Baylor’s hopes and dreams of a national title came to a screeching halt tonight as the Oklahoma Sooners overpowered the Bears 44-34, snapping a 20-game home winning streak.
Saturday’s loss was the first defeat suffered at McLane Stadium by Baylor.
“[This loss is disappointing] for us and the fans but it’s just one game and it doesn’t define our season,” senior wide receiver Jay Lee said. “We have to move forward, knowing that we have three games left to ultimately get to our goal and become co-champions [in the Big 12].”
While Baylor’s defense came up with several crucial stops and forced turnovers, it was the offense that failed to find a consistent flow and rhythm for most of the night. Head coach Art Briles said the team looked out of synch and wasn’t able to gain momentum.
“We’ve been pretty good running the football this year, so you like to think that you can continue to do that,” Briles said. “But we weren’t very good tonight and that certainly hurt us, because it helps compliment the pass. By not being able to run the ball, it allowed [Oklahoma] to do some things on the back end to stop everything.”
The Bears ran the ball 44 times for a below average 159 yards (3.6 yards per carry). It was Baylor’s lowest yards per carry this season.
The lack of a run threat placed more pressure on the passing game to succeed.
Pressure and nerves made true freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham appear uncomfortable in the pocket all game long. The Stephenville native was sacked on three occasions in the game and was hit countless other times.
He managed to complete 16 of 27 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
“I think I learned a lot [from this game],” Stidham said. “Especially for me, I had lots of growing up to do and getting the experience down was important. I’ll continue to take it day-by-day and week-by-week.”
The sub-par effort offensively was also noticed by junior receiver Corey Coleman’s inability to make an impact on the game. The Heisman candidate was limited to three catches for 51 yards and failed to make a big statement on a national stage.
“Oklahoma doubled [Coleman] a bunch. They really did a good job with him and we didn’t do a good job with the things that we had,” Briles said.
This was the first time that Coleman was held without a touchdown catch in a game this season.
“I didn’t do a good job of throwing it up and letting [Coleman] make a play and it’s something that I learned [I need to do] from this game,” Stidham said.
For an offense averaging over 650 yards per game, the Bears struggled to compile 416 yards (159 rushing, 257 passing).
Despite the disappointing performance, Stidham said the loss for Baylor doesn’t define their season and the Bears remain optimistic.
“We’re going to come back tomorrow and look at the tape, go back to the drawing board, go up to Oklahoma State and see what we can do,” Stidham said.