By Tyler Alley
In the words of his teammates and his coach, the game is never over when junior quarterback Robert Griffin III has the ball in his hands. With 50 seconds left in the game, he once again willed his team to win, driving 80 yards for the victory.
“Robert Griffin is the best in the game,” senior running back Terrance Ganaway said. “When the ball’s in his hands, expect big things. And he did big things tonight. He works hard, he practices hard. He does everything he does in the game in practice.”
Having already had its share of big games this year, No. 22 Baylor may have just had the best one of them all, knocking off No. 5 Oklahoma 45-38, the first victory over Oklahoma in program history.
“This just doesn’t even seem real right now,” sophomore nickelback Ahmad Dixon said. “A couple of guys in the locker room were like, ‘man, did this really just happen’ because all we heard all week was ‘Baylor had never beat Oklahoma.’ There had never been a dog fight when Baylor played Oklahoma over all of the years. We just came out and made history. We just fought hard, stayed focused on the task that was at hand and executed every play that was called.”
The game came down to one spectacular play, with Griffin heaving it off his back foot 34 yards to junior receiver Terrance Williams, who dropped a pass early but caught the most important one to win the game.
“When I looked down the field, I saw him one on one, and all this is happening in milliseconds,” Griffin said. “I thought well, I’ll give him a shot and he made a great catch. God works in mysterious ways.”
Statistics will not show it, as the Sooners gained 605 yards and put up 38 points, but there was something different about the Baylor defense tonight. Senior inside linebacker Elliot Coffey said more blitzes were called than usual to shake Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones up. The defense also made key turnovers, with an interception from sophomore cornerback K.J. Morton and a fumble recovery on two potential Sooner scoring drives.
“The offense has piggy backed us all season and it was time for us to return the favor,” Coffey said.
The Baylor offense showed the viewers of ABC just how much quick-strike ability and explosiveness it has. Senior inside receiver Kendall Wright caught a quick slant in the second quarter then burst down the field for a 56-yard gain. Ganaway followed the play with two big runs, including a 15-yard touchdown. The drive was Baylor’s 15th scoring drive of the season that took less than 60 seconds.
Its 16th came on their next drive, when Griffin found sophomore receiver Tevin Reese on a 69-yard pass to put Baylor up 17-10 at the half.
The Bears needed a big play to regain the momentum after Oklahoma took the lead early in the second half, and a big play they got. Griffin tried to get a short pass over the middle to Reese, but the ball bounced off his hands and his helmet and launched into the air. In what may be the highlight of the night, second only to the win itself, Wright caught the ball off the bounce and ran it in for an 87-yard game-tying touchdown, sending Griffin to one knee in disbelief and prayer.
“Actually, we drew that up,” Griffin said laughing. “We were going to break Tevin across the middle, tip it to Kendall and run it for 87 yards. Usually I say that tipped balls get picked, but we can change that for today that tipped balls are 87-yard touchdowns. I’m proud of that.”
Wright and Griffin each set single-season records in their respective yard categories. Wright finished the day with eight catches for 208 yards and the touchdown.
Griffin had 479 passing yards, four touchdowns and 72 yards rushing. When asked afterward if he thinks he is back in the Heisman race, Griffin smiled and declined comment.
“It’s just another day at the office for Robert,” head coach Art Briles said. “When the ball’s in his hand, he’s going to make good things happen. Very intelligent, very passionate, very gifted.”
Ganaway said he hoped the win would get Baylor’s name in the mix of the Big 12.
“I’m tired of hearing about the Big 12 being about someone else besides Baylor,” Ganaway said. “I wish it was about Baylor and hopefully we’re changing that around right now.”