By Daniel Wallace
In Saturday’s 49-26 win over Iowa State, Baylor sophomore defensive end Tevin Elliott ignited the crowd and his teammates as he scooped up a fumble and sprinted 86 yards for the touchdown.
The fumble was forced by junior defensive end Gary Mason Jr., and Elliott was there to pick it up as he ran for the score and increased the Baylor lead to 34-14 midway through the third quarter.
“I think it was honestly the play of the game,” head coach Art Briles said. “Tevin’s been a ball hog all his career. When he’s on the field, something is going to happen. There’s going to be a turnover and he’s going to be involved. He can run. That, to me, really swung the momentum. When that happens to you on the road, as it did to them, it can take a lot of fire out of you.”
Senior linebacker Elliot Coffey said he was impressed with Tevin Elliott’s awareness on the play and noted his quick instincts, as he did not think twice about picking up the ball, but just made the play to help out his team. Elliott is described as an explosive, great athlete who hits hard, Coffey said.
“It was relief for the offense just knowing they don’t have to go out there and throw and throw and throw and try to put points on the board,” Coffey said. “You know, we can help out too. We can stop them. Not only will we stop them but we can put some points on the board too.”
Elliott also made back-to-back heads-up plays in the third quarter. He sacked Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz and then broke up a pass on the very next play.
Elliott is a third-year sophomore who earned All-Big 12 honorable mention and Big 12 All-Freshman honors last season. Last season he played as a redshirt freshman in all 13 games, and started six of them.
In 2009, as a true freshman, he sat out the season and participated on the practice squad in order to maintain eligibility.
Mason said Elliott’s play was nothing unusual and that it was to be expected given his versatility and ability to make a big play on the ball.
“Anytime he’s on the field, there’s a good chance something is about to happen,” he said. “Even on special teams, he can go down and hit a guy and make a fumble. Anytime he is on the field, expect big things.”
The big things Mason spoke of have already happened this year for Elliott. In five games, Elliott has 12 tackles and has recovered two fumbles. He also has sacked the opposing quarterback twice this season, for a net loss of 18 yards.
Briles said he has been impressed with Elliott and his eye for the ball for three years now, and said his game-changing play should not have come as a shock to anyone. He said he expects more great plays from Elliott for years to come.
“I’ve been a Tevin Elliott fan since the day we signed him,” Briles added. “I always thought he was just different. He’s a guy who, when he’s on the field, he just makes things happen. That’s what you look for in a football player. What happened [against Iowa State] wasn’t surprising. It’s not like he’s evolved into this. He’s just getting better and better.”
Elliott hails from Mount Pleasant and is a recreation major.