WACO — The night began with a prayer, which is really all Baylor had anyway. The No. 1 Wildcats were in town, 12-point favorites with the Heisman Trophy favorite in tow, and the Bears had only four wins to their name.
Pastor Jeff Warren led the pregame invocation, a custom common among private schools, thanking “father God” for “Jesus and the cross.”
And then all hell broke loose.
Baylor scored, and scored, and scored, and scored and scored some more. Quarterback Nick Florence passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Lache Seastrunk housed an 80-yard run on a 185-yard night. Wideout Terrance Williams caught five balls for 87 yards and a score. Holy Trinity, you betcha. The Wildcats couldn’t stop it, nor could they keep up offensively. Baylor’s defense, among the worst in the FBS, had an out-of-body experience, battering Collin Klein, who looked woozy and wobbly and threw three interceptions. Thrice Klein was stuffed on the goal line, so it’s a minor miracle the sun came up Sunday. Surreally, the Bears took a quick lead and never looked back; one what-just-happened moment after another. The final score, 52-24, sent the student section onto the field, serenaded by the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”
In 2004, when Baylor beat Texas A&M, the students ripped up a goal post and marched it right back to campus. That was big; this was tremendous — the school’s first ever win over the BCS’ No. 1 team. Baylor has been slowly building toward such an upset, such a stage, since 2008, when Art Briles took over as head coach. Five Baylor players have gone in the first round of the NFL Draft the last four years, including Robert Griffin III, last season’s Heisman darling. Life without RG3 has been difficult this fall, however, and Baylor, ranked at the beginning of the season, tumbled out of the national spotlight after each loss. The team still needs one win to achieve bowl eligibility.
On FOX’s postgame radio show, Seastrunk, without prompt, announced his Heisman campaign.
“I’m gonna get it,” the sophomore said.
So, yeah, it was that kind of night. Both the Wildcats and No. 2 Oregon fell, which means Notre Dame is a win away from the BCS Championship game. They will be joined by an SEC team to be named later — likely Alabama, unfortunately. Klein’s poor showing means Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel could wind up with the Heisman. If Texas beats TCU and Kansas State, and if Oklahoma falls to Oklahoma State, the Longhorns automatically get the Big 12’s BCS bowl bid, and share of the conference title, by virtue of a four-way tie and head-to-head advantage. Who could have seen that happening after the disaster in Dallas?
Waco, where the college football world was abruptly flipped on its head; it is also where we were all reminded of the thing we love — and sometimes forget — about the sport: anything can happen.
Printed on Monday, November 19, 2012 as: Baylor beatdown: Bears knock No. 1 Wildcats out of title game, Horns suddenly have shot to win Big 12 title