By Michael Haag | Sports Editor, Claire-Marie Scott | LTVN Sports Reporter
Baylor football must have run out of pixie dust.
A week after a 28-point comeback win at UCF, the Bears struggled out of the gate, falling 39-14 to Texas Tech Saturday night at McLane Stadium.
Baylor only mustered three points in the first half and totaled 17 rushing yards for the game, the lowest output since former quarterback Bryce Petty was sacked six times (-20 team rushing yards) in the 2015 Cotton Bowl against Michigan State.
LTVN’s Claire-Marie Scott brings you to the sidelines for Baylor’s loss against Texas Tech.
The Bears (2-4, 1-2 Big 12) have now lost four of their five home games this season and are on a six-game home losing streak to FBS opponents. Their last win over an FBS program came with a 35-23 victory over Kansas on Oct. 22, 2023.
“I really felt coming off last week and the week we had of practice was very energetic and positive and felt a swagger on offense, and it was just not seen in this outcome, so I’m just very disappointed,” head coach Dave Aranda said. “I’m still hopeful and still believe in the team, and that was the message that we just had.”
The Red Raiders (3-3, 2-1 Big 12), led by former Baylor assistant coach Joey McGuire, avenged their 45-17 loss to the Bears in Lubbock last year. McGuire said there were “a lot of emotions” in his first trip back to Waco since being on staff from 2017-2021 but that he was “so fired up for our team.”
“I was here for five years,” McGuire said. “I was part of 2019 playing for the conference championship, and [in] 2021, I left, but they won the conference championship. I think if it was last year at Baylor, it would have been even more emotional because of the number of guys that were on the team. There were still a lot of kids that I absolutely love that I helped with recruiting, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the conference win.”
Texas Tech backup sophomore quarterback Behren Morton threw for three TDs and added one more on the ground, totaling 180 passing yards on 19 of 26 efficiency. Red Raider senior running back Tahj Brooks had his way on the ground, as he recorded his fourth-consecutive 100-yard rushing game. Brooks finished with 170 rushing yards on 31 attempts and one TD.
Baylor has allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of its three Big 12 games this season.
The Bears were also sacked six times, and the Red Raiders recorded 11 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Baylor averaged 0.6 yards per carry and went four for 15 on third downs and one for six on fourth downs. Defensively, the green and gold didn’t force a negative play until Morton was sacked for an 11-yard loss with just under five minutes to play in the contest.
In three trips to the red zone, the Bears came away with just two field goals. Baylor’s only TD came early in the fourth quarter on a 71-yard pass from redshirt junior quarterback Blake Shapen to junior wide receiver Monaray Baldwin.
“People are sitting around for their buddy to make the play,” Baldwin said of the red zone woes. “You never know when your opportunity is going to come. … I feel like people are here for the ride. That’s not what we’re here for. People have to step up. People have to be leaders and take accountability. There’s just some growing up we need to do.”
Shapen finished with 324 passing yards and one passing TD on 58% completion. Baldwin ended with 126 receiving yards and one receiving TD on five grabs. Baldwin notched his second-straight game with 100+ receiving yards, marking the fourth of his career.
Texas Tech jumped out to a 14-3 lead at halftime with redshirt sophomore kicker Isaiah Hankins’ 33-yard field goal serving as Baylor’s only points. The Bears have been outscored 111-32 in the first half of their five games against FBS opponents. Four of those five games have come at home.
Having energy at the start of contests has been an issue for Baylor this season, and sophomore safety Devyn Bobby said he isn’t sure why the team’s strong practices haven’t translated to game days.
“We had great energy. We had a great week of practice. And when we got out there, it was kind of a slow start,” Bobby said. “I feel like we kind of picked it up throughout the game, but to answer your question, I honestly don’t know why we had a slow start coming off a great week of practice.”
Morton tossed his third TD of the game in the third quarter to give Texas Tech a 24-3 lead going into the fourth. Shapen’s strike to Baldwin to start the final quarter made it 24-11 after Shapen found junior wide receiver Ketron Jackson Jr. for a two-point conversion.
The Red Raiders outscored the Bears 10-3 the rest of the way and left McLane Stadium with the 39-14 victory.
Baylor now enters its bye week before it plays at Cincinnati on Oct. 21. Aranda said the team needs to regroup and hash out the issues it’s faced through six weeks now.
“With the bye coming up after this, there will be a lot of opportunity to kind of reflect and see and heal and improve,” Aranda said. “So, we’re certainly aiming to do that. There is a lot of improving to do.”