Baylor Defeats Kansas State

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WACO — Baylor’s Art Briles was speaking to a decidedly favorable audience late Saturday, but he wanted to make sure that everyone outside his city knew that the Bears deserved some championship recognition.

“There is one true champion,” Briles declared after the Bears victory as hundreds of students gathered around him on the McLane Stadium field. “And it’s the Baylor Bears.”

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Sixth-ranked Baylor held off No. 9 Kansas State, 38-27, to clinch a share of the Big 12 championship with TCU. Each team sported an 11-1 record. But Baylor beat the Horned Frogs, 61-58, two months ago. The key detail that bothered Briles was that TCU was ranked third in the penultimate College Football Playoff standings. The Frogs thrashed Iowa State, 55-3, in Fort Worth earlier Saturday.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was on the field to present the conference trophy to Briles and his team. But Briles did something more than smile and shake hands with Bowlsby. He let the commissioner know his displeasure with Bowlsby’s decision to present the playoff committee with both Baylor and TCU as co-champions rather than use a head-to-head tiebreaker.

“I don’t think I should have to (state Baylor’s case), but apparently, I do,” Briles said. He even

joked that a rich Baylor booster would cover his fine if he got “out of line” with his comments about Bowlsby.

Bowlsby said last week that a tiebreaker only would be used to decide an outright champion if the Big 12 was shut out of the playoffs. Then the conference would use head-to-head wins to decide which team played in the best bowl.

Kansas State (9-3) could’ve clinched a share of the Big 12 and made it an easier decision for the playoff committee if the Wildcats had won Saturday. Coming into the game, their lone league loss was to TCU. Instead, Kansas State could end up at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. The Alamo had hoped to secure Oklahoma, but that was before the Sooners were upset by Oklahoma State.

The Bears were in control for most of the game.

“We didn’t get people in the position that we needed to get them in to defend against a very fine and talented offense,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder. “I’d like to think that we are better than that.” “Quarterback Bryce Petty, who was cleared to play Friday after suffering a mild concussion a week ago, completed 34 of his 40 passes for 412 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a score. Statistically, Kansas State had the best defense in the Big 12. The Wildcats tried to take away Baylor’s big-play ability, so Petty relied on the intermediate routes to beat Kansas State. Petty did have a 58-yard touchdown throw to Antwan Goodley, but he mostly kept the Wildcats guessing by spreading the passes to seven different receivers.

“Aw man, Bryce played outstanding,” said Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango. “You need a big-time player for big-time show, on a big-time stage. He had to step up and perform and he did.”

Kansas State’s Jake Waters kept his team within two scoring possessions. He’d been bothered by a shoulder injury earlier in the season, but Waters was efficient to spectacular for much of Saturday. He completed 22 of 27 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Baylor sacked him four times.

While Petty was blessed with a bevy of receivers, Waters mainly focused on Tyler Lockett, who had 14 receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown. On the rare times Lockett was covered, Waters turned to tight end Zach Trujillo, who had three catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.

Waters made a mistake late in the game, when he was looking for Deane Burton. Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard intercepted Waters pass. The Bears were able to run off the rest of the clock to the delight of their fans.

“The dynamics of games like this are complex, I think,” Snyder said. “Our problem was what was happening on defense affected what happened on our offense. We put the brakes on. Every time they had the ball, we just couldn’t keep them from advancing. That became a problem because they kept scoring, and pretty soon we had to go for it.”

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