Photo by Jim Black
Baylor Football

The stat that mattered against the Oklahoma State Cowboys

November 6, 2018

What a game.

In an back-and-forth Big 12 contest, the Baylor Bears (5-4) edged out the Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-4) at McLane Stadium on Saturday afternoon to cap off a weekend of Homecoming festivities.

Jim Black
Christian Morgan's second blocked punt of the season was crucial in the 35-31 victory.

Statistically speaking, this wasn’t an amazing day for the Bears. The defense gave up 523 yards to Oklahoma State, including 311 through the air and 212 on the ground. Oklahoma State executed their offensive game plan that moved the ball against Baylor’s defense in multiple different ways. The 500-plus yards is the most yards the Bears have given up at home this season.

Offensively the Bears produced 402 yards, the sixth most in this season out of their nine games. The only other home contest this season that the offense had less yards was against Duke where the Bears put up exactly 400 yards. They also only converted 4-of-10 third downs opportunities.

Merely looking at these stats, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that the Bears lost this game especially since Oklahoma State was coming off of an incredible upset win against Texas. In fact, the "post game win expectancy" according to the Bears advanced statistical profile gave Baylor only a 35 percent chance of winning the game based on the makeup of the game.

Somehow, however, the Bears were able to keep the game within reach and find victory. 

"I wanted them to go out there and play fearless and not worry about the results, but just go do what they are capable of doing," Matt Rhule said. "You saw a lot of guys make a lot of plays and they made plays, too. Some of them were small. Some might just be a pass break. Some might be something little, but I thought we made a lot of plays today, many more than we have.

The offense struggled greatly in the first half with a red-zone interception thrown by Jalan McClendon and Connor Martin’s missed 26-yard field goal. Thanks to a blocked punt touchdown at the end of the first half and great red-zone defense, the Bears were able to hold the lead 14-10 heading to the locker room.

Unfortunately, the Cowboys would score 14 unanswered points to start the second half to take a 24-14 and flip the momentum. Baylor's offense had not put points on the board since early in the 2nd quarter and the defense looked rattled.

In that moment it felt as though the Bear’s early mistakes were finally catching up to them and they wouldn’t be able to keep the game within reach for much longer.

Jim Black
Brewer found Jalen Hurd for a touchdown pass to start the third quarter.

Matt Rhule then made a decision that just gave the Bears the spark they needed to win the game by inserting Charlie Brewer into the game. Brewer did not play the first three quarters after a concussion against West Virginia.

"Finally, fourth quarter, I just thought, you know what, this is the time," Rhule said. "It has nothing to do with Jalen. Just thought this is the time that maybe we needed a spark, and maybe him running around would make some plays and it certainly did. He extended a ton of drives there with his feet and certainly made the plays at the end."

On the very first play, he handed the ball to running back John Lovett who bolted for a 75-yard touchdown run. Just like that, the Bears regained the momentum they needed to have a fighting chance.

After the Cowboys scored a touchdown on a methodical 15 play drive to take the lead 31-21, the Bears needed another score from Brewer and company. Brewer did it again, leading them on an eight play, 86-yard drive that led to a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Hurd. Most importantly, it took only 3:12 off of the clock, leaving ample amount of time for the Bears to get a defensive stop and score on the following drive.

Oklahoma State began to move the ball methodically once again with intent on icing the game, but the Bears were able to force them to turn the ball over on downs after a pivotal sack by Chris Miller on a 4th-and-2 play

A Trestan Ebner run for 16 yards and a 15-yard pass interference penalty put the Bears immediately into position to tie the game with a field goal or win the game with a touchdown with plenty of time. On a hurry up play with just a few seconds left on the clock from the 6-yard line, Brewer threw the ball up to one of his favorite target at the end of games.

Denzel Mims came down with the ball and giving the Bears the unexpected victory.

This game took a turn when Brewer entered the game. Therefore, the stat that mattered this week was the Bears offense averaging 12.7 yards per play with the sophomore in the game. The Brewer-led offense ran 17 plays for 216 yards over three drives that led to three touchdowns.

This was completely opposite from the game against West Virginia when Brewer threw three early interceptions that led to the team being down 34-0. Brewer’s offense through less than two quarters averaged only 1.9 yards per play.

Jim Black
Brewer led Baylor to three scoring drives in his only three attempts on Saturday.

To put it simply, the Brewer-led offense at the end of the game was almost unstoppable. However, it’s also important to understand that the offense wouldn’t have even been in the position win the game if it weren’t for the crucial stops late in the game from the defense.

Given that the defense made those plays after Brewer entered the game and Brewer’s offense averaged 12.7 yards per play, it was clear that he provided the necessary jolt that the entire team needed to win an exciting and unforgettable Homecoming game.

"We certainly didn't play our best game," Rhule said. "We had the first two drives we could have scored. We didn't score. We turned it over in the red zone. Missed a field goal. We false started on fourth and inches. I got my second penalty of the year, so obviously I'm going to have to become more disciplined, but we're fighters."

Discussion from...

The stat that mattered against the Oklahoma State Cowboys

How long do you want to ignore this user?
Yeah Charlie changed the direction of the game, but the stat that mattered (IMO) was 30 yards in penalty yards against Okie Lite on the game winning drive. It also mattered that they had 133 yards in penalties for the game.
Grizz Air
How long do you want to ignore this user?
How many yards/play did we have with McClendon? If he averaged 12.5 yards/play, it would not be that impressive if Brewer averaged 12.7. I am assuming that is not the case, however. So how many yards/play with McClendon?

Also, I agree that o$u had a lot of penalties. But what do you expect when on every play they target and/or facemask?
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