Baylor got the statement win it has been looking for all season by defeating Oklahoma 41-12.
The Bears entered the day as the No. 6 team in the BCS Standings after starting the year 7-0, but many had questioned the quality of their schedule. However, critics now have less of an argument after an all-around dominant performance against the No. 10 Sooners.
Quarterback Bryce Petty led the nation's No. 1 offense with 204 passing yards, 45 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. Freshman running back Shock Linwood also impressed with 182 rushing yards while replacing Lache Seastrunk, who was in and out of the lineup with a groin injury.
Of course, it was the No. 6 ranked scoring defense that stood out, holding Oklahoma to 237 total offensive yards while forcing two turnovers.
The first half started incredible slow for both offense. After a pair of punts, Baylor came through with a 13-play drive, although it only ended with a field goal.
Amazingly, these were the only high points of the first quarter that was full of mistakes and sloppy play. As Pat Smith of the Paul Finebaum Show notes, there were plenty of penalties as well:
Baylor has more penalty yards (58) in First Quarter than offensive yards (56).— Pat Smith (@patsmithradio) November 8, 2013
ESPN Stats and Info also provided this note about the low-scoring battle:
Baylor: last time held out of the end zone in the 1st quarter was last season at Oklahoma That was also the last game Baylor lost— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 8, 2013
Fortunately for the Bears, though, Oklahoma was struggling just as much offensively. Oklahoma had a chance to get into the end early in the second quarter, but quarterback Blake Bell was stopped at the one on fourth and goal.
Of course, the Sooners were able to get onto the scoreboard two plays later when Dominique Alexander sacked Petty in the end zone for a safety. CBS Sports had this to say about the early events:
Oklahoma D does what the offense couldn’t: score. Baylor’s lead cut to 3-2 after safety. 13:22 2Q— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) November 8, 2013
Oklahoma then added a field goal to take a 5-3 lead, but this was the last good moment for the road team.
With about eight minutes remaining in the first half, Baylor's offense went to work. The unit drove 69 yards in five plays to get the first touchdown of the game, capped by a five-yard run by Petty. The junior then scored on a one-yard run a few minutes later to finish a 93-yard drive, making the game 17-5.
However, the icing on the cake came when the Bears forced an interception with 48 seconds left in the half, which led to a 24-yard touchdown pass from Petty to Antwan Goodley just before halftime.
As Pat Forde of Yahoo! correctly guessed, this pretty much ended things for Oklahoma:
Petty's first TD pass comes w 13 seconds left in half and should end this thing. Baylor up 24-5, and Oklahoma's offense totally overmatched— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) November 8, 2013
Baylor added to the lead in the second half with a Levi Norwood reception to make it 31-5.
While the Sooners were able to finally get into the end zone on a short pass from Bell to Roy Finch, it was much too little, too late for the squad.
The Bears put up some more points late to make the score 41-12 in a crazy game that featured 25 penalties. One notable flag occurred in the fourth quarter when it was clear an Oklahoma player could no longer handle his frustration:
#Sooners DE Charles Tapper was just ejected for throwing a punch— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) November 8, 2013
Still, Baylor held on for the win to firmly place itself in the national championship discussion. There are a few more tough games on the schedule, but the undefeated squad proved that it is clearly one of the best teams on the country.
If this group can keep winning and possibly get some help, it could play for a BCS title in January.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: A
Despite a poor start and much less efficiency than he's used to, Petty was still every bit of the playmaker that has helped Baylor all season.
The quarterback finished with five total touchdowns and represented most of the offense for the Bears in the big first half while using both his arm and his legs.
After being an outside contender for the Heisman Trophy for much of the year, Petty proved that his play matches his statistics. He came through on national television in the biggest game of the season and is now very much in the conversation for college football's biggest individual award.
K.J. Morton, CB, Baylor: A-
This is a great example of changing the story over the course of a game.
K.J. Morton was originally ejected from the game after laying this huge hit on receiver Sterling Shepard.
The play was eventually overturned, and the senior cornerback stayed in the contest. He certainly made it count, because he started making plays all over the field, including a touchdown-saving stop in the first half.
Fans can debate whether he deserved to be ejected, but he definitely was one of the stars after the incident.
Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma: C
While Bell is not someone who posts huge numbers on a weekly basis, the junior quarterback had done a good job of facilitating the offense while helping out as both a runner and a passer. He did not do that on Thursday.
The quarterback completed only 15 of his 35 passes, which prevented the Sooners from sustaining long drives. This was not helped by his five rushing yards on eight carries.
This was easily Bell's worst game since the loss to Texas, and it was a big reason the squad was unsuccessful.
Brennan Clay/Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma: D
These two running backs entered the game as the heart of Oklahoma's offense, coming into the game with a combined 950 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on an average of more than five yards per carry.
That same level of talent was not seen at all on Thursday, as the duo combined for 32 rushing yards on 13 carries.
While it is understandable that the team had to abandon the run after trailing early, the ineffectiveness was extremely disappointing. Of course, this is a testament to the impressive Baylor defense on display in the game.
Things stay tough for Baylor, as the squad faces another ranked team in No. 25 Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 16. Meanwhile, Oklahoma returns home on the same day for what should be an easy battle against 1-7 Iowa State.
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