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Baylor Football

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

November 6, 2023
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The Bears went from anticipating another disappointment in regulation to experiencing a brief ray of hope before succumbing to overtime heartbreak. What a tease. 

Here's a look at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Houston week.


The GOOD 

Late Game Heroics: Blake Shapen's 27-yard run on 4th-and-17 to keep alive the Bears' game-tying drive was an incredible effort and play. It slightly made up for the ugly interception and one-play drive the series before. The Bears were lucky UH missed a field goal after to give Shapen that shot at redemption, but to their credit, on this occasion, he and the offense finished and delivered—a fun moment in a game where those were few and far between. 

Drake Dabney: The senior tight end continues to be one of the Bears' most consistent receiving targets each week, but that was his first touchdown since week three against Long Island. And fourth score overall. The 76 overall yards were Dabney's most since grabbing 101 yards in the opener against Texas State. 

Caden Jenkins: The freshman cornerback has a nose for the football and nabbed his team-leading third interception. It was a vital turnover to cut off a Houston drive in the red zone and keep the game scoreless for a few more minutes. 

Chateau Reed: The junior from Oklahoma picked off Donovan Smith for the first interception of his Baylor career. 

Hawkins Polley: Congrats to the freshman tight end on his first career touchdown reception. It was a one-yarder but an essential and memorable score to tie the game and set up overtime. 

Running Game: Dawson Pendergrass scored again, as the freshman runner remains a bright spot. He and Dominic Richardson had some nice runs here and there as the Bears crossed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time since UCF back on September 30. And Richard Reese factored in a little, but it's clear the fit isn't there right now, which is one of the bigger disappointments this season.  

The BAD 

Missed Kicks: Three weeks ago, special teams led the way in a much-needed win over Cincinnati. But this week, Isaiah Hankins missed one kick, and another was blocked. The week prior, the Bears missed an extra point vs. ISU. I don't know what's going on there. 

Too Easy: The Bears tied it up in the 4th quarter, but the celebration was short-lived as the defense allowed a five-play, 75-yard TD drive from the Cougars right afterward. Able to fight back again, the Bears struck first in overtime, but despite Houston having a longer field thanks to a leaping penalty, the Cougars sliced through the Baylor defense like a hot knife through butter to score, and Donovan Smith scampered in easily on the two-point conversion to win the game. They did force a 43-yard field goal that UH missed, but overall, there was too little resistance at the end when the Bears needed it most. 

The Bobble: Oh, what a swing right before half, as what appeared to be a Josh Cameron highlight reel TD became an overturned call and then a missed field goal, leaving the score at 10-0 at the break. What could have been with a bit of excitement and some momentum there? 

The UGLY 

Red Zone Woes: The inability to finish drives is one of the big culprits in most of these losses. And in general, a lack of execution is where most of their woes lie. The drive to open the fourth quarter was a shining example of this as 2nd and two at the 2-yard line to take the lead turned into 3rd and 17 at the 17-yard line thanks to penalties. What was a layup TD drive to take the lead turned into three points to tie instead. Some of that is youth, injuries, and inexperience, but that's not making excuses, and ultimately still lands at the feet of Dave Aranda and company, especially this late in the season. 

First Half Shutout?!!?: This comes down to execution as well, but it deserves its own mention. Even if you make both field goals, you still only managed six points off four drives against a defense the equivalent of yours, which isn't a compliment. We're talking nearly three-quarters of being shutout if not for Blake Shapen connecting on a trick play with Drake Dabney late in the third. That is unacceptable at this stage and at home. 

Losing Ground: First things first, losing to UH is brutal enough. The built-in leg up you had evaporated with the Coogs joining the Big 12 and subsequently beating you at home in overtime in the first meeting of this renewed rivalry. And big-picture, you're not just slipping nationally and not just cratering in the Big 12, but you're tumbling in the state of Texas hierarchy. The recent in-state battles include HOME losses to Texas State, Houston, Texas, and Texas Tech this year. It's even worse when you consider the details of each matchup. Still to come, TCU has owned the rivalry recently, but we'll see the latest chapter in Fort Worth here in two weeks. Elsewhere, SMU is winning games and moving to the ACC soon. Texas A&M will always have an advantage, even if winless for ten years. I could go on, but you get the picture, and the picture isn't good right now. 

Home Vibes: Even the most pessimistic people couldn't have predicted a 1-6 home record, with odds heavily favoring 1-7 by the end of the season. Everyone involved, top on down, is aware of and commented on the issue over the past couple of weeks, but there we were on Saturday watching another loss at McLane Stadium. There's nothing other than winning to solve the problem, and winning isn't a total solution. One more opportunity remains in a couple of weeks to end an increasingly ugly and now lengthy FBS home losing streak dating back to last October's win over Kansas. 

Postseason Odds: Plenty were already planning to have bowl season free, but with the loss on Saturday, the postseason is only reachable by finishing 3-0. And that's not happening based on everything we know and have seen, which may be a relief to some but no doubt disappointing to all. So, what takes the place of bowl news in the next month? And how could they get back on a track where making the postseason was the standard and a given each year? 

Discussion from...

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

3,009 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by BUGWBBear
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Life in the Baylor bubble is great and all is well. At least that's the view from the BU leadership. Besides it's almost basketball season and you will forget about football quickly. Even our super smart coach has nothing but nice things to say to opposing coaches. Don't get mad just enjoy the weekend entertainment. All is well.
BUGWBBear
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Next you and your bro crocodile feign 200% angry on your next broadcast after being nicey-nicey to the bald idiot in the presser.

Boo Hoo Hoo. Try a temper fit. Should make wonderful comic relief.
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