There was a fairly glass-half-full mood around the Baylor campfire on Monday despite the fact that Oklahoma dealt the Bears a 66-33 defeat on Saturday.
The Sooners 33-point win over Baylor was the Bears’ most lopsided loss since they fell by 43 at Oklahoma State last October. But Baylor coach Matt Rhule pointed out that, after Baylor fell behind 14-0, the Bears won their share of battles in closing the gap to 35-23 midway through the third quarter.
“Surviving that early rally, trying to push the game to the fourth quarter — we did that,” Rhule said. “We just weren’t able to quite shore it up at the end. As I told the team, we probably could have gone out there at the end and run the ball and tried to keep the score close. But, I didn’t care if we lost 34-33 or 66-33. It’s not about how we look. We wanted to compete to the end, we wanted to fight to the end. We were going to go for it. We were going to onside kick it, and we did that. And I was proud of a lot of guys on our team.”
Baylor (3-2) made a lot of plays on offense as it racked up 493 yards of total offense on the Sooners’ home field. But Oklahoma scored on seven plays of 24 yards or longer.
Rhule said it was just a matter of the Sooners’ having better play-makers.
“A guy won his one-on-one on a couple of them, so it wasn’t really like missed assignments,” Rhule said. “It was just a guy catching the ball and running, and us not getting him down. They hit us on a long pass early in the game, and just ran by us.”
Baylor will regroup and try to win more of those individual battles as Kansas State comes to Waco on Saturday.
Whereas Oklahoma ranks 12th nationally in total offense, Kansas State (2-3) is 117th.
But Rhule expects a hard-hitting challenge nonetheless.
“The biggest thing about Kansas State is twofold: No. 1, they’re physical, tough, they run the ball downhill at you, they control the clock, and they don’t beat themselves,” Rhule said. “The second part is they have the added component of the quarterback run. We played them last year and they kept running the quarterback, kept running the quarterback, and that was the difference in the game.”