Baylor suffered its first loss at home since 2012 when the then-ranked No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners stifled the No. 1 offense in the nation on Saturday.
The Bears were held to just 416 yards of total offense in the 44-34 defeat.
Head coach Art Briles attributed the disappointing effort to the inability of the offense and defense to get on the same page.
“We didn’t complement each other’s football team very well tonight,” Briles said. “The defense would get stops and the offense wouldn’t do anything with the ball and sometimes a bit of vice versa.”
That ineffectiveness was most evident by the Bears’ effort in crunch time.
Baylor posted one of its worst offensive quarters of the season by accumulating 33 total yards of offense in the fourth quarter.
Another surprise was the lack of typical production from several staple points of the most explosive offense in the nation.
The Bears were unable to muster a ground attack when the game was on the line.
The meager 3.6 yards per carry (44 rushes for 159 yards) left Baylor one dimensional and the Sooners took full advantage.
“We had a little success early and really into our second drive we ran the ball [well] and then turned it over,” Briles said. “We’ve done pretty well running the football this year. You’d like to think that you can continue to do that, but we weren’t very good tonight overall. That certainly hurt us.”
While the Bears remained committed to the rushing attack, it offered no help to the struggling offense. The problems in the running game eventually carried over into other areas offensively for Baylor.
Perhaps the most shocking letdown for the Bears was the night that junior wide receiver Corey Coleman had. The All-American pass catcher was limited to three receptions for 51 yards and his first game without a touchdown this season.
Briles said Oklahoma did well against the Heisman hopeful.
“Oklahoma did a really good job, and we didn’t do a good job of taking advantage of the other things we had,” Briles said. “By us not being able to run the ball, it allowed them to do some things on the back end that limited everything. That’s why you keep trying to run, because if you run, then you can define the back end a little better.”
Coleman admitted that Oklahoma tried every way to limit his effectiveness in the game. He said the Sooners used bracket coverage, double teams and even the occasional triple teams to force the ball to go somewhere else.
Coleman was shut out and failed to make a catch on his lone target from the 10-minute mark in the third quarter until the end of the game.
Even when Baylor became desperate and in need of quick scores to draw closer to the Sooners, Coleman could not get free.
True freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham said Oklahoma did a good job mixing up coverages and made it difficult to read.
Although Coleman appeared covered for most of the night, Stidham said he needed to trust his receiver more to make a play.
The game brought about maturation in his rookie season, he said.
“I think I learned a lot,” 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.”
Although Baylor’s national title hopes may be over with the loss to Oklahoma, the team is still eyeing a third-consecutive Big 12 title.
“We are still in it,” Stidham said. “We aren’t going to let this loss define our season. We are going to come back tomorrow, look at the tape, go to the drawing board and prepare for Oklahoma State and see what we can do in Stillwater.”