DALLAS — Another Big 12 opponent learned the hard way that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the Baylor Bears.
Baylor spotted Texas Tech a 14-point lead, but the Bears had plenty of fuel in the tank to outpace the Red Raiders 63-34 on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
Baylor, ranked No. 5 in the BCS standings with a keen eye on a Big 12 championship and hopes of a spot in the BCS National Championship Game, made another emphatic point in running its winning streak to 13 straight dating to a victory over top-ranked Kansas State last November.
“When you’re down 14-0, 20-7 and you withstand that surge and finish the way we finished, that’s impressive,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “That shows you have a tough football team.”
The Bears (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) stretched an eight-point halftime lead to 22 with an efficient start to the third quarter.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty ran 6 yards for a touchdown to cap the Bears’ 71-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. Running back Devin Chafin followed with a 47-yard touchdown run that put the Bears ahead 49-27 with 8:35 left in the third quarter.
“It’s frustrating because we like to start fast,” Petty said. “It took us a minute to get going but we know it’s coming.”
By that time, it was evident Texas Tech’s rev-and-stall offense led by
walk-on true freshman Baker Mayfield, didn’t have the wheels to keep up with Baylor.
“Just try to get better at all three sides, that’s all you can do at this point,” Texas Tech first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We’ve got some young guys playing that have to step up and make plays when they’re called upon.”
Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4), which reached No. 10 in the BCS standings earlier this season, lost its fourth straight. Three of those came against ranked opponents.
Petty kept Baylor firing as he passed for 335 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two scores. Baylor running back Shock Linwood, taking the bulk of the carries in place of injured running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, finished with 184 yards on 29 carries.
Baylor, playing in its home jerseys in the neutral-site game, struggled to take over as it has while playing in its home stadium. The Bears led their six home games so far this season by an average of 36.8 points. Though Baylor overcame an early 14-0 deficit, the Bears led by just eight at the break.
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro caught two touchdown passes, one from running back Kenny Williams and the other from Mayfield, in the game’s first nine minutes as the Red Raiders put Baylor in a 14-point hole.
But Baylor stormed back, mostly on the strength of a monster first half by wide receiver Levi Norwood.
Petty tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Norwood to get Baylor on the scoreboard. Then Norwood broke loose for a 58-yard punt-return touchdown later in the first quarter.
Not done for the half, Norwood caught a pass near the line of scrimmage at the Baylor 42, shook a couple of Texas Tech defenders and went racing for a 58-yard touchdown catch.
Baylor turned two Texas Tech turnovers into touchdowns in the first half.
Cornerback K.J. Morton intercepted a Mayfield pass at the Texas Tech 31 and it took the Bears offense just one play to reach the end zone. Petty hit Antwan Goodley for a 31-yard touchdown to give Baylor the lead 21-20 with four seconds left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon recovered a Mayfield fumble at the Texas Tech 32. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Dixon pushed Baylor back to the 47, but it took the Bears only four plays to score. Chafin finished the quick-strike drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Texas Tech kept Baylor from running away at that point when linebacker Sam Eguavoen forced a Petty fumble inside the Baylor 10 and defensive back Terrance Bullitt recovered for the Red Raiders.
An unsportsmanlike penalty on Bullitt forced the Red Raiders to the 23, but Mayfield hit Amaro for an 18-yard gain to the 4 and then found Jakeem Grant for a 3-yard touchdown.
“It was huge getting the turnovers,” Briles said. “I thought K.J.’s interception was miraculous. Any time you get turnovers, you’ve got a chance to get back in it.”