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Baylor v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

They’re here! The team we’ve hoped to see for 8 weeks showed up in Lubbock Saturday night, as the Bears pummeled Texas Tech 45-17, Baylor’s first victory in Lubbock since 1990. This was by far the best performance from the Bears this season, dominating the game in almost every facet.

The group that deserves the most praise is the defense. It was a performance that could rival any that we saw from last season’s historic group, making big plays that consistently broke the rhythm of the Red Raider offense. Baylor intercepted Tech QBs FIVE total times. Behren Morton, who took the vast majority of snaps, threw three picks, while Donovan Smith and Tyler Shough each threw one. Tech also allowed 6 sacks, and their quarterbacks felt under pressure the entire game. Morton only managed 152 yards on 11/33 passing. With the exception of a short period in the 3rd quarter when the Red Raiders scored 14 unanswered points, the offense never got into any kind of rhythm, and managed only 19 minutes and 43 seconds of possession on the game.

On the other side, Baylor’s offense looked like a group that understood who they were, and what they wanted to do. The focus was on a strong running game, specifically a short pitch game to Richard Reese which beat the Tech defense for 4 quarters. The Baylor offense held the ball for over 40 minutes, gained 442 yards, ran 89 plays, and only turned the ball over once. Blake Shapen didn’t have a statistical gem, but he did exactly what was needed from him in this game. He completed 19/30 passes for 211 yards and touchdown while adding 30 rushing yards on 10 attempts. He managed the game and allowed the Baylor running backs to control it. Richard Reese led the charge once again, becoming one of the better offensive freshman in Baylor’s history. He ran for 148 yards and 3 TDs, while also grabbing 3 receptions. Qualan Jones also added a touchdown and 38 yards. Gavin Holmes continued his solid year, leading all receivers with 5 catches and 77 yards.

This was a huge game for Baylor, as both teams were 2-2 in conference. Winning keeps the Bears in the hunt to play in Arlington at the end of the year, and the loss for Texas Tech all but takes them out of contention. After losing to West Virginia, many Baylor fans were, rightfully, questioning the trajectory of this team. Baylor just went into one of the toughest environments in the conference, at night, in a blackout, in a sellout, against a former Baylor coach, while they were honoring they’re favorite player, and dominated their opponent by 38 points. When they play like they did in Lubbock, they can compete with, and beat, any team in the country. A tough test against an Oklahoma team trying to right the ship is up next, and a gauntlet against the top half of the conference follows, but Baylor is in the drivers seat if they can continue to play the football we are capable of. Oh, and don’t forget to remind your Tech friends that they haven’t won in Waco since 2007.