Comebacks, OT & Sailor Bear magic: Baylor football’s most unbelievably believable finishes
Five years ago last month, Baylor and TCU squared off in what was recently recognized by ESPN as one of the 150 greatest games in college football history. Today, it’s known simply by the final score: 61-58.
But that’s not the only crazy finish in recent Baylor football history; in honor of Baylor football’s recent fourth-quarter dominance under head coach Matt Rhule, here are our top 5 best Baylor finishes of the last 15 years:
Baylor 35, Texas A&M 34 (OT) — October 30, 2004
Ten years before 61-58, Baylor squared off against another in-state rival — the Texas A&M Aggies, who hadn’t lost to the Bears in almost 20 years. Hosting the 16th-ranked Aggies, Baylor trailed 13-3 at halftime. But a spirited second half led by quarterback Shawn Bell sent the game to overtime. After A&M scored on its first possession of overtime, Bell hit Dominique Zeigler to pull within one. Eschewing a game-tying extra point, head coach Guy Morriss called for a gutsy two-point conversion. Bell found Zeigler again to win the game, the goalposts came down, and the Bears picked up perhaps their most memorable win of the millennium’s first decade. (The video highlights are below, but the Texas A&M radio call is also a classic.)
Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38 — Nov. 19, 2011
In a season filled with superlatives, this was Robert Griffin III’s Heisman moment. The Bears had never defeated Oklahoma, who came into the game ranked fifth in the nation. But Baylor established itself with a strong first quarter, and tied the game in the third on a stupendous caromed pass that turned into an 87-yard Kendall Wright touchdown. After OU tied the game with less than a minute remaining, the Bears mounted a drive that led to an electrifying game-winning RG3 touchdown pass to Terrance Williams with seven seconds remaining. Less than a month later, RG3 earned the program’s first Heisman Trophy.
Baylor 61, TCU 58 — Oct. 11, 2014
61-58 is a part of Baylor lore, and it’s a substantially better number than 58-37, the score by which the No. 5-ranked Bears trailed No. 9 TCU with less than 12 minutes remaining. Three straight touchdown drives tied the game up in less than eight minutes of play, and a huge defensive stop by cornerback Ryan Reid gave the Bears the ball back for a final march downfield. Freshman kicker Chris Callahan hit a 28-yard field goal with no time left to give McLane Stadium its first signature moment.
Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 31 — Nov. 3, 2018
Celebrating Homecoming 2018 with Sailor Bear’s first-ever appearance on their helmet, the Bears made sure they came through for him. But it wasn’t easy; Baylor trailed by 10 with just under nine minutes to go. Needing a touchdown and a defensive stop to have a chance, the Bears got both, setting up quarterback Charlie Brewer and the offense for one final drive with 90 seconds left. Quickly driving into range for a potential game-tying field goal, Brewer had time for one more shot to the end zone, hitting Denzel Mims from six yards out for a pivotal Homecoming victory as “Sailor Bear magic” was born.
Baylor 33, Texas Tech 30 (2OT) — Oct. 12, 2019
Maybe there’s something about Homecoming of recent vintage. After nearly erasing a 25-point deficit in Coach Rhule’s first year against West Virginia, the Bears followed up 2018’s thriller with a double-overtime Homecoming victory over Texas Tech. This time around, Texas Tech claimed the lead with just over 90 seconds remaining, but the Bears reeled off 11 plays to march to the 2-yard line, tying the game on regulation’s final play with a John Mayers field goal. After trading touchdowns in the first overtime ever played at McLane Stadium, the Bears held Tech to a field goal in the second OT period. Moments later, they scored on a JaMycal Hasty touchdown run to win the game and remain undefeated.
In a competitive Big 12 and with a team that’s built a reputation as a tough out in the fourth quarter, we wouldn’t be surprised to have even more amazing Baylor wins to talk about before too long.
Sic ’em, Bears!