Homecoming Hurrah: 42-39 offense-led win renews Bears

Team one win away from bowl eligibility

No. 24 senior running back Terrance Ganaway runs for a 38-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to put the Bears up on Missouri, 28-14, at Floyd Casey Stadium on Nov. 5, 2011. Baylor notched a win over the Tigers, 42-39.
Matthew McCarroll | The Baylor Lariat

By Tyler Alley
Sports Editor

Baylor’s 42-39 win against Missouri Saturday could have been titled “The Tale of Two Halves.”

The first half, Baylor looked like it did against Oklahoma State, letting scoring opportunities slip through its fingers, getting stuffed in the red zone and making special teams errors, all leading to a 13-14 halftime deficit.

In the second half, Baylor (5-3) reminded everyone about its ability to be an offensive juggernaut, setting a new school record with 697 yard in the game.

“It was a really great for our football team, our players, and our university,” head coach Art Briles said. “For our guys to keep fighting and come and beat a good football team like Missouri whose coming off a big win last week and playing with a lot of confidence, I think says a lot about their faith and belief in themselves and the program.”

Junior quarterback Robert Griffin III said it meant a lot to the team to get this win after the past two road losses.

“It’s good to get the ship turned around,” he said. “It was big for us to come home and protect our home turf. [Missouri] came off a huge win against A&M and we beat a good football team.”

The Bears’ offense had its share of big-time performances in this game, but those of senior running back Terrance Ganaway and sophomore receiver Tevin Reese stood out.

Near the end of the third quarter, Ganaway broke a 38-yard touchdown run, breaking two tackles and making a big cut to the right to find some open field and ultimately the end zone.

“It was a corner blitz and Kendall [Wright] was screaming, ‘corner, corner, corner,’ and soon I look up and the corner is blazing,” Ganaway said of the play. “The next thing I know [Cameron] Kaufhold is working down the field. He got a block that really spun me to cut across the field and to use my ability to get into the end zone.”

Then in the fourth, when it looked as if Missouri may be surging a comeback, Ganaway burst through the line for an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive. He finished with 186 yards and two scores.

Reese set a new career-high for himself catching seven catches for 163 yards. His big play was a 68-yard catch in which he bobbled the ball two or three times before finally hauling it in for the score.

Griffin targeted Reese, junior receiver Terrance Williams and senior receiver Kendall Wright seven times each, finishing the game with a new career-high 470 yards.

The Bears led 42-25 after Ganaway’s second touchdown and looked to have the game in control. Missouri would score two more touchdowns in the closing minutes to bring it within three points, but Baylor recovered two onside kicks and Ganaway broke a 19-yard run to earn the last first down and seal the game.

Baylor’s defense came through when it mattered, forcing some big stops when the offense was not clicking, and forcing a fumble late in the third quarter that led to Ganaway’s first score.

“I think it was huge. I think tonight we won as a team,” Griffin said. “The defense came up big for us in spots where we weren’t scoring. It was 21-14 for a long time and we couldn’t score and they kept stopping them so that was big for our team.”

The first half did not look as promising for Baylor fans as the second.

Baylor had a chance to score on its second drive, but Griffin fumbled into the end zone for Missouri touchback.

“There’s only one to blame and that’s me,” Griffin said of the fumble.

The Tiger rushing game gashed the Baylor defense for 184 yards and both touchdowns in the first half, finishing with 253.