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Baylor Defense Rises Up

Baylor defeated Kansas on homecoming 41-14 in Waco. They used an inspired 2nd half defensive effort that kept the Jayhawk offense scoreless for the last 30 minutes to seal the win. The Baylor defense created two turnovers in the 2nd half while avoiding offensive turnovers which have plagued the Baylor offense in four Big12 losses.

The win was crucial to keep Baylor's bowl hopes alive. They have four games left and may not be favored in any of them, but only one of those games is on the road- next week in Norman, Oklahoma. Big upsets can happen at home. Big12 fans will recall last year when undefeated Oklahoma State dropped a game late in the season at Iowa State.

The Baylor offense racked up 666 yards- including a season high 299 yards on the ground. The Baylor defense held the Kansas offense to 342 yards. The Jayhawks trailed 20-14 at half and Baylor showed few signs of being able to stop them from moving the ball in the 1st half. But the first six drives of the 2nd half for Kansas told a different story. The Baylor defense that has struggled the last four weeks held the Jayhawks offense to 87 yards on 28 snaps during those first six drives of the 2nd half. That allowed the Baylor offense to put up another 21 points and build a safe lead.

There were plenty of bright spots for Baylor fans. Lache Seastrunk got the start as the tailback. He rushed for 103 yards on 17 carries. But he also caught 5 passes for 91 yards including a 68 yard touchdown. Glasco Martin rushed for 157 yards on 11 carries. Glasco is a smart running back. During the 1st half, Cyril Richardson- Baylor's dominant left offensive guard- sat out due to an ejection in the last game. Glasco had 5 carries for 7 yards in the 1st half without Richardson. In the 2nd half, Martin decided to follow Richardson's blocks and rushed for 150 yards on 6 carries.

Nick Florence passed for 367 yards and 3 touchdowns. More importantly, he did not turn the ball over. He also added a rushing touchdown. Terrance Williams continues to lead the nation in receiving yards. His total is now 1340 (10 touchdowns) on the season with 4 games to go. He needs to average 181 yards per game to break the NCAA record. Against Kansas, he had 137 yards on 11 catches- including a touchdown. Tevin Reese is also on track for 1000 yards. He currently has 682 yards and 6 touchdowns on the year.

The real story of the game was the Baylor defense. Under Art Briles, a Baylor defense has only held a Big12 opponent under 20 points three times: Iowa State in 2008 (10 points); Kansas in 2010 (7 points) and the Jayhawks again last night (14 points).

Senior Nick Johnson played a great game at DT. He was able to penetrate into the backfield many times- which helped disrupt the Kansas offense. Kansas' James Sims is one of the best running backs in the Big12. He has rushed for over 100 yards against every Big12 opponent. Baylor was no exception- 21 rushes for 126 yards. But in the 2nd half, Sims only rushed for 21 yards on 8 carries.

There were many great performances by the defense in the 2nd half. There was a lightning delay to start the 2nd half and an ominous announcement by the public announcer that sent most fans home believing that the weather delays would be long. Credit the Baylor defense for not allowing the distraction or thinning crowd to affect their motivation. The fans who remained were loud and supportive of the Bears' efforts.

The road ahead is not easy. But Baylor demonstrated last year a mental toughness down the stretch that catapulted them to 10 wins and six straight to finish the season. Do they have a similar streak in them this year?

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