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Baylor Football

Baylor Records Biggest Comeback in Program History, Defeats UCF 36-35

September 30, 2023
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ORLANDO, Fla. – In front of a sold-out FBC Mortgage Stadium for UCF’s (3-2, 0-2) Big 12 home opener, Baylor (2-3, 1-1) completed its largest comeback victory in program history.

Despite trailing 35-7 midway through the third quarter, the Blake Shapen-led Bears stormed back and scored 29 unanswered points to scrape by with a 36-35 win after the Knights kicker, Colton Boomer (So.), missed a 59-yard field goal at the buzzer.

“I’m proud of the resilience,” head coach Dave Aranda said postgame. “We talked a lot about believing in the guy to the right or left of you and that showed up in the fourth quarter. I think this is something we can start with and run with [moving forward].”

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Despite trailing 35-7 midway through the third quarter, the Bears stormed back and scored 29 unanswered points to scrape by with a 36-35 win

The comeback started when cornerback Caden Jenkins (Fr.) reinvigorated the struggling Baylor defense with an interception of UCF quarterback Timmy McClain (So.) deep in BU’s territory with 37 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Shapen then led the offense 80 yards down the field in under three minutes, and running back Dawson Pendergrass (Fr.) capped off the drive with a six-yard rushing touchdown – the second of his career.

The defense forced another stop, and on the following possession, Shapen connected with wide receiver Monaray Baldwin (Jr.) over the middle for a 35-yard gain and later found Baldwin in the endzone for a five-yard score to cut UCF’s lead to 35-26.

Jenkins then came up huge once again, recovered a fumble, and took it to the house for a 72-yard touchdown to make it a one-score game with 3:36 left in the contest.

On the ensuing BU drive after the defense forced another UCF three-and-out, the Bears relied on Pendergrass and the ground game to make their way down the field. 

Shapen was stopped on a scramble attempt on third and medium near the goal line, but Isaiah Hankins (So.) nailed the game-winning field goal from 25 yards out with just over a minute remaining in the fourth.

Shapen, in his first game back from an MCL injury, was fantastic and finished the afternoon with 293 yards through the air on 21-of-34 passing. Baldwin was the Bears leading receiver with seven receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown.

“I believe in all of our coaches,” Shapen said after the win. “I believe in all my teammates. I never stopped believing. I get we were 1-3, and that's not a [great] way to start the season, but I never stopped believing."

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
UCF went into the half with a 28-7 lead.

On UCF’s first play from scrimmage, running back Johnny Richardson (Sr.) hit the edge and turned up the left sideline for an explosive 78-yard touchdown to put the Knights on the board 7-0.

It would be a sign of things to come in the first half for the Bears as UCF added scores on the following two possessions, including a 65-yard touchdown pass over the middle from McClain to wide receiver Javon Baker (Sr.). 

Baylor marched down the field and cut the Knights’ lead to 21-7 with 2:03 remaining in the first quarter when Shapen found the endzone on a third and goal scramble from two yards out.

The Bears then forced a stop on defense and found themselves back in the red zone before running back Dominic Richardson (Jr.) was not rewarded forward progress trying to extend a run and got the ball stripped and returned for an 87-yard touchdown by UCF defensive back Demari Henderson (So.).

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Shapen, in his first game back from an MCL injury, was fantastic and finished the contest with 293 yards through the air on 21-of-34 passing.

Baylor’s miscues continued throughout the second quarter, including a failed fourth down conversion and a Hankins 45-yard missed field after Shapen incurred an intentional grounding penalty on third down at the UCF 11-yard line. 

Despite Baylor dominating in first half time of possession, 23:02-to-6:58, they trailed 28-7 going into the locker room.

The mental lapses continued well into the third quarter when the Bears picked up a third-down stop on the first drive of the second half but suffered a dead-ball penalty when a BU coach ran into an official, which gave UCF an automatic first down. 

The Knights went on to score a few plays later on a McClain passing touchdown and extended their lead to 35-7 midway through the third quarter before Baylor came storming back.

The Bears will return to Waco for a matchup against Texas Tech (2-3, 1-1) next Saturday, Oct. 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.


Passing

Name CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG LNG TD INT RTG
Blake Shapen 21 34 293 62% 8.6 43 1 0 143.9

Rushing

Name CAR YDS AVG LNG TD
Richard Reese 16 100 6.3 28 0
Dominic Richardson 10 37 3.7 11 0
Dawson Pendergrass 7 30 4.3 9 1

Receiving

Name REC YDS AVG LNG TD
Monaray Baldwin 7 150 21.4 43 1
Dominic Richardson 2 26 13.0 10 0
Hal Presley 3 26 8.7 17 0
Drake Dabney 2 25 12.5 10 0

Defense

Name TKL SKS TFL INT FR
Matt Jones 8 0 3.5 0 0
Devyn Bobby 5 0 0 0 0
Cooper Lanz 5 1 1.5 0 0
Mike Smith Jr 4 0 0 0 0

 

Discussion from...

Baylor Records Biggest Comeback in Program History, Defeats UCF 36-35

9,443 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by oorahpa
MrGolfguy
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Killing Floor
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Great result and hopefully a major confidence boost for the guys.
gobears20
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Staff
oorahpa
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The 4th quarter team is what we need for a quarters against Tech
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