LAWRENCE, Kan. — Robert Griffin III threw three touchdown passes in a furious fourth-quarter comeback and Baylor escaped with a 31-30 victory Saturday when Kansas failed on a two-point conversion in overtime.
After Griffin threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Reece on Baylor’s first possession of overtime, Kansas (2-8, 0-7 Big 12) answered with Jordan Webb’s 25-yard scoring pass to Tim Biere on the very next play.
Lining up after a Baylor time out, the Jayhawks gambled on winning the game there, with Webb taking the snap and throwing to Biere, who was double-covered in the end zone. The ball fell to the turf and the Bears (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) had their first conference road win in more than a year.
After sleepwalking through the first three quarters, Griffin and his offense finally sprang to life in the fourth, knotting it 24-all with three long touchdown drives that took only 14 plays to cover 267 yards.
The Jayhawks had taken a 24-3 lead on Tony Pierson’s 34-yard touchdown run with 3:31 left in the third, seemingly setting up what would have been one of the year’s biggest upsets.
The Bears were three-touchdown favorites over a seemingly hapless Kansas team that had managed only one Big 12 victory in nearly two years under embattled coach Turner Gill and whose defense came in ranked last among 120 FBS schools.
While the Jayhawks had been giving up 541 yards a game, the Bears’ explosive offense, led by Griffin’s run-pass threat, was second in the country with 575.8 yards per game.
Capping an 89-yard drive in just five plays, Griffin went around left end and ran untouched 49 yards for Baylor’s first TD with 11:45 to go.
On their next possession, starting from his own 2, Griffin whipped the Bears 98 yards in just six plays, connecting with a wide-open Terrance Williams for a 36-yard scoring strike that made it 24-17 at the 7:58 mark.
At that point, the Bears had 187 yards in the fourth quarter after compiling only 190 in the first three periods.
Griffin completed the comeback with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Reece on Baylor’s next possession, going 80 yards in only three plays against the shell-shocked Jayhawk defense.
Griffin wound up with 312 yards passing and 103 running. Darian Miller had 147 yards rushing for Kansas.
A weird first half that included eight game-delaying reviews ended with Baylor being awarded an extra play when Kansas was flagged for a facemask infraction as time ran out.
The 15-yard penalty put the ball on the 20 and Aaron Jones, with no time showing on the clock, booted a 37-yard field goal that prevented the heavily favored Bears from getting shut out in the first half for the second time this season.
Both of Kansas’ first-half TDs came after turnovers were upheld on review.
In the first turnover, Steven Johnson was credited with a recovered fumble after Griffin attempted to pitch the ball and it was batted away by Keba Agostinho. Officials first ruled the ball went out of bounds before Johnson got control. But instead of punting, the Bears had to give up the ball on their own 49 and the Jayhawks covered the distance in nine plays.
Christian Matthews, whose holding call nullified a Kansas touchdown a few plays earlier, carried over from the 2 for a 10-0 lead about 3 minutes into the second quarter.
Late in the second quarter, James Sims made it 17-0 with a 2-yard touchdown run following another Baylor turnover. Griffin connected with Reece for 12 yards but Isiah Barfield’s tackle jarred the ball loose and Isaac Wright recovered on the Kansas 45.
After a replay confirmed the fumble recovery, the Jayhawks failed on a third-down pass but got the first down when Baylor was offsides.