The Baylor football team finally recorded a win in conference play with a 41-14 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks.
“This is the first time I’ve felt good in a month,” head coach Art Briles said. “I wish I was being funny.”
It was a coming out party for sophomore running back Lache Seastrunk had 105 yards on the ground and 95 yards through the air.
Senior quarterback Nick Florence finished the game 26-of-42 for 367 yards and three touchdowns.
“It feels good,” Florence said. “It feels like the monkey is off our back. We’ve still got a long ways to go. We’ve still got to get two more wins, and we have a tough schedule ahead of us, but you get one and that gets the ball rolling. You never know what can happen.”
His top threat, senior wide receiver Terrance Williams had 11 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Williams set a school record with his 4th double-digit receptions game of the season.
The Bears would record 666 total offensive yards, 299 on the ground and 367 in the air.
Kansas would rack up 342.
The Baylor magic number for the ballgame was two: the number of turnovers forced.
The game began with Florence running the ball up the middle 20 yards to set up an eventual 11-yard touchdown reception by Williams.
The 121st ranked Jayhawk offense would then take the field against the 124th ranked Baylor defense.
After a bad snap and a fumble almost recovered by the Bears, Kansas ended up punting on fourth and long its first possession.
The Baylor offense would double its score, sending Seastrunk up the seam for a 68-yard touchdown reception.
Back on defense, the Bears forced an incomplete pass on third-and-seven, once again forcing another Kansas punt.
Baylor, however, would be held and forced to punt its next offensive drive, a stop the Jayhawk offense would capitalize on with a 59-yard touchdown run by junior halfback James Sims.
The Bears would settle for a field goal on their next drive, a 35-yarder by junior kicker Aaron Jones, making the score 17-7 in favor of Baylor.
Kansas began the second quarter on the Baylor 13. After an eight-yard touchdown pass was called back for offensive pass interference, two more downs forced a field goal situation for the Jayhawks.
Kansas tried a fake kick but senior cornerback Chance Casey made the tackle to keep the score 17-7.
Incomplete passes would stop Baylor’s next drive, and Kansas would end up punting due to a third-down pass break-up by junior cornerback Joe Williams.
Facing fourth-and-one and converting on both previous fourth downs, the Bears decided to punt away.
The Jayhawks scored on the next drive off a 22-yard run up the middle by freshman quarterback Michael Cummings, making the score 17-14.
After a drive lasting 4:44 and a defensive pass interference bringing a fresh set of downs from the Kansas two-yard line, Baylor can’t find the end zone for a touchdown, so it settles for a 22-yard field goal by Jones, increasing the Baylor lead to 20-14.
Kansas junior halfback Taylor Cox returned the kickoff 42 yards, but the Jayhawks couldn’t convert on third down, punting the ball to Baylor with 30 seconds to play in the half.
Florence would take a knee to end the first half with Baylor up by six.
After a 45-minute delay due to inclement weather, play resumed for the start of the second half.
The Baylor defense came out and held the Jayhawks on fourth-and-two.
A 43-yard pass to Williams would set up a one-yard touchdown on the ground by sophomore quarterback Bryce Petty, the back-up quarterback with two inches and 20 pounds on Florence.
On Kansas’ next drive, Cummings launched a pass from the Kansas 48-yard line to be bobbled by his receiver and intercepted by Williams at the Baylor 5-yard line.
Penalties would get the better of the Bears’ offense on their next drive, forcing a punt.
After Williams was called out for pass interference on an incomplete pass, pressure by junior right end Chris McAllister helped junior left end Terrance Lloyd sacked Cummings for a loss of 10 yards.
Two plays later, sophomore nickelback Ahmad Dixon jumped up and intercepted Cummings’ pass, setting the Baylor offense up at the Kansas 40-yard line.
“Speaking from a defensive point, that’s what I was talking about when we were going through our drought, believing in Coach Bennett,” Dixon said. “Believing in the plays he was calling and his scheme that he has. We believed in it, and it helped us get turnovers, get stops and help our offense out. And that’s the key factor: help our offense out and we’ll win games.”
Baylor’s offensive line made room for Seastrunk to pick up 26 yards, Martin to pick up seven and Florence to run it another seven for the Baylor touchdown, making the score 34-14.
Kansas would once again be forced to punt by Baylor’s defense, and the third quarter would end with the Bears leading the Jayhawks 34-14.
Martin started the fourth quarter with a 43-yard run, putting the Bears at the Kansas 29-yard line, but Jones would miss a 45-yard field goal.
After losing 15 yards on a punt return, a 40-yard connection between Florence and junior inside receiver Tevin Reese would make the score 41-14.
As the next kickoff was about to begin, Jump Around played over the loud speaker, and the team was bouncing all over the sidelines.
The Jayhawks never scored in the second half of the ball game, a total team effort.
“On behalf of the team and our coaching staff, just a tremendous relief quite honestly,” Briles said. “We’ve kind of felt like we’ve been carrying the burden of the last three or four weeks, and it’s a relief to get out there and really play well as a football team defensively and offensively. Special teams were good when we needed them to be.”