It’s done. The Baylor Bears have finally finished their 2023 football season. In a heartbreaking end to a heartbreaking season, West Virginia scored a touchdown with under a minute remaining to become the first team win a road game in the matchup between the two teams. West Virginia, picked to finish last in the Big 12 in the pre-season media poll, closes out their regular season with an 8-4 record. Baylor will be sitting quietly at home during bowl season, finishing with a horrendous 3-9 record.
There will be plenty of things said in the coming days about the state of the Baylor football program, the coaching staff, the admin and leadership, or anyone who sits within the football sphere in Waco really. This article though, will try to give some credence to the actual game that happened.
West Virginia was a huge favorite, the crowd wasn’t going to be excited, or in attendance for that matter, and there are question marks all around the Baylor program. No one thought this game would be anything but yet another blowout. Instead, the Bears came out with some serious fight. Backup QB Sawyer Robertson was the starting QB on the evening with Blake Shapen suffering from an injury sustained at the end of the TCU matchup. Robertson played one of his better games of the season, finishing with 215 yards and a TD on 17/19 passing, plus 33 yards on the ground. What makes that more impressive was that he essentially did not have a first half, as Richard Reese returned 2 kick-offs for TDs. Reese not only pulled off the almost unheard of feat of dual KO returns, he added 42 yards on only carries to his weekend that will surely land him some special teams player of the week awards. In the receiving core, Ketron Jackson delivered a solid performance, catching 3 balls for 88 yards and a TD. The offense (and special teams) really weren’t terrible, but the defense, that was a different story for much of the game.
If my math is correct, Baylor's special teams unit is outscoring its offense in the first half against FBS foes this season.— Michael Haag (@MichaelHaag_) November 26, 2023
With 14 points so far, the Bears special teams crew has scored 54 points in the first half this season. The offense, meanwhile, has scored 42 points.
You don’t lose games on last minute touchdowns, you lose games as a result of the whole performance. Last minute touchdowns can only happen when over 500 yards of offense (WVU Finished with 519) including 250 yards rushing. The Baylor defense has looked horrendous against the run at times this year, and it was no different today. West Virginia had two 100 yard rushers, and each averaged over 7 yards per carry. Running Back Jahiem White had 17 carries for 133 yards, and quarterback Garrett Greene had 103 and 2 TDs on 14 carries to go along with his 269 and 2 TDs through the air. Baylor didn’t lose this game on Greene’s final throw of the game, they lost it throughout the game while they continuously let the Mountaineers gash them on the ground.
West Virginia has 246 yards of offense.— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) November 26, 2023
There are still more than 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.
The game felt familiar defensively, yet there was a point I felt certain Baylor would win, and I didn’t know how I felt about that. This season has felt so terrible that I honestly didn’t feel like we deserved to close out our season with a win over a solid, bowl level team. Well, we didn’t. We lost when the defense, once again, couldn’t stop the opposing offense.
I have no idea how to feel about the program moving forward, and I honestly have no idea what to expect to see in the coming days about what the program will look like in 2024. I have a lot of my own opinions that I’m sure I will put on paper in the coming days, but as of now I’m still in shock. Shock, even though that ending felt inevitable, and I felt no surprise in seeing it. 2023 Baylor was bad for my health, and seeing as it’s Thanksgiving week, I guess it’s safe to say I’m thankful it’s finally over.