By Krista Pirtle
No one on this Baylor football team has ever beaten the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
“To beat them would be a great wrap up to my career,” senior wide receiver Terrance Williams said. “OSU is a team that we as a senior class haven’t beaten yet, so to beat them here would be a great wrap- up.”
Baylor’s last win against Oklahoma State came in 2005, a 44-34 victory.
The Bears have not scored more than 28 points against the Cowboys since that 2005 win.
Last season, the Bears suffered a 59-24 loss in Stillwater, converting only three of six drives in the red zone.
“Sickening comes to mind because you know how important it is to punch it in in that situation,” coach Art Briles said after the game. “It’s not like you are going to pitch a shutout game against them, but you certainly better match scores when you have opportunities and we didn’t.”
This season, it is a different story for both teams.
Yes, Baylor is without Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, but senior quarterback Nick Florence isn’t far behind RG3’s numbers.
“Nick [Florence] is a once in a lifetime kind of person,” Briles said. “It is a privilege to be able to be around people like that. You wonder why people are able to do extraordinary things and then you study them and you realize they do it because they are dedicated, disciplined, they have faith, and they are trustworthy. He is the definition of a leader.”
Right now, Florence has 3825 passing yards, only 362 yards behind where Griffin was at this point last season.
Also in the last matchup, now senior wide receiver, AFCA All-American and Biletikoff finalist Terrance Williams caught eight passes for a career-high 154 yards, including a 72-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.
As for Oklahoma State, it is without quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who are both in the NFL.
This season, the Cowboys don’t have one specific quarterback but three.
Junior Clint Chelf and freshmen Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh have each put up at least 1.000 yards behind center.
Returning at running back, junior Joseph Randle has 1212 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year.
Randle ran over the Baylor defense last season for 152 yards.
Through the air, sophomore wide receiver Josh Stewart is the favorite target for the trio of quarterbacks, recording 988 yards and six touchdowns so far this season.
The Cowboys are fresh off an overtime upset against instate rival Oklahoma, 51-48.
“I don’t think there’s any question it’s a challenge for us as coaches and players that we recover,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said.
“It starts with us. We have to get over it first, and then we have to make sure our players understand, which they do. This is a mature group and they’ve been in enough games. If we don’t practice well tomorrow, it takes about 30 percent of our chance away from winning on Saturday. There just really isn’t any option,” he said.
Baylor averages a Big 12-best 575.5 yards per game, with Oklahoma State second at 547.9.
But, while the Cowboys are fifth in total defense, Baylor is allowing a conference-worst 509.7 yards per game, 100.6 more than Oklahoma State.
Baylor’s game against Oklahoma State is also its Senior Day. Twenty-three Baylor football student-athletes will be honored prior to the game.
“I could talk about each one of them for five minutes,” Briles said. “They have all done great things for Baylor University. First of all, by getting their degree, but they have also changed the face of Baylor football.”
The game will be the last at Floyd Casey Stadium for offensive lineman Alex Bonilla, cornerback Chance Casey, linebacker Rodney Chadwick, Florence, safety Mike Hicks, offensive lineman Jake Jackson, defensive tackle Kaeron Johnson, defensive tackle Nick Johnson, offensive lineman Cameron Kaufhold, kicker Kolton Lye, defensive lineman Gary Mason, Jr., student assistant Anthony Moore, defensive end Kevin Park, running back Jarred Salubi, wide receiver Lanear Sampson, safety Marcus Santa Cruz, wide receiver Darryl Stonum, wide receiver Michael Valdez, center Ivory Wade, wide receiver Terrance Williams, safety Josh Wilson, kicker Chris Winkler and fullback Erik Wolfe.
Casey, Chadwick, Florence, Hicks, Jackson, K. Johnson, Kaufhold, Mason Jr., Monk, Salubi, Sampson, Wade and Williams are all four- year letterwinners.
“This senior class has been a part of a lot of things at Baylor,” Florence said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet that it’s coming to an end, but I’m sure it will so we have to channel that and funnel that and use it to our advantage.”