If you constantly play with fire, you’ll eventually get burned.
The Cowboys got off to another slow start on Saturday, something that has plagued them all season, but this time didn't survive it. Baylor dominated for four quarters in a 38-28 win, securing its first in Stillwater since 1939 and putting an end to Oklahoma State's perfect season.
Baylor exploded out of the gate and scored on just four plays in less than a minute. The Bears then forced a three-and-out and scored just five plays later. The Cowboys needed an answer, quickly, and they got one.
J.W. Walsh found Jalen McCleskey for a 3-yard touchdown to cap a 10-play, 77-yard drive that cut the deficit in half. The Pokes then forced a turnover on downs and marched right back down the field, this time on a quick strike. On just the second play of the drive, Mason Rudolph launched one to James Washington for a 39-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 all.
OSU’s defense got the ball back after Baylor’s Chris Callahan missed a 45-yard field goal. Momentum had completely switched over to OSU’s side, but the Cowboys couldn’t capitalize on it. The Cowboys faced a 3rd-and-2 on their ensuing drive, and Walsh’s zone read keeper came up a yard short. OSU coach Mike Gundy elected to punt it away on 4th-and-1 from the OSU 37 rather than force the issue and maintain momentum.
Baylor scored anyway, and momentum was lost. OSU never got it back.
The Bears led 24-14 at halftime and opened things up in the third. Playing without starting quarterback Seth Russell, who’s out for the year, and backup Jarrett Stidham, who left Saturday’s game with an injury, Baylor turned to third-stringer Chris Johnson, who proceeded to play like a superstar.
Johnson led the Bears on back-to-back touchdown drives in the third quarter to increase BU’s lead to 38-14. Johnson found Jay Lee for a 39-yard touchdown and then topped that by hooking up with KD Cannon for a 71-yard score. Oklahoma State looked dazed and confused as a once-rowdy Boone Pickens Stadium crowd was left stunned.
OSU tried to come back, but it was way too little and far too late.
Rudolph did his best to lead the Cowboys back. Rudolph threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns, but was forced to heave it 50 times. OSU's run game was nonexistent with 23 carries for just eight yards. The Cowboys couldn't establish their game plan due to playing from behind the whole night. Walsh was only utilized six times all night and was responsible for a pair of touchdowns, but couldn't get on the field thanks to the deficit.
James Washington and Jalen McClesky each hauled in a pair of touchdowns for OSU.
Stidham threw for 258 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game at halftime. Johnson finished with 138 yards passing with two touchdowns and 42 rushing yards and another score. Baylor racked up 700 total yards to OSU's 441, outrushed the Pokes by 296 yards and converted 14 of 22 on third down. The Bears won despite losing the turnover battle 3-0.
Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1) couldn't get to 11-0 for the first time in school history. The Cowboys will need to regroup quickly for a huge Bedlam showdown next Saturday in Stillwater. The winner will take at least a share of the Big 12 title. The win puts Baylor (9-1, 6-1) back up the ladder in the race for the College Football Playoff.