Each week, we’ll grade Baylor’s position groups from the prior game. Here’s how each group performed in Baylor’s 36-35 comeback victory over UCF.
Cody Orr: From a pure stats perspective, Shapen had no more than an above average performance. 21 of 34 for 293 yards and one passing touchdown (on top of one on the ground) was good enough for a 67.1 QBR per ESPN and 64.5 passer grade per PFF. That said, his decision making and grit down the stretch clearly demonstrated that he’s the leader of this team. We don’t win the game without his command of the offense. Grade: B+
Joe Goodman: Here come the vibes grades. Shapen was the reason we won this game, I fully believe that. There’s no substitute for having your team leader back, and it was something this team desperately needed. He kept getting up no matter how muddy that jersey was. He’s why we won.
Cody Orr: It was nice to see Richard Reese play at the level we know he’s capable of! 16 carries for 100 yards is a big reason the Bears averaged 5.8 non-sack yards per attempt. This efficiency translated to 0.29 expected points added per rush, which is in the 88th percentile of FBS vs. FBS performances. It would have been nice to see more scoring from this group (only one TD by Pendergrass), and Richardson’s “fumble” felt like a game-ender at the time. Grade: B
Joe Goodman: Overall, really solid play, it felt like we were seeing the RB group we expected this season back on the field. It also seemed like Reese had a little swagger back to him, some confidence as he was getting those nice gash runs going. I loved seeing Pendergrass score as well. Nothing that will put them on the honor roll, but they don’t need to have their parents conference with the teacher either.
Cody Orr: This was a solid outing for Baylor’s offensive line. The unit held UCF to a run stuff rate of 16%, which is in the bottom 2% of the country; said differently, they rarely did so poorly in run blocking that the RB had no chance to gain positive yards. They also produced an opportunity rate (yards that gain four or more yards) of 54%, which is the just shy of what UCF allowed against Kansas State (UCF’s worst performance). They struggled more in pass protection, allowing four sacks. Grade: B-
Joe Goodman: I loved this performance from this group, and I’m going to grade them a bit on what we’ve seen this season. They struggled against some of the better defenders UCF had, and some injuries made their job easier, but man, after what I saw in the Texas game, I’m proud of these dudes. Gold star from me.
Cody Orr: This is a good example of why grades on group projects are so infuriating. Monaray Baldwin carried this team on his back with seven receptions for 150 yards and one touchdown (the first for any Baylor WR this season). In the fourth quarter, Monaray had receptions of 43 yards, 35 yards, and 36 yards and accounted for 70% of Baylor’s yardage. His PFF grade of 91 is by far the best of his career (season high was 65, career high was 80). Presley, Jackson Jr., and Burton combined for five receptions for 35 yards. Grade: Monaray A, everyone else, F, together, C
Joe Goodman: This is indeed a group project, and sometimes you luck out by having an overachiever in your group. Baldwin was a mad man. How in the world that dude broke all those tackles on the winning FG drive at his size, I have no clue. He did all the research, wrote all the papers, and presented all the slides on this project, but the professor doesn’t know that. Besides, if Monaray is open, throw him the ball!
Cody Orr: Another disappointing contribution in the passing game for the TE group. Dabney had two receptions for 25 yards, Roberts had one reception for 12 yards, and Klopfenstein had one reception for five yards. No one really stood out for their blocking. They weren’t asked to pass block very often (seven total snaps), and their run blocking graded out between 48 (Johnson) and 70 (Klopfenstein) on PFF. Grade: D+
Joe Goodman: I’m so confused by this group, as I really thought they’d be a bigger performer this year. I especially thought we’d see them more with Shapen back in the fold, but alas, not yet. It felt like they didn’t really show up to class, so they can’t get a high grade.
Cody Orr: If we lost this game in the final second, I’d have images of Gabe Hall futilely diving at UCF’s QB Timmy McClain’s feet burned into my memory. Fortunately for all of us, it didn’t matter! Overall this was a forgettable performance from the defensive line. Cooper Lanz had the team’s lone sack (yay), but Franklin, Lanz, Hall, and Ma’ae combined for four total pressures and six solo tackles. They had a defensive run stuff rate of 15%, which is in the bottom 1% of FBS vs. FBS performances! Grade: D-
Joe Goodman: Note elite in this one for sure. Way too many big plays on the ground, and it felt like other position groups were making up for their weaker play. We absolutely have to get better in the middle of this line, but that may take more time than what we have this year.
Cody Orr: Meh? Matt Jones led the team with eight tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, but as is tradition, didn’t do too well in the pass coverage, allowing two receptions on three targets for 24 yards. When Mike Smith Jr. left the game with an ACL injury (three solo tackles, one QB pressure), Josh White and Byron Vaughns subbed in. White registered two missed tackles and one assisted tackle. Vaughns had three tackles. Grade: C-
Joe Goodman: I’m going to grade them the same as the DL. They just don’t feel like they are impacting things all that much, and there’s still way too many missed tackles. Let’s hope Josh White shows some good stuff moving forward, as he will need to step up.
Cody Orr: Week in and week out this position group is the star of the defense (not to be confused with the STAR of the defense, who has never been close to being the star of the defense). PFF credits Williams III, Reed, Jenkins, and Williams IV with allowing two receptions for forty yards and no touchdowns. True freshman Jenkins was the defensive MVP with one interception and one fumble return for a TD. It wasn’t all perfect, though, as everyone except for Jenkins had at least one missed tackle. Grade: A-
Joe Goodman: If Baldwin got his group a shining grade, Jenkins will do the same here. This is the best position group on the team in my opinion. And they are YOUNG. I can’t wait to see how good they can become. Plus, we don’t win this game without that scoop and score, consider it a huge amount of extra credit.
Cody Orr: *Sigh*. Let’s start with the STAR position. Corey Gordon Jr. had 36 snaps defending the slot. He allowed six receptions on eight targets for 148 yards, including a 65 yard TD reception. He also had two missed tackles to go along with his single solo tackle. Devin Lemear also had two missed tackles, but at least he had two solo tackles and allowed only three yards on a single reception. Devin Bobby, the clear standout of this group, led the team with with a tackling grade of 83 and was second on the team with five tackles. Grade: D+
Joe Goodman: A big ole meh. Though I don’t think this was their worst performance of the year. They didn’t play well, but they did enough at times. Eliminate some of the big plays and tackle better, these are solvable things.
Cody Orr: Did you know our long snapper Garrison Grimes left the game with a leg injury and a backup long snapper had to play the remainder of the game? I think someone should tell the announcers. Isaiah Hankins went two for three (made from 25 and 30, missed from 46), including a game winner to complete Baylor’s furious comeback. Palmer Williams averaged a respectable 44 yards over three punts. In a potentially game-ending mistake, Josh Cameron muffed a punt before falling on the ball. Grade: B-
Joe Goodman: I watched the entire second half, frozen on my couch, with the sound turned off, almost in a hateful trance of disappointment. Once the good things started happening, I dared not move, so the soundless game continued. That means, luckily, I didn’t hear one thing about an injured long snapper. But, here’s the thing for me. If you’re a college kicker and you win a game, you get your report card up on the fridge.
Statistics courtesy of ESPN, Pro Football Focus, and GameOnPaper.com.