Baylor unable to stop A&M from defending home turf

No. 18 receiver Jordan Najvar leaps up in an attempt to catch a Robert Griffin III pass during the game against Texas A&M on Saturday at Kyle Field. The Bears suffered a defeat of 55-28 to the Aggies in front of 87,361 fans.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor

By Tyler Alley
Sports Editor

Baylor walked off Kyle Field after losing 55-28 amid chants of “S-E-C!” from the Texas A&M fans.

Baylor’s defense gave the A&M fans reasons to cheer throughout the game, allowing 681 total yards to the Aggie offense.

Texas A&M senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill had 415 passing yards and six touchdowns. Poor tackling and secondary play led to some big plays for Texas A&M and to junior receiver Ryan Swope having a career day with 206 yard receiving and four touchdowns.

“We weren’t reading our keys, and that’s when they attacked us,” sophomore safety K.J. Morton said. “Ryan Swope is a tremendous athlete; he’s a good route runner. Our defense will take it one day at a time and get better as a unit. These are things that can get fixed and will get fixed.”

Junior quarterback Robert Griffin III put up big numbers with 430 passing yards and three touchdowns and one interception, his second of the season. Head coach Art Briles said the numbers mean nothing to Griffin.

“He kept us alive but the only number he’s concerned with is where that bar goes on the column,” Briles said. “That’s all he’s concerned with and all we’re concerned with. He’s a warrior; he’s a fighter. That’s why I respect him.”

The defense began the game well when junior defensive tackle Nick Johnson batted a pass, leading to an interception by sophomore defensive end Tevin Elliott on the Baylor 27-yard line.

Baylor’s offense responded to the big defensive play with a 12-play, 73-yard drive capped off by a Griffin 6-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Kendall Wright to put the Bears up 7-0.

Baylor defense came up big again on the next drive, holding the Aggie offense to a 35-yard field goal.

In the second quarter, the coverage broke down, allowing Tannehill to find Swope for the 68-yard touchdown. Griffin and company reclaimed the lead on the first play of the drive with a 77-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Terrance Williams.

“We just tried to make it easy for Robert,” Williams said. “When we have one on-one-coverage, we are taught to always win. For that play, he came down one-on-one and I just had to win.”

It did not take long for the Aggies to reassert themselves. Tannehill led the offense on a 5-play, 73-yard touchdown drive.

Texas A&M walked into halftime ahead by double digits, as it did against Oklahoma State and Arkansas before eventually losing those games. For the second week in a row, however, it was able to hold that lead.

Baylor kept it close with its first offensive drive of the second half. Redshirt freshman receiver Antwan Goodley returned the kickoff 49 yards to the A&M 46. Two plays into the drive, Griffin found sophomore receiver Tevin Reese for the 43-yard touchdown.

Baylor would pull within six points on their next drive after a 4-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Terrance Ganaway, but Texas A&M would take control in the end, shutting down Baylor’s offense and scoring three more touchdowns, including a 68-yard pass from Tannehill to Swope.

“We just made a lot of mistakes on defense,” Elliott said. “We missed a lot of key things on the d line and secondary. We just were not on our A-game today.”

The Aggie defense sacked Griffin five times on the day and only allowed 50 rushing yards against the Bears. Ganaway had 34 rushing yards on the day.

Despite the performance by Baylor’s defense, Griffin said this team was together and nobody is pointing fingers at anyone.

“We cannot become an offense and a defense,” Griffin said. “It’s tough to sit on the sideline and watch their team move the ball on your defense. You can’t become just an offense and a defense; it divides the team and you wont be very successful. So we’ll just continue to make sure we are a team.”

The crowd of 87,361 at Kyle Field made their presence felt the entire game and showed that the “12th man” comes as advertised. In the fourth quarter, when a commercial for Texas A&M joining the SEC was shown on the big screen, the crowd cheered and the “S-E-C!” chants began.

The loss to Texas A&M dropped Baylor out of the Top 25 rankings.

Baylor has this next week off before playing Oklahoma State on Oct. 29 in Stillwater, Okla.

Baylor defense will need to step its performance up against the Cowboys, who rank second in yards gained and points allowed.

Oklahoma State ranks 21 spots higher in passing than Texas A&M.