Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baylor Bowl Bound!

Yesterday (and today for that matter) was an amazing day to be a Baylor fan, and for those who have been Baylor fans for quite some time, know what a rarity that is.

Baylor is now bowl eligible for the first time since 1995, and could go to a bowl for the first time since 1994.  In 1995 Baylor went 7-4 but was denied a bowl bid.  I somehow think that will not happen this year. 

Baylor won last night in a shootout between the resurgent Bears and the BCS #22 ranked Kansas State Wildcats 47-22.

What is the best storyline of this game? It could be the record breaking 683 yards of offense that Baylor racked up against a good K-State defense.  It could be the record setting performance by Griffin, 404 yards passing and four touchdowns.  It could be the record breaking 250 yards rushing on 26 attempts with 2 touchdowns by Jay Finley.  All of these are great, but they weren't the story of the game.

Neither is the fact that Baylor now has its coveted 6th win.  There are two storylines that, thought not as flashy, catch the heart of this game even more poignantly.  The first is the sort of mystical air about it.  The feeling surrounding the game was that something big was going to happen.  The weather cooperated to capture this feeling.  After four plays which found Baylor driving into K-State territory, a lightning strike in the area stopped play.  Fans were instructed to seek shelter under the stands, but few responded.  The wind was out of the south, the overcast skies were barely spitting a few drops of rain.  Lightning could not be seen or heard.  The minutes passed with little change. Finally, the stands started to empty as rain picked up ever so slightly and the lightning and thunder were coming within eye and earshot.  Brooke and I made it under the stands just in time to see the skies open and empty their contents on Floyd Casey Stadium.  The downpour was remarkable as fans stood pressed together under the stands. Yet, very few fans left the game during this 2 hour game delay.  When the rain stopped and the stands re-filled, the stadium had lost very few spectators (also a rarity for Baylor games).

Then the weather pulled another stunt.  The warm breeze coming from the south rapidly reversed, blowing a biting cold wind out of the north and bringing the dark clouds to hover over the stadium, turning mid afternoon into a dark, ominous night.  Yet, through all of this, the fans stayed.  Even at the end, the crowd was large and loud.  Baylor fans, and apparently the weather as well, knew something big was happening.

The second great story was our defense.  Sure, K-State put up plenty of yards and a lot of points.  But, we held Daniel Thomas to 113 yards rushing, 17 yards below his season average.  Also, in the second half our defense made some critical stops, forcing punts and intercepting the ball once in K-State territory.  Of the 21 points that K-State scored in the second half, only 7 came on a sustained drive.  One touchdown came on a 100 yard kickoff return, and another on a trick play pass from Daniel Thomas to a wide open receiver.  The most telling drive from a defensive standpoint was the one that counted.  K-State received the ball, down 12 points with over 2 minutes to go.  Baylor's defense allowed them to drive for a touchdown, but forced K-State to use almost all of their time.  Baylor limited K-State to plays in the middle of the field and made good tackles, forcing them to use all of their time-outs.  They scored to pull within 5, but with only 7 seconds on the clock.  Even had their onside kick been successful, they would have been hard pressed to get a winning score.  When it counted, Baylor's D saved the day.

This just in, Baylor has cracked the top 25: 25 in the AP poll and 24 in the USA Today Coaches' poll.  As a friend of mine texted me today "We live in a world where the Baylor Bears are in the Top 25 and the Texas Longhorns are not."  Hats off to Art Briles and your top 25 Baylor Bears.

1 comment:

  1. Thrilling. I was just disappointed that the game wasn't televised. I had to "watch" on the Game Tracker and listen to the radio. You could tell even over the radio that the crowd was loud. What an atmosphere!

    We may have to come up for the A&M Game.