By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
Baylor football rained on Texas Tech University’s parade this weekend.
Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock was at full capacity on Saturday for a multitude of reasons. It was a “blackout” nighttime contest that Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes was in attendance for. Mahomes was inducted into his alma mater’s Ring of Honor during halftime.
It was also the first time Red Raiders head coach Joey McGuire clashed head-to-head with Bears head coach Dave Aranda. McGuire was an associate head coach for the green and gold from 2017-2021 before taking over Tech’s program in November 2021.
All 60,454 seats were full of Red Raiders (4-4, 2-3 Big 12) fans on a night that seemed destined for them to win. But it didn’t take long for that to change, as the crowd thinned out a great deal by the start of the fourth quarter — even though the game was within striking distance.
“I remember seeing them just leaving early, even when they still had a chance,” junior linebacker Matt Jones said. “Seeing them leave early, I guess you could call them some fake fans. But, it was nice.”
The Bears (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) were not phased by the tortillas, as they flattened Tech 45-17 on Saturday. It was the first time Baylor had won in Lubbock since 1990.
Going into the week ahead of TTU, the Bears were expecting an environment like BYU or Iowa State University. Playing in those two atmospheres allowed Baylor to be road-tested ahead of matchups like this, but Jones said he didn’t really get all of the hype around the Tech fanbase after Saturday’s game.
“I thought BYU was more electric, more intensified,” Jones said. “I didn’t think the crowd really brought it like we were expecting. I think we had high expectations coming into the game with the crowd and how it could be a distraction. But, I don’t think it really distracted us one bit.”
After jumping out to a 24-3 lead early in the third quarter, the Bears had silenced the Red Raider faithful, as the ESPN2 broadcast said you could hear a pin drop in the stadium during that moment.
Head coach Dave Aranda said the reason the team was able to take the crowd out of the game so effectively is because the team was firing on all cylinders and limiting mistakes. Aranda said that is how you quiet a fanbase.
“I think when you execute, you silence the crowd,” Aranda said. “That’s really the only way the crowd gets silenced. You can wish that it would go away or you could try to talk louder or yell maybe, but the only way to silence the crowd is if you execute. So, it ain’t really about the crowd, it’s about what we can control and what we do. I think there were times tonight where we really focused on the focus, so it was good.”
Baylor will look to hush the University of Oklahoma crowd this weekend, as the Bears await a 2 p.m. kickoff with the Sooners (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) on Saturday on the ESPN+ telecast. In 2021, then No. 13 Baylor knocked off No. 8 OU 27-14 at McLane Stadium in Waco.
Sophomore quarterback Blake Shapen said it felt good for the offense to do so well in another road environment, this time at TTU. Shapen said the team will look to continue that in the coming weeks.
“Every road game is a challenge, just with communication and things like that,” Shapen said. “I thought they were pretty loud. And I thought we were able to execute with communication and being clear with what we’re supposed to do. We had a few hiccups and we were able to bounce back. That’s the biggest thing.”