No. 3 Cowboys give Baylor “sickening” defeat

No. 18 sophomore defensive Tevin Elliott jogs into the endzone after returning a fumble 86 yards for the Baylor touchdown on Saturday, making the score 34-14 Bears over Cyclones. The fumble was forced by junior defensive end Gary Mason Jr, who knocked the ball loose from Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz.Meagan Downing | Lariat Photographer

By Jeff Latzke
AP College Football Writer

STILLWATER, Okla. — Robert Griffin III gave Baylor plenty of chances against No. 3 Oklahoma State.

The Bears missed every one.

In a frustrating first half, Griffin led the offense deep into Cowboys territory on five straight drives, and not one resulted in points.

The result was a 59-24 blowout loss that was more lopsided on the scoreboard than it was on the field. Coach Art Briles found just the right word to describe it.

“Sickening comes to mind because you know how important it is to punch it in in that situation,” he said. “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.”

The Bears (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) were stuffed on fourth-and-1 twice, including on the goal line on their opening drive, and Justin Gilbert picked off one of Griffin’s passes in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 5. Aaron Jones also continued his struggles, missing a 48-yard field goal.

“The score is crazy,” running back Terrance Ganaway said. “It looks lopsided but … if we don’t have any turnovers and finish in the red zone, it’s a whole new ballgame. That’s what we have to work on. We have to make sure we’re taking care of the ball and playing smart.”

Griffin threw for 425 yards to end up 5 shy of his career best set last week. In a matchup of two of the nation’s top three offenses, the Bears’ second-ranked attack outgained Oklahoma State’s third-ranked unit 622-601 but the scoreboard was lopsided the opposite way.

The Bears got inside the Oklahoma State 35-yard line on each of their first five drives and then found a way to give the ball back without getting any points.

Baylor didn’t get into the end zone until the first play of the fourth quarter, when Ganaway’s 18-yard scamper made it 49-10.

Before that, it was one failure after another. The Bears snapped the ball 14 times inside the 5-yard line before finally getting into the end zone for Griffin’s 1-yard sneak for the final score.

“We’re certainly working on that phase of our game like everybody, but when you get down in the red zone, the field gets smaller and everything happens at a faster pace and yards are tougher,” Briles said.

Joseph Randle set career-highs by running for 152 yards and four touchdowns and Justin Blackmon matched his career best with 13 catches for 172 yards and two scores to lead the Cowboys’ offense.

Brodrick Brown recovered two fumbles, and Daytawion Lowe and Gilbert had interceptions as the Cowboys (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) forced five turnovers.

That’s nothing new for the Pokes.

OSU came into the game ranked 103rd in the nation in yards allowed — easily the worst of the eight remaining undefeated teams — but has consistently found ways to get critical stops when needed. The Pokes lead the nation in turnover margin and added to their Bowl Subdivision lead in interceptions by picking off their 16th and 17th of the season.

Glasco Martin also fumbled inside the 1-yard line in the third quarter, setting up Oklahoma State’s second 99-yard touchdown drive of the game.

“They didn’t want to give anything up,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We talk to them all the time about fighting right ’til the end.”

The Cowboys started a season with eight straight wins for only the second time in school history. The other time was in 1945, when they finished the season 9-0, won the Sugar Bowl and were ranked fifth in the final poll.

“It’s a sweet feat,” said quarterback Brandon Weeden, who had 274 yards passing and three touchdowns without any interceptions.

“But last year we were talking about winning 11 games and how exciting that was, and we’re not there yet. We’ve still got a lot left on our plate.”

To start the game, Griffin drove the Bears 68 yards with relative ease to set up first-and-goal at the 2. Three running plays later, they had only made it to the 1 and Briles decided to give it to Ganaway once more.

“For us, it’s just pride right there. There’s no space to worry about. It’s just you versus that guy in front of you,” OSU safety Markelle Martin said.

“So for us, it’s that battle that you want every day. You don’t have to worry about nothing else, just you and the guy in front of you.”

The Cowboys, who’ve been hearing the increasing noise that they can’t win a BCS title with a 100th-ranked defense, won that battle over and over again.

“We wanted to go out and prove that we are a good defense,” Martin said. “I think that fire was lit and we all shined and had fun.”

Randle, who also scored four total touchdowns last week, ran for TDs from 2, 62 and 7 yards as the Cowboys built up a 35-0 halftime lead. He then followed Brown’s 47-yard fumble return by scoring from 7 yards out early in the third quarter.

Blackmon, an All-American last season, returned after missing the second half of last week’s game with a head injury to catch TD passes from 2 and 8 yards. Weeden’s other scoring pass was an 18-yarder to fullback Kye Staley, who had given up the game entirely after a serious knee injury and got into the end zone for the first time in his comeback.

Terrance Williams caught eight passes for a career-high 154 yards, including a 72-yard fourth-quarter touchdown, and Kendall Wright had 117 yards on 11 receptions as Baylor lost in Stillwater for the 10th straight time and fell to 1-15 against OSU in Big 12 play.