By Tyler Alley
Depending on your point of view, this was either a great Baylor football game to not have on television, or a game many fans wished they could have watched all the way through.
No. 22 Baylor (6-3, 3-3) went into the fourth quarter Saturday against Kansas (2-8, 0-7) down 24-3. The situation made Baylor’s hopes for becoming bowl-eligible look bleak. Head coach Art Briles said he does not know what caused the slow start.
“If I knew, it wouldn’t happen again,” Briles said. “A lot of times it gets worse before it gets good and that is the way it happened the other day. What you can’t do is fold up your helmet, put it in your back pocket and leave. If they put 60 minutes on the clock, we are going to play 60 minutes and we are going to believe we are going to win every one of them.”
And believe they did. Baylor scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it into overtime. Junior quarterback Robert Griffin III accounted for all three of Baylor’s fourth-quarter touchdowns, with a 49-yard rushing touchdown followed by two passing scores, one to junior receiver Terrance Williams and the other to sophomore receiver Tevin Reese.
After the Bears took the first possession in overtime and scored a touchdown with an extra point, Kansas had their turn in overtime. The Jayhawks scored a touchdown on the first play then attempted a 2-point conversion to win the game.
Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb dropped back and lobbed a pass to tight end Tim Biere in the end zone. Sophomore cornerback Joe Williams knocked it down to clinch the game for the Bears.
“We were expecting the statue of liberty play that they ran against Iowa State,” junior nickelback Ahmad Dixon said. “And then they come out with a passing play that they hadn’t ran the whole game. Joe does a phenomenal job of judging the ball, jumping up there, tipping the ball. It was just a dream come true when we saw the ball falling down, hitting the ground.”
The celebration broke loose at that point, with players piling on the field, cheering ‘bowl game!’ and going crazy in the locker room. Dixon, Williams and senior linebacker Elliot Coffey all said the emotions ran high after the win.
“That’s probably one of the top moments of my life,” Coffey said. “There was so much excitement, because you know how much work we put into the game, and then it was just going wrong, going wrong, going wrong. And then when the tide turned, it finally started going in our favor. When [Joe] made that play, it was set in stone, we’re going bowling again.”
Coffey was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Kansas on Saturday. Coffey had 10 tackles and two interceptions, one that stopped a potential game-winning drive for the Jayhawks.
“I am very proud of Elliot for a variety of reasons, being a great leader, a great teammate, being a great spokesperson for our football program and our university,” Briles said. “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. He has got a great Mom and Dad who have certainly raised him in a positive way to where he is more concerned with others than himself. He really made some good plays in the game and almost had just a huge one, but he had a great afternoon and it couldn’t happen to a greater guy.”
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Baylor returns to Floyd Casey Stadium to face No. 5 Oklahoma.