By Cole Tompkins | Multimedia Editor
No. 18 Baylor football took on Texas Tech in a double overtime thriller Saturday night in McLane Stadium for a 33-30 homecoming victory.
Defense was the name of the game for the first half of Saturday night’s matchup with just nine points up on the board, all of which were scored on field goals. Going into the second half, both teams shifted gears and started stringing together scoring drives left and right. The stadium was standing room only, and the stage was set for a thrill ride of a game.
The Bears started the night off with a deep kickoff to the south endzone. Texas Tech defensive back Dadrion Taylor returned the ball to the 13-yard line, where Baylor sophomore running back Abram Smith forced a fumble which was recovered by Taylor on the Tech 14-yard line. Both offenses were held to a total of 299 yards for the first half.
Coming into the game, the Red Raiders had only allowed four sacks on the season. Baylor took down Tech junior quarterback Jett Duffey five times Saturday, bringing that total up to nine.
Senior linebacker Clay Johnston had 10 tackles and an interception agisnt the Red Raiders. Johnston suffered a season-ending knee injury during his interception play in the fourth quarter. The exact nature of the injury is unknown at time of press.
The Second Half
The second half of Saturday’s matchup was an entirely different story. Both defenses were still on full display with the game remaining fairly low scoring ,but the offenses regrouped during halftime and returned ready to play. The Bears and the Red Raiders put up 949 yards of total offense after intermission. Add onto that the two overtime periods, and the total yardage jumps up to 1,035 yards.
Charlie Brewer, Baylor’s junior quarterback, walked into Saturday’s game with 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions on the season. He exited with 11 touchdown passes and three interceptions. However, Brewer rushed in three touchdowns against the Raiders, setting a career-best. The first two of Brewer’s interceptions occurred in the first half, one of which resulted in a field goal. The other was counteracted with a Baylor interception by senior linebacker Jordan Williams. The third interception came early in the fourth quarter and was again counteracted by a Baylor interception, sparked by Williams on a pass breakup and snagged out of the air by Johnston.
Brewer was well aware of what happened during the game and the position he put his team in.
“Our defense was playing really good. You know, I put us in a hole. I can’t turn the ball over like that. But we found a way, learned from it, have it corrected in practice and it won’t happen again,” Brewer said.
Heroes Play Special
Redshirt freshman John Mayers has twice now had the fate of the Bears fall onto his shoulders, and twice, he has pulled through. He made it happen first against Iowa State and then against Tech.
In the fourth quarter with 0:03 left on the clock, Mayers lined up for an awkwardly short 19-yard field goal. In an attempt to back it up for a cleaner shot at the uprights, Baylor let the 25-second play clock run out. Tech declined the penalty, and it became clear that Mayers was going to have to drive in the short kick to save the Bears and bring the score to an even 20-20.
Mayers made the field goal and sent the game into overtime. For his performance on Saturday, the Flower Mound native was awarded the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season.
McLane Stadium has a capacity of 45,140. Saturday night there were 47,264 fans in attendance. It was the sixth-largest crowd in McLane Stadium and the 19th-largest in Baylor history.
Of the 47,264 in attendance, 10,550 were students — which is the largest number of students in attendance for a single game in Baylor’s 121 years of collegiate football.
Texas Tech junior defensive lineman Eli Howard appreciated the energy of the crowd at McLane during the Red Raiders’ first trip to the stadium.
“I was impressed. I really liked it. They brought the juice,” Howard said. “I mean, it’s probably more impactful for an offensive player like SaRoderick [Thompson], but I mean, defense, you know, we feed off that and it was really fun. They made it a really fun game so I really appreciate the fan base and you know they obviously have a lot of support here in Waco.”
Aside from the sheer number of people, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule was impressed with the entire atmosphere that was created Saturday night.
“I made the decision to either play into the scoreboard where the speakers are or play into the band and the bowl. I played into the band and the bowl to start the first overtime, which means I trusted the fans. The fans were loud. They were there. We had just scored there. I thought the fans were awesome,” Rhule said. “I thought the ‘Jump Around’ at the end, I give credit where credit is due, that’s a Wisconsin thing, that was awesome, too. That was pretty cool. Our team was playing while the fans jumped around. I thought it was a great, great, great crowd. That’s what it should be. It was entertaining, I’m assuming […] I mean, it was a lot of theater right there, a lot of drama.”