Football looks to take down TCU on Senior Day

Baylor and Oklahoma State line up before the snap on Nov. 3 at McLane Stadium. The Bears are one win away from bowl eligibility and face TCU at 11 a.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium. The Horned Frogs need to win both of their remaining games in order to make a bowl game. Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer

After a tough 28-14 loss at Iowa State, Baylor football returns home to face TCU for Senior Day at 11 a.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium.

Heading into their final home game, the Bears are one win away from bowl eligibility.

Baylor had over 500 yards against the Cyclones but could not find a way to put a complete drive together. Head coach Matt Rhule said despite the fact that Iowa State is a good team, the Bears hurt themselves by not being able to finish off drives with a score.

“We played a football game versus a very good team where we had more explosive plays and more yardage than them and we had a shutout in the fourth quarter,” Rhule said. “We did all the things right to win, but we beat ourself against Iowa State. It was a tough environment and a tough atmosphere versus a tough team. We are now looking ahead to a tremendous opportunity this week.”

Baylor led in passing yards, rushing yards and time of possession but were only able to score on two out of the seven times they made it to the red zone. Iowa State, on the other hand, was able to convert on all five of the times they made into the red zone. Sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer said the Bears will have to finish drives in order to beat the Horned Frogs this weekend.

“We just have to finish in the red zone on offense,” Brewer said. “Win the turnover battle. Coach talks about that a lot. In a game like this, a rivalry game, emotions will be high. Just stick to what you’ve done this far.”

Being at home gives them a little bit more of an advantage being in front of a friendly crowd. Rhule said with bowl eligibility looming, he is more focused on playing well on Saturday and having the seniors go out on a high note.

“I’m only worried about the seniors going out on Senior Day the right way. That’s always been a really big deal to me, that they walk off the field as winners,” Rhule said.

Rhule said he would love nothing more than to get to a bowl game for seniors like Ira Lews, Greg Roberts, Patrick Lawrence, Blake Blackmer, Josh Malin and Chris Platt.

The Horned Frogs are coming off a 47-10 loss to No. 9 West Virginia and have lost four out of their five past games. The offense only put up 222 yards in the last game and has had its struggles just like the Bears have. One player on the offensive side of the ball that Baylor will have to keep an eye out for is sophomore wide receiver Jalen Reagor. Through the 10 games he has played this season, he has 60 receptions for 884 yards to give him an average of 88.4 yards a game along with seven touchdowns. Rhule said Reagor is “a dominant receiver” and is “someone you have to account for.”

Another player Rhule is looking out for is sophomore quarterback Mike Collins, who has started the last three games for TCU. The past two games, he has attempted over 30 passes, completing at least 51 percent of them.

For the Baylor special teams, they failed to make as big an impact as they had in other games this season. Junior kicker Connor Martin missed two field goals in the second quarter of the game which would have sent Baylor into the half down 11 and with some momentum. Despite him missing the kicks, Rhule said he has complete faith in Martin and is willing to send him out on the field with the game on the line.

“I can tell when Connor’s confident. He goes out there like, ‘I’m going to kick this ball through.’ And I think we’ll get him there by Saturday,” Rhule said. “He’ll go out there on Saturday and with the game on the line, we’ll put him out there knowing he’s going to nail it through the uprights.”

Returning home after a physical loss where the team made several mistakes and a fight broke out resulting in players getting ejected is going to be a time for the Bears to regroup before facing one of their biggest rivals. As both teams are still in the hunt for bowl eligibility, senior wide receiver Chris Platt said they are expecting a hungry TCU team that is going to be ready to take the senior day win away from the Bears.

“I expect them to go out there and give it their all,” Platt said. “If they lose this game they won’t be bowl eligible, so I know that they are going to come out full force and give everything they have.”