success factors in the contest.
I am looking forward to watching this contest in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. I anticipate a successful outcome for the Baylor Bears and hope to see a return of the big-play attack that the Baylor Nation has grown to love. If the Baylor defense can meet the challenge of this effective offense, then it should be an evening that the Baylor faithful enjoy a lot.
Bears win, 50-21. Mrs. ftblbob5 wants 80, like always.
Originally Posted by ftblbob5
The Bears secured its first-ever Big XII title and 3rd undisputed conference title in school history. The victory over Texas was the Bears’ 10th straight home win going back to the loss to TCU on October 13, 2012 when the Bears had 6 turnovers. The 11-1 record is the first time in school history that the Bears have won that many games in a season. As Coach Art Briles said, “It’s a reality now. We are Big XII Champs.”
Even with a lackluster 2nd quarter, the Baylor offense returned to a level close to its season average with 508 total yards of offense, 29 first down (13 rushing and 15 receiving – 1 by penalty), 221 yards rushing and 287 yards passing. The Bears were 6 of 7 scoring in red zone chances. The Bears defeated the University of Texas for a 3rd time in 4 years.
The starting offensive line was Kelvin Palmer (77) at left tackle, Cyril Richardson (68) at left guard, Stefan Huber (54) at center, Desmine Hilliard (67) at right guard, and Troy Baker (75) at right tackle. This was Troy Baker’s first start since he had his knee surgery. The starting tight end was Jordan Najvar (18). During the game, Coach Clement alternated Pat Colbert (69) in at tackle to spell Baker and Palmer.
For most of this game, it was a quality (if not dominating) performance by the Baylor offensive line. For the entire 1st quarter and most of the 2nd half, the Baylor offensive line moved the line of scrimmage on almost every play. Backs were able to find quality holes (multiple ones, sometimes) and the quarterback enjoyed almost flawless protection. The first pressure didn’t come until Kelvin Palmer got beaten on a good inside move by Jeffcoat which produced the Texas sack.
The thing that really stood out was how much movement the interior of the line (the guards and center) got on almost every play. When the Bears ran the read scheme (which asks the line to block the defensive linemen and not go downfield (because it is a read of give or pass, in most instances), the line did a quality job of creating running lanes for the fleet running backs. Richardson, Huber, and Hilliard got excellent movement on most of these efforts. These guys were very good at picking up the MLB at the second level and getting good leverage on the UT defensive tackles on these plays. Palmer, Baker, and Colbert were uniformly effective at getting up to level two and cutting off backside pursuit. Baker got beaten once on an inside move and Palmer just missed a block on a pursuing linebacker that could have freed the back for a huge gain. Most of the times that these read plays didn’t go for quality yardage it was because of safety support or because the backs chose to go outside, where there was no blocking.
Baylor ran a lot of power scheme where the center blocks back and the playside guard and tackle block inside. The backside guard pulls around to the playside where he is looking to kickout the first defenders outside the down block or wrap up to level two and block the playside linebacker. This scheme was very good to the Bears.
The Bears used a fold scheme against Texas that asked the guard to block out on a 4-technique (a player on or inside of the tackle) with the tackle pulling quickly inside the out block (this is called “folding”) and up to the linebacker. This scheme produced quality holes on several occasions for the Bears.
The pass protection was terrific. When the Bears went to a straight drop back protection, the Horns got almost no pressure on the quarterback. The Baylor offensive line was almost impenetrable in those situations. There was one time in the 1st quarter that it appeared that there was a total miscommunication up front in the leverage or even type of protection that was called. On this play, the line blocked almost no one. To his credit, the quarterback scrambled out of the pocket to his right and threw the ball away (and passed the line of scrimmage) saving the possible sack. Once, Richardson got beaten on a cross-the-face stunt from an outside shade to the inside gap on play action. You could see the All-American guard almost physically kicking himself after that play. But for most of the afternoon, the Baylor quarterback could stand back in the pocket secure in the thought that he would be protected regardless of how long it took for the receivers to get open.
Jordan Najvar (18) caught one pass for 8 yards on the opening Baylor drive of the game. He had a chance at a touchdown pass when Coach Montgomery sent the big tight end through the line, looking like he was on another lead-blocking mission. Instead of blocking the MLB, Jordan ran right by him and into the end zone. Because he was so wide open, the quarterback tried to lob the ball to Najvar and the pass sailed over Jordan’s head. Jordan continues to be deadly in blocking, whether it is as a lead blocker or if it is on the perimeter. Several times, Jordan provided excellent running room on the edge, whether it was a sweep/read or a bubble screen.
It was a bitterly cold day. On days like this, it is difficult to maintain control of the ball when you take hits right on the ball. For the most part, the Baylor backs did a good job of protecting the ball.
Glasco Martin IV (8) was the starting running back on Saturday. Glasco carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards and 1 touchdown. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry on the afternoon. In addition, Glasco had one very important reception of 25 yards on 3rd and 11. Glasco is a north-south runner. The senior back is a real load, at 6’, 220+ pounds. But he still manages to be able to hit edges of defenders, running through arm tackles, and be able to make quality vertical cuts for additional yardage. One of the biggest plays of the game was Glasco’s only reception of the year. Martin went in motion toward the Texas sidelines and run a go route up the sidelines, trailing behind the wide receiver. When the wide receiver couldn’t split the two deep defenders, the quarterback came down to Martin, who had just beaten the coverage by the UT MLB. The ball was perfectly thrown and Glasco caught the ball for a first down on a critical 3rd and 11 conversion. The best run of the night had to be Glasco’s run on the last Baylor touchdown in Floyd Casey Stadium. After the touchdown had been rubbed out on Morton’s “pick-six,” the Bears steamrolled the Texas front and ran a power scheme right up the middle. The blocking was so effective that Glasco was not even close to being touched as he sped into the end zone. Palmer and Hilliard got particularly effective blocks on the play. At that point, the celebration was on and the stands got a little crazy – it was a blast. Over the entire afternoon, Glasco had a lot of terrific 4-yard gains where he ran vertically, getting everything possible out of the play. This physical-style of running is critical to the consistency of the Baylor offense against good defenses. When the Bears got the ball back, trying to run out the clock, it was Glasco that just pounded the UT defense into submission with physical run after physical run to never give the Longhorns the ball again (in fairness, Shock Linwood did get the last carry).
Lache Seastrunk (25) had 15 carries for 78 yards and a 5.2 yards per carry average (despite having 14 yards in losses on his carries). Seastrunk is a phenomenal running back with the ability to stop and start on a dime. He utilizes a terrific jump-cut often, which leaves defenders tackling air. Lache continues to frustrate when he is not able to make quick quality decisions as to where to take the ball. He is still a little too much of an east-west runner at times. But his explosive ability makes it necessary to keep giving the Temple product the ball as often as possible. Lache’s best run of the day came off of a power scheme to the left. Lache followed the blocking of Desmine Hilliard (who turned up quickly when the defensive tackle to the playside stretched) and split the defenders and rocketing into the secondary for a 17-yard gain. Lache and the quarterback had a miss judged exchange which almost created a big Baylor turnover. Thankfully, the Texas MLB juggled the ball and gave it back to an alert Clay Fuller (23). Lache had a couple of quality runs back-to-back on the Bears’ 2nd possession of the second half. On the first run, Lache was very patient and followed his blocks very well. On the next, the speedster bounced the run outside and down the UT sidelines for another first down. On the next play, Petty gave the ball to Lache on a sweep/read. Lache followed his perimeter blocks very well and ended the run with the exclamation point of running over the UT safety (Thompson) at the 20-yard line – Wow!
Shock Linwood (32) carried the ball 3 times for 14 yards. Devin Chafin (28) had 2 carries for 5 yards.
Bryce Petty (14) threw the ball 37 times and completed 21 passes for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was sacked 2 times. Even with the hard, cold, heavy ball, Bryce threw tight spirals that were mostly very accurate. He showed excellent composure in the pocket most of the game and did a very good job of reading the defense – distributing the ball to the appropriate places. Bryce still has a tendency to throw high when he feels pressure. This is something he needs to correct as soon as possible. Bryce made a bad read on a wheel route by Norwood late in the 1st quarter. The UT coverage bailed and the receiver decided to pull up at about 8-10 yards deep. Bryce threw deep up the rail and was lucky not to have this pass intercepted. One thing that I have noticed is that defenders have a hard time catching the high velocity throws of Bryce Petty. Several times this year we have seen defenders drop what appeared to be sure interceptions (to my mind) because they aren’t used to the spin and velocity of the throws off the rifle arm of the Midlothian product. In addition, Bryce carried the ball 10 times for 32 yards. No one is ever going to confuse Bryce with RGIII, but his ability to carry the football for quality gains forces the defense to leave a man on the backside of the zone/read to defend that possibility. It forces the end to stay at home on the sweep/read and allows the speedy backs to get outside.
Bryce got a little too cute on 3rd and 1 against a blitz look when he visually checked out of a quarterback sneak to a hot throw to the inside receiver. The problem with this was that Bryce couldn’t (or didn’t) let the backs know that he was going to do this. As per their usual work, the running backs ran right into the back of Bryce, trying to push him forward for a first. This made it impossible for Bryce to make the quick throw for the 1st down.
It was a difficult day for receivers because the ball is so heavy and hard. Gloves certainly make catching the ball on cold days like this a little easier, but it’s still a difficult chore. Overall, the Baylor receivers certainly dropped several passes that you would expect them to catch. But they caught a lot more than they dropped and made a few terrific catches on a day of difficult conditions.
The leading receiver for the Bears was Antwan Goodley (5) with 8 catches for 114 yards and 1 touchdown. For the last two weeks of the season prior to this game, Antwan had been going up against two of the toughest cornerbacks in all of collegiate football. While the UT corners aren’t bad, they aren’t quite good enough to cover a receiver like Antwan man-to-man all over the field. Antwan resurfaced in the Baylor offense and had a terrific day. Antwan really did a good job of driving off the coverage and coming back to the ball on intermediate routes. On a Petty rollout, the ball was thrown a little too far inside and behind Antwan as he came back to the ball. Antwan did a terrific job of turning both hands back to the ball and coming up with a difficult catch. Early, it appeared that Bryce might have been trying too hard to get the ball to Antwan because we saw several passes forced into double coverage. Coach Montgomery lined up Antwan in the backfield as the H-back and ran him on a wheel route out of the backfield. This puts UT in linebacker coverage on a player like Antwan. Antwan fumbled at the end of this play, but Jordan Najvar bailed him out with the recovery. At times this fall, Bryce has tried to thread the needle vertically a little too fine. On a critical 3rd down on Baylor’s first possession of the 2nd half, Bryce led the vertical seam by Antwan just a little more inside and away from the Longhorn defender trying to under-cut the route. This adjustment resulted in a critical conversion and a gain of 21-yard gain. On the play, Coach Montgomery motioned the back out of the backfield to Antwan’s side, creating an adjustment in coverage by the safety and opening the throwing lane for Petty. On that same drive on a 3rd and 12, Antwan beat tight coverage coming back to the ball on an out route. He immediately turned upfield for additional yardage. This was a big-time play. The most phenomenal catch of the day (and probably the biggest momentum shifter of the day) was the one-handed catch of a quick slant on 3rd and 9 that resulted in an 11-yard touchdown catch. This catch would have been a terrific catch on a 70-degree day. To make this catch on a windy 24-degree afternoon was awesome. This changed the tenor of the game and the Bears were on their way to a Big XII Championship after this capper of a 77-yard drive on the opening possession of the 2nd half.
Corey Coleman (1) caught 5 passes for 78 yards. Corey has really come around late in this season. He still has issues to work out with Bryce Petty, as evidenced by the back shoulder fade that missed badly on Baylor’s first drive. But, later these two figured this combination out and hooked up for a significant 25-yard gain. Corey did a great job of fighting through a hold by a UT corner to force a defensive pass interference call on the first possession. I have little doubt that Corey would not have tried to get back to the ball earlier this season, but he’s learned that if you don’t fight to the ball, you don’t get the call – experience. When Bryce chose to throw a quick in-breaking route to Corey (and left the ball a little too close to the safety), Coleman drove hard on the ball and came up with the catch even though he had to be thinking that he might take a big hit from a Longhorn. Again, this is something we might not have seen earlier in the year. Corey did a great job with that little toss pass on the jet sweep. Coleman did a great job of utilizing the perimeter blocks and gaining 32 yard on the play.
Levi Norwood had 4 receptions for 36 yards and 1 touchdown. One of the best catches of the day was a play that didn’t score. Norwood went up between two Longhorn defenders to catch an inside receiver fade, but the contact of the defenders rode the Baylor receiver just out of bounds. This was a terrific catch, gained by catching the ball at its highest point between tough defenders. Levin does a very good job of coming to meet the ball on intermediate routes where he finds holes in the coverage zones. He is a terrific possession receiver on plays like this. On most of these possession receptions, Levi’s first reaction is to get vertical after the catch. This is a great habit. Levin had a clear drop on Baylor’s 1st possession of the 2nd half. Levin got his touchdown when Bryce Petty went under center at the 6-yard line. Coach Montgomery sent the running back in motion and the Texas secondary got totally confused about which defender was supposed to stay with the back. This left Levi completely alone and Petty just rose up and hit Norwood on an easy pitch and catch.
Clay Fuller caught 2 passes for 26 yards. Clay’s 24-yard reception on a vertical seam just in front of the safety demonstrates the mental toughness this receiver possesses. The ball was thrown high and Clay reached up, getting his fingers on top of the ball to secure the catch just before he was collapsed upon by 3 Longhorn defenders. Jay Lee (4) had a drop on 3rd and 13 that would have come up a couple of yards short. Jay is still struggling to become as consistent as he could be.
The 20-point victory left the Bears as the number 1 offense in the conference with a 624.5 yards per game average and an average of 53.3 points per game. The Bears were the 2nd rated passing team in the conference, trailing Tech by only 392 yards (despite the fact that the Red Raiders attempted 272 more passes than the Bears). The Bears were the number 1 rushing team in the conference (rushing for 352 yards more than OU, who was 2nd). On the season, Baylor was 2nd best in turnover margin at +11. According to the BCS rankings, the Bears are the 6th rated team in the nation, the highest ranking at the end of the regular season the Bears have had in the BCS-era.
Levi had another one of those moments when he demonstrated more courage than brains. He tried to stop a bouncing punt from being able to be downed inside the Baylor 5-yard line, but didn’t make the pickup cleanly. Luckily, the ball went out of bounds. This lapse in judgment could have been fatal for the Baylor cause.
Most troubling was the fact that Aaron Jones missed a 35-yard field goal in the 2nd quarter. Missing the 49-yard field goal earlier was unfortunate, but Aaron has to be more consistent on his shorter efforts. On the other hand, Aaron did make field goals of 22, 42, and 28 yards on the afternoon. Aaron extended his NCAA record for career PATs made to 270. Aaron has now made a school-record 185 consecutive PATs and broke his own school record for PATs in a season with 78 this season (which set a NCAA single-season mark for a perfect PAT season, passing Louisville’s Art Carmody – 2004). In addition, Aaron’s 12 points scored in the game brought his total points in a career to 447, moving him into 2nd place all-time in NCAA career kicking points (he’s 19 shy of tying the record).
It’s the end of Baylor’s regular season. The Bears finished a program best of 11-1 and have qualified for a BCS bowl game for the first time in program history. Mrs. ftblbob5 and I are looking forward to travelling with the Baylor Nation on the chartered flight and cheering our Bears to victory in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, January 1, 2014. It will be a great way to start off the New Year. Go, Bears!!!