The first half was not good. The offense couldn’t get anything going, the defense stunk, and we blew a huge opportunity when KSU fumbled a punt inside their own 20 by running three plays, losing 13 yards, and then having a field goal blocked. It was 20-3 at halftime, and that may not have been entirely reflective of the way the game had gone. The second half was much better, as the Bears built on a fantastic third quarter to go into the fourth quarter down one score for the fifth game in a row.
Think about that for a second—Baylor is 0-5 on the season, and that’s not fun. We may be 0-6 this time next week when we go to Stillwater. But in every game so far, we’ve at least had a chance. In our five losses, we’ve trailed by 3, 7, 4, 4, and 7 points going into the final stanza. That’s fairly incredible, and the fact that we’ve yet to pull out a win is indicative of a team that lacks depth to finish games, not effort or desire. Call that a moral victory, call me a sunshine pumper, call anything you want anything you want. I’ll call it continued progress that when they were down three scores at KSU in the first half and could easily have thrown in the towel, our guys just kept working. The results aren’t there yet and nobody is satisfied, but I don’t think they’ve given up. They believe they can compete and win, so they keep going. And honestly, aside from jumping off the ship completely (which is your right as a fan, but don’t @ me to tell me about it because I will shame you), that’s all any of us can do at this point.
A few things to be excited about from this game: Zach Smith built on an outstanding performance against Oklahoma by throwing for 291 yards on 26/44 passing for a TD and only the late interception when we couldn’t do anything but throw. He’s our QB of the present and future, and there’s no real doubt about that (despite the fact that Charlie Brewer got into the game in the first half, too). Denzel Mims continued to show why he’s the man, and we’re all living in his world. Connor Martin earned the undying love of every Baylor fan (the late fumbled snap notwithstanding) with a 16-yard scamper on a fake punt. The running game showed some improvement in the second half, capped by John Lovett’s 74-yard TD. We actually outgained an opponent for the first time this season! Our helmet game was insane. There’s a lot to like.
There’s also a lot to keep working on, as you might expect when a team falls to 0-5. Though it showed some progress in the second half, there’s no good reason for our rushing offenses to struggle like it has. The early play-calling was questionable, at best, particularly on that drive after we recovered the fumbled punt. We insist on playing at least one safety that either has no interest in tackling or was brainwashed in a Russian facility not to understand any facet of the activity. I don’t know how many big plays we’ve given up because of Davion Hall this season, and I don’t think it’s really possible to know for sure, but it’s a lot. It’s way too much. We still haven’t completed a pass to a tight end, mostly because all of our tight ends are or have been hurt. Jesse Ertz Snyderballed all over us in that familiar, frustrating fashion that you can’t help but respect while hating. I’m tired of this paragraph and want it to be over.
Anyway, we’re 0-5, but I’m still #TrustingTheProcess. I hope you are, too.