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Baylor Basketball

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

September 26, 2022

Baylor Football earned a huge road win to open Big 12 play on a wild weekend in the early conference race. The remainder of fall sports saw mixed results, but primarily successes, as seasons ramp up across campus entering October. 

Here’s a look at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from the past week in Baylor Athletics. 

The Good 

Total Team Win — Baylor Football was about their business on Saturday, and the final score wasn’t indicative of how the Bears outcoached, outplayed, and controlled Iowa State at their place. It wasn’t a blowout, but it seemed clear who the better team is, was, and will be moving forward, so long as the Bears continue growing — a confidence-builder for a team that righted some wrongs on the road. Knowing what lies ahead, it was massive and vital to grab an away win in Ames. 

Blake Shapen & The Offense — Dust off the “That’s my QB” meme. A great game from QB1, who looked more like the confident, strong-armed young star we came to believe in during last season’s crucial stretch run. Of course, some of that has to do with the game plan and the defense each week. But you can tell he was motivated to play well, resulting in his sharpest performance of the season. It was good to see and excellent timing. Jeff Grimes called a superb game, the line blocked well, and skill guys made the most of their opportunities from running back to receiver to tight end. Shapen was terrific, as the offense operated on another level Saturday. 

The Defense & Special Teams — Not to be forgotten, these two units also held up their end of the bargain. Ika and company shut down ISU’s run game, got 4th down stopped, grabbed turnovers, and gave Hunter Dekkers some growing pains. Special teams saw John Mayers perfect through the uprights, Issac Power booming punts, Noah Rauschenberg delivering steady touchbacks, and an all-important onside recovery by Matt Jones to seal the game. Like I said, a total team win. 

The Highlights — This game was a treasure trove of fun highlights and pivotal plays. Just a sampling includes Reese’s race for a score, Snaxx-imum effort, Shapen (to Reese to Jones to Shapen) to Holmes flea-flicker for six, Doyle returning home to Iowa and the endzone, Hal Presley’s big contested catch, the Devins’ tip-drill interception, Dabney’s smooth hurdle, Bryson terrorizing the backfield, and clean special teams, off the top of my head. Of course, I’m leaving out plenty, but the point is there were a lot of crucial contributions and memorable moments on Saturday. 

Marquee Matchup — Beating Iowa State created more buzz and attention for this weekend’s home return against Oklahoma State. The Big 12 championship rematch storyline was built-in regardless. But, thanks to Baylor’s win and others’ losses, this is now a Top 15 matchup, No. 9 at No. 16. 

This game will also be the third contest between these two programs in the last 365 days. Last October in Stillwater, December in Arlington, and this weekend, October 1st in Waco. Saturday’s ‘tiebreaker’ won’t guarantee any trophies later this fall, just like OK State’s win a year ago, but it will be impactful for both, for better or worse. 

Elsewhere in Fall Sports: 

MBB released their full regular-season schedule, and there is no shortage of high-quality games. An entertaining combo of sites, quality non-cons, and a formidable field of Big 12 foes. Big-time college hoops.  

Top-15 Volleyball opened Big 12 play with a 3-1 home win over TCU. They’ll travel to Ames and Kansas for conference matches on Wednesday and Saturday respectively. 

Men’s Tennis - Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and Marko Miladinović won singles titles in their brackets at the UTSA Fall Invitational. 

Equestrian garnered a #7 NCEA preseason ranking.

Women’s Golf sits in 5th place, entering Monday’s final showing at the Schooner Fall Classic in Norman. 

The Bad 

Closing the Half  — Dave Aranda and staff are usually pretty good at correcting mistakes and flaws, but for the third straight game, the defense surrendered a touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half. In this case, it cut Baylor’s lead to 17-14 right before the break, with ISU grabbing momentum out of thin air and getting the ball to start the second half. It worked out okay, and the Bears’ got a quick turnover to negate the damage early in the third. However, this is not a winning trend and arguably cost them once already at BYU. 

Targeting — Tossing ISU safety Beau Freyler on the opening drive was a shame and further highlighted the confusion and frustration surrounding the targeting rules in college football. I understand the safety, the call, and all that. We all do. I was not too fond of this mainly because it fed the paranoia of sore-loser Cyclones fans. Because of subjectivity, a good, important player got robbed of playing in a huge game. Protect players but don’t boot them from games as a penalty for playing ball, barring obvious maliciousness. Come on, what are we doing here? 

Soccer Struggles — The Bears opened Big 12 play with a 2-0 home loss to Oklahoma last week. In a rut, Michelle Lenard’s first-year squad hasn’t tasted victory since September 1st against Houston. Since then, they’re 0-3-1, with one cancellation, including three straight losses. Trust the process. They next head to Austin on Friday. 

The Ugly

Matt Campbell’s Demeanor — I understand his home fans love it. Still, it does feel like there’s a far cry between big job prime candidate Matt Campbell and the guy going ballistic on the sidelines Saturday after an illegal block call on his defense. His rage has been apparent previously. There’s fighting for your team and wanting a fair shake, but for me, Campbell calling a timeout to dress down the zebras didn’t come across like a big-time coach after seeing it for the umpteenth time. It was a total meltdown, and I’m not sure how it sent the right message to your team. ISU didn’t lose because of officiating.  

Bad Reviews — Lorando Johnson made a game-winning play knocking loose a fumble at the goal line, and the officials botched the review. That would have been an incredible way to deflate ISU’s remaining air, but thankfully It didn’t matter in the end. Still, Snaxx should have been rewarded for that effort. And that was the second questionable ISU TD call on the day. Huh. 

Big Noon Kickoff — Fox’s flagship heads to Michigan vs. Iowa. Gross. ESPN’s GameDay travels to Clemson-NC State. I can see the logic there, at least. If Baylor had beaten BYU, it would have been interesting to see if either made their way to Waco. 

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

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