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Baylor vs. Texas Tech: Game Grades, Analysis for Bears and Red Raiders

Published by Bleacher Report on Sun, 30 Nov 2014

The Baylor University Bears outlasted the pesky Texas Tech University Red Raiders 48-46 in Arlington, Texas, barely surviving the loss of Bryce Petty to avoid the back-breaking upset.For now, the Bears remain in the College Football Playoff discussion thanks to Petty's two-plus quarters of work and the defense's four forced turnovers.But there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about this team that gave up 707 yards of offense to an offense quarterbacked by a true freshman. Even if Petty gets right for next week's game against Kansas State University, this is a flawed team.Game Grades for the Red RaidersPassing OffensePatrick Mahomes got knocked around a lot in the first half, but he stood tough and proceeded to shred the Baylor secondary for the rest of the game. He finished the game with 598 passing yards and six touchdowns, completing passes of 40-plus yards to five different targets.As for the receivers, the numbers are impressive. But plenty of mistakes were made. Three different pass-catchers gave the ball away in Baylor territory, and that was the difference in this game.Rushing OffenseThe Red Raiders ran the ball 26 times, but it didn't feel like it since they were playing catch-up basically from the start. DeAndre Washington had some tough runs, and Mahomes pitched in for 27 yards. But this game was competitive because of the passing game.Passing DefenseThe Red Raiders secondary had no hope of covering the Baylor receivers, and the entire defense struggled to contain Petty. Once the latter was removed from the equation, Art Briles' offense became much more manageable.Pete Robertson flashed in recording a sack and recovering a Petty fumble.Rushing DefenseShock Linwood did whatever he wanted in the first half with his 97 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with 158 yards on the day, while Johnny Jefferson added 47 yards and a touchdown of his own.Once Petty left the game, these guys pinned their ears back a little bit and were able to force the Bears to lean on Seth Russell. That move allowed Mahomes to do his thing and make this a game.Special TeamsThe fake punt for the first down was nice, but an offsides on a field goal allowed the Bears to finish a drive with a touchdown. Add in the failed onside kick, and there just isn't much to get excited about here.CoachingAs a play-caller, Kliff Kingsbury is as good as it gets. He refused to let the Baylor pass rush knock him off his game, and his management of Mahomes is the reason the Red Raiders almost pulled off the upset of the Big 12 season.That said, the defense and the stupid mistakes are just embarrassing. Kingsbury has to bring both down to manageable levels before he can start winning games like this.Game Grades for the BearsPassing OffenseBasically, Petty gets an "A" and Russell gets a "D." The former needed just two-and-a-half quarters to put up 35 points while completing 72 percent of his attempts. Russell's only touchdown drive came as a result of Petty's work, and he averaged less than five yards per attempt.Corey Coleman caught a touchdown for the eighth straight game, which is the longest streak in the nation.Rushing OffenseWe already discussed how good Linwood was in the first half and how there wasn't much room at all in the second. Credit the Red Raiders defense for figuring out how to take him away once Petty left the game, but it's no indictment of this offensive personnel.Passing DefenseOther than getting some consistent pressure in the first half and forcing the turnovers, this unit was a total dumpster fire. The Red Raiders moved the ball at will through the air, getting big play after big play against poor coverage.Shawn Oakman had a nice game against a very good left tackle in Le'Raven Clark, but he committed two dirty plays on the day, getting penalized on Texas Tech's final drive.Rushing DefenseTech never really challenged the Bears on the ground, instead electing to feast on their horrendous secondary. Other than a couple of nice runs by Washington, Andrew Billings and Oakman swallowed things up inside.Special TeamsThe Bears were had on the fake punt in the first half and committed some bad penalties. Other than that, their big test came on the onside kick attempt, and they were all over it.CoachingBaylor's final quarter-and-a-half showed off every pitfall of Briles and his offense. The Bears just couldn't protect a 25-point lead and almost blew their shot at making a playoff appearance. Up to that point, everything from Briles was excellent, but it was too close for comfort.
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