With Gerry Bohanon out with a hamstring injury, Blake Shapen guided Baylor (10-2, 7-2) to a victory over Texas Tech (6-6, 3-6) 27-24. If Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma tonight (6:30 on ABC), Baylor will play Oklahoma State next weekend in the Big 12 title game.
This wasn’t easy. Texas Tech missed a 53 yard field goal as time expired to lose 27-24. Better to win close than lose close.
1) Shapen got it done- It’s obvious he’s talented. He opened the game with a 61 yard bomb to Trestan Ebner for a touchdown. He’s fairly mobile too. Throughout the game he hit receivers in tight windows, including Drew Estrada and Tyquan Thornton.
Shapen finished 20-of-34 with 254 yards and two touchdowns.
He’s still young though. He nearly threw an interception in the second half. With Thornton wide open in the end zone early in the fourth, he threw a poor ball. And either he’s misreading some options, or Baylor generally took the option out of his hands.
Bohanon is clearly the starter if healthy. He knows the offense better and provides a dimension that Shapen can’t.
On 3rd and 5, Shapen ran for the first and got crushed to make it fourth and short. Abram Smith ran for a first down. That kind of toughness was necessary to win this one.
Late in the game, Baylor gave him the option to keep running. He kept it and scattered for a first down with 2:52 left.
Shapen showed he could be the starter after Bohanon (Kyron Drones will be a force too). And more importantly, the backup iced the win in Manhattan and today. Now Baylor just needs a little help to play for a Big 12 championship.
2) The defense had a disappointing day- Baylor recovered two fumbles—great job by Raleigh Texada to blitz, sack, force a fumble and recover—other than that, yikes.
Texas Tech's last two drive, 7-plays for 150-yards and two long touchdowns that totaled 113-yards (38, 75) and Baylor on their heels again and just up 3. #SicEm— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) November 27, 2021
The Bears gave up over 100 rushing yards in the first half. Baylor missed tackles. It seemed out of position a lot too.
With a 27-17 lead, Baylor gave up a 75 yard touchdown on a screen with 6:50 left. As Travis noted:
That was basically a TD at the snap. Tech ran quads to the field with a solo TE left to the boundary, Baylor ran a CB blitz the boundary side which left a single safety to take on 2 blockers in the boundary screen.— Travis Roeder (@Travis_Roeder) November 27, 2021
On the final drive, Baylor seemed to forget it had to play defense on the second to last play. After a sack, Texas Tech gained enough yards to set up a 53 yard field goal to win.
The defense can’t play that poorly if the team makes the Big 12 title game. This was not good enough.
3) Stay aggressive, Dave Aranda- On 4th and 3, Aranda went for it, and Shapen hit RJ Sneed for a first down. The Bears got a touchdown on that drive.
With Drones having to take over for Shapen for a play, Aranda went for it on 4th and 1. Baylor got it.
With 1:15 left, Baylor went for it on 4th and 3 to end the game. Texas Tech stopped Baylor. Some will say, “Take the field goal to go up six.” But Baylor could have won the game on that play. The defense played poorly most of the day, so there’s no guarantee Baylor stops Tech from scoring a touchdown. And even after not getting it, Baylor won the game.
Sometimes the right decision doesn’t work. Baylor didn’t get the first. But by staying aggressive, Baylor is now one Oklahoma State win away from Dallas.