By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter
When your back is against the goal line, you have nothing to lose. At least that’s what junior quarterback Charlie Brewer thought when he decided that it was time to lead his fifth-career fourth quarter comeback in the Bears’ 33-30 thrilling double-overtime win against Texas Tech Saturday.
“It was going to give me a heart attack, but you find a way to win,” Brewer said. “I just feel like that’s when the quarterback has to be at his best, when the game is on the line.”
Down by three with 1:37 left in regulation, the Bears were plagued with penalties, a sack and the challenge of marching 99 yards. Facing a 3rd and 18, 47,264 homecoming game fans at McLane Stadium were deafening when Brewer began orchestrating a four-play game-tying drive.
The final minute was a series of incredible plays. It began with a catch straight up the middle for 20 yards from sophomore running back Trestan Ebner to give the Bears a first down and breathing room from their own end zone. Seconds later, senior wide receiver Denzel Mims hauled in a toe-tapping 19-yard pass on the left sideline.
Two more completions to Ebner and wide receiver Tyquan Thornrton picked up 43 more yards to get the Bears inside the Raiders red zone.
With legs of his own, Brewer ran up the gut for 10 yards inside Tech’s five with 13 seconds left before the drive stalled, and the Bears failed to connect on a touchdown.
Now with three seconds remaining in regulation and inside the five, Rhule had a decision to make.
“Hasty was sitting there screaming at me to go for it at the end of the game. Everyone has suggestions in those moments,” head coach Matt Rhule said. “What about the field? What about the fake field goal? I almost ran that. I’m going to trust our team, kick a field goal, let them play overtime, keep playing.
Redshirt freshman kicker John Mayers executed a 19-yard field goal to tie the game at 20-20 and sent the two teams into the first-ever overtime game at McLane Stadium.
That finishing drive was nothing short of a team effort..
“[It] doesn’t go through just one guy. A lot of guys make their one or two plays to help us win,” Rhule said. “Only in there for two plays […] Ebner went out there and did it, made the play we needed.”
It was a back-and-forth battle in overtime. Mims’ hauled in a 32-yard pass to set up Brewer’s quarterback sneak touchdown on the first extra possession. That gave the Bears a 27-20 lead, but Tech tied it on a short touchdown pass from Jett Duffey to T.J. Vasher.
In the second overtime, Baylor’s defense stiffened. With the help of a Bravvion Roy sack, the Bears held their opponents to a field goal for a 30-27 lead.
That’s when senior linebacker Jordan Williams knew it was over.
“I knew we were going to do something with it. We can’t start at the 25 and not, not put it in the end zone,” Williams said. “We preach that if we go to the forefoot, we live for God. We play 60 minutes. We never let off the brake. We never try to get off the gas. We try to keep going, so take it to the fourth quarter, that’s what we’re building and that’s what we’re built for.”
Junior running back JaMycal Hasty was on the receiving end of an 18-yard catch and run. On the next play he weaved his way into the end zone from 5 yards out to put the Bears on top and secure the win 33-30.
Hasty credited the win to the Bears’ representing a “true team.”
“When someone’s not doing that good, you just got to pick them up,” the running back said. “Keep moving forward. […] Just keep playing.”
The Longview native was referring to the beginning struggles of the matchup, where neither offense was able to gain momentum. Only able to capitalize on field goals and struggling with turnovers in the first half, Baylor wasn’t able to reach 100 yards until the final eight seconds before intermission. Texas Tech led at the break 6-3.
Additionally, Brewer threw his first interception of the year, snapping an 11 touchdown streak without a pick.
But, when the two teams resumed play after halftime, it was evident changes were made as three touchdowns were scored in the first seven minutes of the third quarter. Two were on Brewer runs as he reached the end zone a career high three times.
But the Raiders got a pair of scores from running back SaRodorick Thompson, who piled up 153 yards rushing, his best ever.
As momentum began to grow on both sides, Rhule said the game was a story of “two teams out there spilling their guts.”
New Raiders head coach Matt Wells agreed, saying his team “spilled their heart and their guts out on that field. It was a tremendous effort by both teams.”
The No. 22 ranked Bears advance to 6-0 on the year and 3-0 in conference play. They now have won eight straight games dating back to last season, tying the fifth-longest winning streak in program history. With the victory Baylor is now bowl eligible for the ninth time in 10 seasons. The Raiders drop to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play.
Rhule’s team travels to Boone Pickens Stadium to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys at 3 p.m. next Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.