By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
Baylor football leads Oklahoma State 14-10 at halftime at McLane Stadium.
After winning the coin toss, the Cowboys elected to kick off, giving the Baylor offense the first opportunity to score in the game. Senior quarterback Jalan McClendon came out to lead the Bears on the first drive, starting from their own 25-yard line. The Bears marched down the field, thanks to a couple quick passes from McClendon and three rushes for 21 yards from junior running back JaMycal Hasty. The Bears got all the way to the Oklahoma State six-yard line when sophomore cornerback Rodarius Williams intercepted a pass from McClendon in the back of the end zone to take over at the 20-yard line.
The defense for the Bears set the tone early on the first play of the drive with senior nose tackle Ira Lewis sacking senior quarterback Taylor Cornelius. After getting a first down followed by a false start, junior running back Justice Hill ran for a 31-yard gain, taking the Cowboy offense down to the Baylor 43-yard line. Cornelius finished the drive off himself, rushing straight up the gut for a six-yard touchdown and after junior kicker Matt Ammendola converted the extra point, the Cowboys had an early lead of 7-0 with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter.
McClendon came back out to lead the Bears looking to cut into the Oklahoma State lead. Baylor’s offense once again marched down the field and made it to the nine-yard line after a pass interference and facemask penalty from the Cowboy defense. After three plays for only a gain of one yard, junior kicker Connor Martin attempted a 26-yard field goal but missed the attempt wide right.
With the turnover, Oklahoma State started from its own 20. The Baylor defense held its ground to stop the Cowboys with a sack from junior defensive tackle Bravvion Roy and a stop on third down to force a punt.
McClendon remained at quarterback for the Bears starting from their own nine-yard line and got two plays off for a gain of five yards before the clock ran out to end the first quarter. As the second quarter picked up, the Cowboys picked up their third stop of the day, keeping the Bears off the score board by forcing a punt.
The Cowboys took over at their own 18-yard line and on the first play, senior safety Verkedric Vaughns left the game after a hard hit to his head on a block. The Baylor sideline received a penalty for arguing the ruling that there was no penalty committed, setting up the Cowboys at the 49-yard line. The Bears forced the Oklahoma State special teams to come out and attempt a 47-yard field goal that he missed just short and left of the uprights.
Baylor took over and with a six play, 69-yard drive, McClendon ended it with a one-yard rushing touchdown followed by a converted extra point from Martin. The Bears tied up the game with 8:17 left in the half.
Oklahoma State started its drive from the 25-yard line and Cornelius came out slinging the ball completing three of his five passes for 39 yards and with a few rushes split between Hill and freshman running back Chuba Hubbard the Cowboys managed to get down to the two-yard line before being stopped. Ammendola came onto the field and knocked through the first field goal of the game, giving Oklahoma State a 10-7 lead with 4:42 remaining.
Baylor’s offense came out onto the field and had failed to get anything going due to pressure from the Cowboy defense, forcing the first three-and-out of the game between the teams.
The Bears defense responded with its own pressure, forcing the first three-and out for the Cowboys. Freshman safety Christian Morgan refused to let the Cowboys get the punt off, blocking the punt for his second this season of which sophomore running back Trestan Ebner scooped up to run back for the touchdown. Baylor took its first lead of the game 14-10 with 2:24 left in the half.
The Cowboys would have the ball to close out the half and after a strong start from Cornelius completing his first three passing attempts, failed to complete another one on the drive bringing out Ammendola for a 45-yard attempt at his second field goal in the game, but hooked the kick wide left. The teams closed out the half with the four-point lead over the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State led in total yards with 245 yards split between 139 passing and 106 rushing. Baylor had 172 with 89 passing and 83 rushing. Neither quarterback had a touchdown through the air in the first half, but both had a rushing touchdown for their respective teams.
The Cowboys will receive the second half kickoff.