Jordan Smith | Sports Writer
The Baylor Bears fell in the Texas Farm Insurance Bureau Shootout to the Texas Tech Red Raiders Friday, 35-54 in front of the lowest attendance recorded since 2011 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“You know, coaches are teachers,” said head coach Jim Grobe. “And when kids are not playing their best now, there is a trade off for ability. I mean, you got to have enough ability to make plays. And there are times out there where you just got to give Texas Tech’s kids credit. They just made plays. They played well and they beat us.”
The Baylor Bears started they game strong, getting on the board on their first drive after a 53-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and three from freshman quarterback Zach Smith to junior wide receiver KD Cannon with 12:43 left in the first quarter.
Cannon, with his ninth touchdown of the season, tied Tevin Reese with the Baylor 7th all time single season touchdowns list.
Smith ended the night with 377 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on 30-46 passing.
The first quarter would end with Texas Tech on top, 20-7 after the Red Raiders capitalized on some costly mistakes from the Bears including a fumble and Baylor only going 2-5 in third down situations in the first quarter.
“I knew we were going to have to go out there and score a lot of points because Texas Tech is a great team,” Smith said. “They’re going to score a lot of points. I knew we had to throw the ball around the yard. Just ended up missing a few that were pretty important. They executed.”
In the second quarter, Baylor once again started off fast and strong. However, the attempt to add to there score was halted after a 37-yard from junior place kicker Chris Callahan was kicked wide right. Callahan is now 9-14 on the season in field goals and is 4-8 on the season on field goals from the 30-39 yards range.
The Bears were able to get on the board against with 6:23 left in the second quarter as sophomore running back Terence Williams scored on a nine-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 14-34. However, the Red Raiders respond right back as they scored another touchdown to stop any momentum that Baylor had.
Baylor would score another touchdown with a 21-yard pass from Smith to Sophomore wide receiver Ishmael Zamora to make it 21-41 with 56 seconds remaining until the break. The Bears finished the half down, 21-41.
“The bottom line for us defensively is we played really hard,” Grobe said. “We just gave up too many big plays. I thought offensively we were just too sloppy. We just didn’t handle the ball very well. I think we had three fumbles in the game. Actually, it’s six fumbles but lost three of them, and they were big fumbles. I mean, they really hurt us.”
In the third quarter, the Bears continued to not gain any momentum as the gave up another passing touchdown from quarterback Pat Mahomes to make it 48-2. The Bears would respond back on the following drive with a two-yard touchdown by Williams, his second of the game.
Down 28-51 going into the fourth quarter the Bears continued to look for that extra spark to get back into the game, but struggled as Texas Tech went four for four in the red zone against the Bear’s defense.
“They just did a great job of just making plays in the red zone,” said Senior linebacker Aiavion Edwards. ” When we got there, we weren’t making the plays we needed. Those guys did a great job today of finding the end zone.”
A nine-yard pass from Smith’s to Cannon closed the gap to 35-51, but it was too little too late.
Later, the interception of Smith’s pass under pressure with 6:32 left in the game sealed the win for the Red Raiders, 54-35.
“We go out every week and we grind, and we end up with a loss, and it’s just real frustrating,” Smith said. “We just got to go out there and keep grinding and stick together and just go get a win next week.”
Baylor looks to end the season on a positive note as they travel to Morgantown, W. Va., as they take on the West Virginia Mountaineers to close out the season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.