STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Some questioned whether No. 18 Baylor should have been a four-point underdog at Oklahoma State on Saturday. For three quarters, it looked as if the oddsmakers might be right.
Oklahoma State led at halftime, in the third quarter and again in the fourth, but Baylor responded with 21 straight points in the final 10 minutes to beat the Cowboys 45-27.
Charlie Brewer completed 13 of 17 passes for 312 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as Baylor (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) extended its winning streak to nine games, the third-longest in program history.
“I thought we showed heart and I was very appreciative of our guys’ effort,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “We knew eventually we were going to be OK. I think our team felt like, if we just hang in there, eventually we’ll make enough plays to win. I thought everyone stepped up and it was a great team win. It wasn’t perfect but they didn’t panic.”
JaMycal Hasty rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and had 66 yards on three receptions for Baylor. Josh Fleeks added three receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears had 536 yards of total offense.
“I think he’s probably the hardest-working guy on the team,” Brewer said about Hasty. “I know he’s going to go out there and lay his body on the line for us. He popped a few for us today and I’m not surprised he’s doing that.”
Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s leading rusher, ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries for Oklahoma State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12). Spencer Sanders threw for 157 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-32 passing, along with one interception and two costly fumbles in the fourth quarter.
“We had turnovers and gave up three big plays,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. “When you turn the ball over in key situations and give up a touchdown on a turnover and give up big plays, it’s hard for us to overcome that. They ran 54 plays, we ran 86 plays, so they big-played us.
“The crowd was awesome, Homecoming was awesome. I wish we would’ve played better in the fourth quarter for the fans.”
After Hubbard’s backup, L.D. Brown, scored on a 68-yard touchdown run 2:05 into the fourth quarter, Oklahoma State led 27-24. Baylor answered, starting with Brewer’s 2-yard run that made it 31-27 with 9:04 remaining.
Momentum really turned about a minute after that as OSU attempted to regain the lead. Sanders dropped back to pass and had to scramble a bit when Baylor’s Chidi Ogbennaya punched the ball loose and Terrel Bernard scooped it up and ran 20 yards for a touchdown that put the Bears up 38-27.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Bernard, who started at middle linebacker after Clay Johnston’s season-ending knee injury last week. “Chidi made the sack fumble and the ball just happened to bounce my way.”
Oklahoma State tried to make sense of the sudden change in fortunes.
“It was a storm of events,” said Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson. “I was pretty pleased (to that point). . When we turned the ball over and the ball gets in the end zone, it’s like the deck of cards comes crashing down. We’re still trying to figure out how to win some of these close games.”
Baylor: After scoring a touchdown on their first possession of the game, needing just three plays to go 62 yards and take a 7-0 lead, the Bears didn’t score again until John Mayers’ 28-yard field goal with 1:32 left in the second quarter. That pulled Baylor to 13-10 going into halftime. With 213 yards of total offense, Baylor ran 26 total offensive plays in the first half, 19 of which were runs. In the third quarter, though, the Bears broke through to gain 198 yards and scored 14 points to regain the lead, throwing seven times and running nine. Overall, Baylor rushed 37 times to 17 pass attempts.
Oklahoma State: After committing five turnovers (three interceptions, two lost fumbles) in the Cowboys’ previous game, a 45-35 loss to Texas Tech on Oct. 5, Sanders turned the ball over three times. His interception came with Oklahoma State leading 13-10, with 18 seconds left in the second quarter, as Baylor’s Kalon Barnes picked it off in the end zone. Then, after the Bernard touchdown, OSU trailed 45-27 with 3:25 left when Sanders lost the ball again after getting hit by Baylor’s Jordan Williams, who then recovered the loose ball to seal the game.
Baylor is likely to move up a little bit in the rankings, depending on how the teams in front of them fare. At this point, Oklahoma State will likely not see the Top 25 again this season.
“Obviously, it’s a tough loss,” Hubbard said. “We’re ahead with nine minutes left and it kind of got away from us, but we got to learn from it. If we let this get to us, this season will be a train wreck. We still got a lot of ball to play.”
Baylor: After an off week, the Bears host West Virginia on Thursday, Oct. 31.
Oklahoma State: At Iowa State next Saturday.