Baylor Football's 10 Biggest Wins from the Big 12 Era

Ryan MullContributor IIIDecember 3, 2013

Baylor Football's 10 Biggest Wins from the Big 12 Era

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    Terrance Williams hauled in the game-winning touchdown from Robert Griffin III in Baylor's 2011 stunner over the Oklahoma Sooners.
    Terrance Williams hauled in the game-winning touchdown from Robert Griffin III in Baylor's 2011 stunner over the Oklahoma Sooners.Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    As Baylor gets ready to play Texas for a shot at the Big 12 Championship, it makes you think about just how many important games Baylor has actually played during the Big 12 era.

    That number varies based on your definition of “important," but it’s safe to say Baylor has played in fewer than most college football teams from 1996 to the present.

    For years, fans in green and gold were forced to hide behind the names of Grant Teaff, Mike Singletary, Walter Abercrombie, Thomas Everett and James Francis in order to even justify Baylor’s existence as a member of an elite conference. That’s what happens when your team goes 14-98 in conference in the first 14 years of the Big 12.

    Needless to say, there weren’t too many Baylor games that meant anything to the casual college football fan or the college football landscape in general.

    That doesn’t mean, though, that 14 years went by without anything good happening for Baylor fans. Try telling lifelong Bears fans that the overtime victory over Texas A&M in 2004 doesn’t matter or the 2006 Homecoming comeback against Kansas wasn’t something special to see.

    Those fans will probably tell you that enduring the misery of rooting for those Baylor teams makes watching Art Briles’ Baylor teams that much sweeter.

    When a team only wins a couple games a year, it's pretty easy for its supporters to remember those games more vividly.

    Briles did—and is still doing—what his four predecessors weren’t able to accomplish. That’s providing relevancy for Baylor football as a Big 12 team. Relevancy of any sort, really.

    In just the past four seasons, Baylor has played in more football games of any real significance than in the 14 years before. Taking it a step further, an argument could be made that each game in the 2013 season was more significant than any other game because of what they added up to for the Bears: a top-10 ranking with the chance to win the conference and make a BCS bowl.

    The purpose of this article is not to dismiss more than a decade of school and conference history, however. It is to recognize the enormous gap between the state of Baylor football six years ago and the state of Baylor football in 2013. Also, the purpose is to re-live the program’s greatest moments of the Big 12 era to date.

    All of Baylor’s wins from 1996 through Week 13 of the 2013 season (78, to be exact) were under consideration, but only 10 made the final cut. Some were obvious choices, and some needed a little more research to uncover.

    There is no explicit criterion, but each game was picked for specific reasons explained on each slide. In general, these are the 10 most memorable games thus far in the Big 12 era.

Honorable Mention Games

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    Kendall Wright's 30-yard touchdown reception helped seal Baylor's 30-22 win over Texas in 2010. It was Baylor's first win in Austin since 1991.
    Kendall Wright's 30-yard touchdown reception helped seal Baylor's 30-22 win over Texas in 2010. It was Baylor's first win in Austin since 1991.Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

    These games just missed the list.

     

    October 5, 2002: Baylor 35, Kansas 32

    Kevin Steele's Bears snapped a 29-game conference losing streak at home against the Jayhawks. Baylor scored 11 points in the final 1:18 to win for the first time in conference play in nearly four years. Daniel Andino kicked the game-winning field goal with less than a second remaining.

     

    October 4, 2003: Baylor 42, Colorado 30

    In Guy Morriss' first Big 12 game, Baylor defeated two-time defending Big 12 North Champion, Colorado. Aaron Karas tossed three touchdowns and Rashad Armstrong ran for 166 yards and two scores. Baylor fans tore down a goal post and carried it back to campus.

     

    October 21, 2006: Baylor 36, Kansas 35

    On Homecoming, Baylor trailed 35-17 after three quarters but scored 19 points in the fourth to edge the Kansas Jayhawks. Baylor got to three wins in Big 12 play for the first time ever with three wins against the Big 12 North. Shawn Bell threw for 394 yards and five touchdowns, including 122 yards and a touchdown to Dominique Zeigler and 104 yards and two touchdowns to Trent Shelton.

     

    November 7, 2009: Baylor 40, Missouri 32

    Freshman quarterback Nick Florence set a school record with 427 passing yards as the Bears beat Blaine Gabbert and the Missouri Tigers in Columbia. Baylor trailed 27-16 at the half and stormed back for the win. It was only Art Briles’ second year at Baylor, but the transformation was already taking place. Kendall Wright and David Gettis both topped the 100-yard plateau.

     

    October 30, 2010: Baylor 30, Texas 22

    This win was Baylor's first win in Austin since 1991. It was also the first time the Bears had ever gotten to four conference wins in the Big 12 era. Robert Griffin III threw touchdown passes to Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, Terrance Ganaway had 117 rushing yards, and safety Byron Landor finished with 15 tackles.

     

    December 3, 2011: Baylor 48, Texas 24

    Baylor moved to 9-3 and won its sixth-straight conference game. It was also Baylor's seventh home victory of the season, which is the most in school history. It was the second-largest home crowd for Baylor in Big 12 history, and Robert Griffin III solidified his Heisman candidacy with a statement win. Griffin won the Heisman seven days later.

     

    Statistics and historical information provided by game notes at BaylorBears.com.

10. First Big 12 Road Win

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    QB Shawn Bell threw for 162 yards and a touchdown in the Bears'  23-13 win at Iowa State.
    QB Shawn Bell threw for 162 yards and a touchdown in the Bears' 23-13 win at Iowa State.http://bearmeat.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_archive.html

    Final Score: Baylor 23, Iowa State 13

    Date: October 8, 2005

    Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa

     

    Coming in at No. 10 is Baylor’s first Big 12 road win in the conference’s first 10 years of existence.

    And yes, you read that correctly. After 10 years and 37 straight road losses to open the Big 12 era, the Bears got the monkey off their back with a 23-13 win over Iowa State in Ames.

    Baylor very narrowly missed out on snapping the losing streak the week before in a 16-13 overtime loss at Texas A&M.

    Kicker Ryan Havens notched three field goals, and Baylor had two key fumble recoveries for Guy Morriss’ team and ran its record to 4-1 on the season.

    Quarterback Shawn Bell connected with Dominique Zeigler for a 38-yard touchdown to open the scoring in Ames. That score was set up by excellent field position, courtesy of Willie Andrews’ punt return deep in Cyclones territory.

    The Cyclones took a 13-10 lead to the half, however, and had the ball at the Baylor 1-yard line in the third quarter. It looked like it would be another routine road loss for the Bears.

    Baylor’s defense stripped Iowa State’s Greg Coleman at the goal line and defensive back Maurice Lane recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.

    That fumble ignited the Bears and they didn’t look back from there. Havens kicked two more field goals in the half and Paul Mosley iced the game with a one-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

    The Bears were well on pace for their first winning season since 1995 but faltered down the stretch to finish with a 5-6 record. Five wins isn’t anything spectacular, but it gave Baylor fans something to cheer about for the first time in a decade.

    Guy Morriss doesn’t get much credit for the work he did as Baylor’s head coach, but he started to lay the foundation for the program Art Briles runs today. His 2005 team won multiple Big 12 games and stayed out of last place in the South division—both firsts for the Bears.

     

    Statistics and game story provided by BaylorBears.com.

9. Florence Burns His Redshirt

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    Nick Florence came into the game in the second half and led the Bears to their first victory over Texas Tech in Big 12 play.
    Nick Florence came into the game in the second half and led the Bears to their first victory over Texas Tech in Big 12 play.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Final Score: Baylor 66, Texas Tech 42

    Date: November 26, 2011

    Location: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

     

    Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III owned 2011, but Baylor fans best remember the Texas Tech game at Jerry World for Nick Florence burning his redshirt for one half of football. It went a long way toward Baylor’s 66-42 win over the Red Raiders.

    Griffin went down at the end of the first half with a possible concussion after taking an elbow to the helmet while sliding at the end of a run. Baylor’s medical staff held Griffin out of the rest of the game, and Briles turned to Florence to pull the Bears through.

    Florence started all but three games in 2009 while Griffin rehabbed a torn ACL. He patiently waited for his chance to again be the Bears’ starter once Griffin’s time was over at Baylor, and in 2011, he maintained his redshirt status until the second half of the 11th game of the season.

    “It was a team win,” Florence told the Associated Press after the game, “I’m still taking it in right now. If I’m going to remove (the redshirt), let’s remove it like that.”

    Terrance Ganaway lit up the stat sheet with 246 rushing yards and two TDs. Baylor’s offense didn’t miss a beat in Griffin’s absence, as Florence tossed two second-half TDs.

    Florence’s touchdowns were thrown to a pair of future NFL stars in Terrance Williams and Kendall Wright. Cornerback Joe Williams followed with a 90-yard interception return.

    It was a memorable game to say the least.

    Baylor’s win over Texas Tech was its first in 16 Big 12 meetings. It was also part of the six-game winning streak the Bears had to end the season, capped off by their first bowl win since 1992.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

8. Alamo Bowl Shootout

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    Baylor's 2011 Alamo Bowl victory over Washington was its first bowl win since 1992.
    Baylor's 2011 Alamo Bowl victory over Washington was its first bowl win since 1992.Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

    Final Score: Baylor 67, Washington 56

    Date: December 29, 2011

    Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

     

    The 15th-ranked Bears topped the Washington Huskies in record-setting fashion, 67-56, to win their first bowl game in 19 years.

    Fresh off a trip to New York where he picked up his Heisman Trophy, Robert Griffin III didn’t even have to do anything spectacular in this Baylor win. This game was all about the ground attack.

    Baylor had three rushers hit the century mark, led by senior tailback Terrance Ganaway with 200 yards and five TDs. Tailback Jarred Salubi had 101 yards and two scores on five carries, and receiver Tevin Reese even tallied 101 yards on the night.

    With those guys running on all cylinders, Griffin had a chance to step back and watch his teammates steal the show. His relatively modest stat line (24-for-33, 295 yards, one TD passing and 55 yards, one TD rushing) is proof of that.

    Ganaway took home the game’s offensive MVP honors, and linebacker Elliot Coffey was named defensive MVP for his game-high 15 tackles.

    After a disappointing showing against Illinois in the 2010 Texas Bowl, the Bears did their best to make this memorable for Baylor fans—and there were plenty of them in San Antonio to witness it.

    The Alamodome holds 65,000 people, according to MySanAntonio.com. The announced attendance of the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl was 65,256, the fifth-largest in the bowl's history. The green and gold flocked to San Antonio and created a special atmosphere for Baylor's second 10-win team in school history.

    Baylor fans waited a long time to see their team win a bowl game. It was just gravy that it took place down the road in San Antonio where so many could experience it.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

7. 2011 Season-Opener vs. TCU

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    Final Score: Baylor 50, Texas Christian 48

    Date: September 2, 2011

    Location: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

     

    The end of the 2010 season was bittersweet for Baylor Nation. The program made its first bowl appearance in nearly two decades at the Texas Bowl in Houston but floundered down the stretch with four straight losses to finish at 7-6.

    That didn’t stop 2011’s season opener at home against 14th-ranked TCU from being one of the most highly anticipated games in Baylor history, though.  TCU was riding a 25-game winning streak during the regular season and had stomped the Bears to the tune of 45-10 the year before.

    Baylor had the national spotlight on ESPN for this Friday night game and turned in one of the most exciting games of the year in college football.

    TCU had a 16-14 lead after the first quarter, but the Bears dominated the second to take a 34-23 lead into the break. According to BaylorBears.com, TCU had only allowed 229 yards per game and had one of the best defenses in 2010.

    Baylor went for 564 yards, including 360 in the first half, in this game.

    The first half was highlighted by a touchdown pass to Terrance Williams from receiver Kendall Wright, who had taken a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage from Robert Griffin III.

    Baylor fans have to smile when they think of plays like that. It’s not often that three future NFL stars all touch the ball on the same play. (Here’s the link to the video—the play starts at the 0:22 mark.)

    The Bears continued to take it to Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs in the third quarter, creating a comfortable 47-23 lead.

    Then things got crazy.

    TCU’s Casey Pachall carved up Baylor’s defense for three fourth-quarter touchdowns before taking the lead on a Ross Evans field goal. Baylor now stared at a 48-47 deficit with 4:27 remaining.

    This set the stage for the first of many Heisman moments RG3 would have in 2011. On 3rd-and-10 from his own 20-yard line, Art Briles dialed up another wide receiver pass. This time Wright squeezed a pass into Griffin for 15 yards to keep the drive alive.

    Watch the video above and see Griffin hang onto the pass while getting smashed by two TCU defenders.

    Evidently, that RG3 moment is simply referred to as “The Catch” by Baylor Athletics.

    Griffin’s offense marched down the field to TCU’s 20-yard line before Aaron Jones cashed in on his chance at redemption. Jones already missed two extra points in the game but booted the 37-yarder through the uprights and put the Bears back on top with 1:04 left.

    TCU nearly got its own shot at a game-winning field goal, but Pachall was picked off by safety Mike Hicks to seal the victory for the Bears.

    This win was the first of 10 for Baylor in 2011, and Griffin’s 417 yards of total offense and five TDs made him an early dark horse for the Heisman.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

6. Bowl Eligible at Last

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    Final Score: Baylor 47, Kansas State 42

    Date: October 23, 2010

    Location: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

     

    Jay Finley and Robert Griffin made sure it was worth it to those who stuck around through a weather delay of 1 hour, 47 minutes in Waco.

    Those fans didn’t mind, though. A near two hours was nothing compared to the 16 years they waited to see the Bears go bowling again.

    Finley rushed for a school-record 250 yards and Griffin threw for 404 yards as the Bears held off Bill Snyder’s Wildcats, 47-42. Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright hauled in two touchdowns apiece for Baylor.

    Ironically, the best part of the video above is not any of the scoring highlights—it's the quarterback kneel at the 2:52 mark and the celebration after that made this game special.

    As soon as the final seconds ticked off the game clock, thousands of fans poured onto the field at Floyd Casey to celebrate something that seemed impossible before Briles’ arrival. 

    "We wanted them to rush the field," Briles told the AP after the game. "We wanted that type of victory, and we felt like if we took care of business, that would happen. It's a tremendous feeling of accomplishment."

    Baylor has its sights set on things much bigger than simply becoming bowl eligible in 2013, but for a program that went 14-98 in Big 12 games from 1996 to 2009, winning six games seemed like the ultimate prize.

    Bowl eligibility is one of the greatest achievements of the Art Briles era in Waco.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

5. Guy Morriss Goes for 2 to Beat Texas A&M in Overtime

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    Baylor's sideline and bleachers spilled onto the field following its 35-34 overtime win over Texas A&M in 2004.
    Baylor's sideline and bleachers spilled onto the field following its 35-34 overtime win over Texas A&M in 2004.Baylor Media Communications

    Final Score: Baylor 35, Texas A&M 34 (OT)

    Date: October 30, 2004

    Location: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

     

    2004 was right in the middle of Baylor’s futility. Bowl eligibility had never seemed so unattainable.

    No. 16 Texas A&M was in the midst of an excellent season at 6-1 overall and undefeated in conference. A home date against the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners awaited the Aggies the next week, and they surely planned on a swift disposing of the Bears in Waco.

    Unfortunately for them, Baylor decided it was time for conference win No. 6 in the Big 12 era. Again, you read that correctly. Nine years, six wins.

    Sophomore QB Shawn Bell made his first start of the season in place of the injured Dane King, and he came up big for the Bears.

    Down 13-3 at the half, it didn’t look like the upset was going to happen, but behind Bell’s three second-half TD passes to Marques Roberts, Dominique Zeigler and Trent Shelton, the Bears tied the game four different times and sent the game to overtime.

    Baylor’s defense deserves some credit in this effort, too. Texas A&M’s Reggie McNeal committed his first two turnovers of the season, a Braelon Davis interception and Khari Long forced fumble that was recovered by Justin Crooks.

    The Aggies found the end zone on the first overtime possession to take a seven-point lead.

    Baylor responded with a quick touchdown pass from Bell to Zeigler. That’s when head coach Guy Morriss decided to throw the haymaker. He hoped to catch A&M's head coach, Dennis Franchione, off guard and go for two to win the game.

    The gamble paid off. Bell scrambled to the right and found Zeigler one last time in the end zone.

    Baylor fans stormed the field and ripped the south end-zone goal post down and carried it out of the stadium. Joel Anderson of the Associated Press even reported that Baylor students formed a mosh pit on the field. If the Bears are moshing, you know it's a big deal.

    Baylor may have only won one conference game in 2004, but you can bet there’s no team the Bears would rather beat than the Aggies.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

4. Holiday Bowl Rout of UCLA Bruins

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    Final Score: Baylor 49, UCLA 26 (*19)

    Date: December 27, 2012

    Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

     

    The storyline leading up to this one was that Baylor’s offense was great, but its defense wasn’t enough to top the UCLA Bruins.

    James Franklin and UCLA’s rushing attack averaged 202.9 yards rushing, and Brett Hundley was on the brink of setting the school’s single-season passing record.

    UCLA was ranked 17th and had a nice 9-4 record. Baylor was only 7-5 and was outmatched by the Bruins’ top-notch talent. Besides that, it was nearly a home game for UCLA, while Baylor had to travel halfway across the country.

    None of that seemed to matter for the Bears.

    Baylor dominated the Pac-12 South champion from start to finish. Tabbed as an air-it-out spread offense, Briles and offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery ran the ball 67 times compared to only 13 passes.

    UCLA could do nothing about it as Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin combined for 236 yards and four TDs as Baylor controlled the trenches and posted 306 total rushing yards.

    Florence made the most of his 13 throws, though, going for 188 yards. That was just enough to top RG3’s school record of 4,293 passing yards set just the year before when he won the Heisman.

    As for Baylor’s defense? It dominated as well. The defense’s midseason transformation from terrible to legitimately good was complete with its Holiday Bowl showing. Franklin and the Bruins gained only 33 yards on 28 carries, and the offense didn’t come close to keeping up with the Bears.

    The books will read a final score of 49-26, but that’s selling Phil Bennett’s Baylor defense short a little bit. UCLA was gifted a touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter. I say gifted because the receiver was clearly down before the goal line. The officials refused to review the call.

    Art Briles felt passionately enough about it that the team’s bowl rings actually read 49-19, as noted by CBSSports.com’s Chip Patterson.

    I’m on board with Art, so that’s what we’re going with for the score.

    Nevertheless, Baylor’s dominance in the Holiday Bowl was one of the most impressive performances of the 2012 bowl season.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

3. Blacking out the Sooners

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    Final Score: Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12

    Date: November 7, 2013

    Location: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

     

    Leading up to game time, all the talk was about the offense and Baylor's "blackout" plans, but it was the Baylor defense that impressed the most in the Bears’ 41-12 rout of the BCS’s 10th-ranked team.

    After racing to a 7-0 record and climbing the national rankings to No. 6 in the BCS, the November 7 matchup in Waco was considered Baylor’s first chance to prove itself as a legitimate contender. It was also billed the most important game in Baylor school history by The Dallas Morning News.

    Bryce Petty and Baylor’s offense stumbled out of the gates against Mike Stoops’ tough Sooners defense. The Bears scored only three points through 21 minutes of game time and allowed a sack in the end zone for a safety.

    Fortunately for the Bears, their defense turned in its own masterpiece.

    Oklahoma found itself in Baylor territory seven times throughout the game but only managed a touchdown and two field goals in total. Phil Bennett’s defense came up with a timely goal-line stand in the first quarter and dialed up the pressure on quarterback Blake Bell.

    Baylor scored twice in the final minute of the first half to open up a comfortable 24-5 lead at the break. The second of the scores was set up by Eddie Lackey’s interception at the Sooners’ 38-yard line.

    Bell and the Sooners only managed 237 yards of total offense and didn’t score a touchdown until late in the third quarter. That was too little, too late for Oklahoma, though.

    Baylor iced the game behind Petty’s five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) and never allowed the Sooners to come close in the second half.

    That, in large part, was due to third-string running back Shock Linwood gashing Oklahoma’s defense for 182 yards after veteran backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin went down in the first half.

    Floyd Casey Stadium’s first top-10 BCS matchup resulted in Baylor moving to 8-0 for the first time in school history.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.

2. Taking Down Number One

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    Final Score: Baylor 52, Kansas State 24

    Date: November 17, 2012

    Location: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

     

    After reaching its second straight bowl game in 2011, it appeared as if Baylor had taken several steps backward and would miss out on 2012's bowl season.

    The Bears had high hopes for 2012, even in the absence of RG3, but a narrow loss at Oklahoma put them at 4-5 on the season. Reaching another bowl game seemed like a stretch, at best, as Baylor’s defense struggled to find its footing.

    Apparently all the Bears needed was a visit from the No. 1 team in the nation and Heisman front-runner Collin Klein.

    Quarterback Nick Florence threw two first-half touchdown passes to Tevin Reese and Terrance Williams as the Bears jumped to a 28-7 lead. Kansas State closed the gap to 28-17 at the half.

    Safety Sam Holl came up with a big interception of Klein on the first drive of the second half, and Martin quickly punched in another Baylor touchdown. Baylor’s offense gifted the Wildcats a touchdown after turning it over at its own 1-yard line, but after that, it was all Bears.

    Martin (113 yards, three TDs) and Lache Seastrunk (185 yards, one TD) carried the load on the ground in the second half while the defense stifled the Wildcats. Baylor picked Klein off three times in the game, all but ending his Heisman chances. Cornerback Joe Williams hauled in two of those interceptions.

    Among the most memorable moments of this game was Seastrunk’s electrifying 80-yard run where he pulled away as five defenders converged on him.

    Baylor’s defense had plenty highlights of its own, topped off with a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. Klein tried to power his way into the end zone on all four downs, starting at Baylor’s 6-yard line, but was met by a wall of defenders each time.

    Kansas State looked poised to win the Big 12 conference en route to the BCS title game, but those hopes were dashed in Waco. Almost a year to the date after taking down another BCS Championship hopeful, Oklahoma, Art Briles' team did it again.

    The 52-24 thrashing gave Baylor its first win over a No. 1-ranked team in school history. It also tied the largest margin of victory over a top-ranked team in BCS history, according to BaylorBears.com.

    The victory fueled the Bears the rest of the season and was a clear breakthrough for Phil Bennett and his defense. Baylor won its final three regular season contests before rolling over UCLA in the 2012 Holiday Bowl.

    The Kansas State win was also the first game of what turned into 13 straight wins, a school record that carried over into 2013.

     

    Statistics and game story provided by BaylorBears.com.

1. RG3's Heisman Moment

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    Final Score: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38

    Date: November 19, 2011

    Location: Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, Texas

     

    RG3 had already emerged as a Heisman candidate, but this game really put his campaign in full motion. No. 22 Baylor vs. No. 5 Oklahoma marked the first time two Top 25 teams squared off at Floyd Casey Stadium.

    Baylor sported an ugly 0-20 lifetime record against Oklahoma, and the No. 5 Sooners had an outside shot of entering the BCS Championship picture. No. 2 Oklahoma State had already lost an overtime game Friday to Iowa State, and No. 4 Oregon would fall to Southern California later that night.

    There was a small window of opportunity for Oklahoma to start thinking about another national title with a strong finish to the season, but the Bears slammed it shut.

    Griffin and the Bears caused BCS upheaval by knocking off the Sooners for the first time in school history, 45-38, running their record to 7-3. It was also Baylor’s first win over a Top 5 team since 1985.

    It wasn’t just any old win, either. This one seemed destined to be Baylor’s breakout win of the Art Briles era. Fittingly, Briles’ right-hand man stole the show and put himself atop the Heisman race with Stanford’s Andrew Luck.

    Griffin broke his own Baylor single-game records for passing yards (479) and total offense (551), aided by deep passes to an impressive group of receivers.

    The first of his four touchdown passes was a 69-yard strike to Tevin Reese at the end of the first half to put the Bears up 17-10.

    Oklahoma scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to retake the lead and the momentum. The Sooners seemed to be on the verge of putting the Bears away.

    That’s when Baylor pulled a page from the 1972 Pittsburgh Steelers with its own “Immaculate Reception."

    With the line of scrimmage at his own 13, Griffin threw a 20-yard pass that deflected off Reese’s hands, straight into the hands of a streaking Kendall Wright. Wright caught the ball just shy of midfield and sprinted the rest of the way for an 87-yard touchdown.

    Baylor built the lead to 14 in the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma showed off its dynamic offense with quarterback Blake Bell’s third and fourth rushing touchdowns of the game to tie it with 51 seconds remaining.

    The Bears started the last drive on their own 20 with no timeouts and looked content to go to overtime. After a short run to open the drive, Bob Stoops saw the opportunity to try to force a Baylor punt and called an Oklahoma timeout. Stoops’ strategy backfired in the worst way for the Sooners.

    The next play turned the tables and the strategy for both sidelines.

    Griffin ran 22 yards for a first down near midfield, and all of a sudden, Baylor saw an opportunity to score in regulation. The following plays moved the ball to the Sooners’ 34-yard line with 15 seconds left.

    That set up the play that would later be considered Griffin’s “Heisman moment."

    Griffin escaped pressure and scrambled to the left. He had just enough time to get his feet set before the pass rush got to him, and he found receiver Terrance Williams in the back corner of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining.

    Baylor fans flooded the field for the third time in two years, celebrating Baylor’s most important win in Big 12 history.

    Yes, Briles’ teams had already had big wins and accomplished far more than other Baylor coaches' in the Big 12. This win was a sign that Briles wasn’t stopping at mere respectability in his resurrection of Baylor football. He had his sights set on conference titles and national legitimacy.

    Griffin realized the magnitude of the victory for Baylor football, and after the game told ESPN’s David Ubben:

    When you work for something extremely hard for a lot of years, and you finally get it, it's a great feeling. We worked for this. We haven't been waiting for it. We've been preparing for it. And it finally came to pass.

     

    Statistics and game notes provided by BaylorBears.com.