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Tale of two halves dooms Baylor in Saturday's loss

Oct. 4, 2000

By ROB SINCLAIR

Sports Editor

It seemed like Baylor played two football games against Iowa State University on Saturday.

In one game, the Bears committed three turnovers, allowed 21 points in a horrid six-minute span, and lost 31-3.

In the other game, Baylor had no turnovers, allowed no points, and won 14-0.

The extremes to which the Bears' performance fluctuated before and after halftime are staggering. As flat and uninspired as they were in the first half, they played with that much hunger and pride in the second half. Even though their second half showing was a case of too little, too late, it did leave you imagining what this group is capable of.

What follows is a grading of the Bears by position.

Quarterbacks

Guy Tomcheck, nearly flawless against South Florida, came back to Earth with a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance. He went 1-7 for 10 yards and an interception in the first half, then went 7-20 for 151 yards and a touchdown in the second half. He made a poor decision by throwing into double-coverage on the pickoff, and it led directly to ISU's final touchdown. He engineered four drives of 65 yards or more, but also hit Cyclone defenders in the hands at least six times. As a redshirt freshman, it would be easy for him to blame others for his showing, but to his credit, he accepted responsibility for the passes he missed.

Grade: C-

Running Backs

This was Darrell Bush's best performance of the season. He finished with 20 carries for 84 yards, and tacked on his first touchdown of the year. The only negative was his fumble in the third quarter; he has now fumbled three times in the last two games, though only one has been lost. Jonathon Golden's fumble on his first carry was a momentum killer.

Grade: B+

Wide Receivers

Reggie Newhouse turned a simple crossing pattern into a 54-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to spark the Bears. He is becoming their most explosive receiver. Lanny O'Steen had two catches but dropped a touchdown that would have pulled Baylor within 14 points. Bobby Darnell drew a pass interference penalty for the second straight game; good things seem to happen when the Bears look his way.

Grade: B-

Tight Ends

Tomcheck looked the way of Andrew Obriotti more against the Cyclones, but it still did not result in any catches. Baylor used fewer two-tight end sets, which meant less playing time for Anthony Dozier. Run blocking was good.

Grade: C-

Offensive Line

They had a hard time keeping All-Big 12 defensive end Reggie Hayward in check. Hayward had a pair of sacks and a quarterback hurry, as Iowa State claimed five sacks on the night. The run blocking was very strong. Baylor only held the ball for 25:46, and the o-line must take it upon themselves to improve that number. Center Joe Jackson is playing very well.

Grade: C+

Defensive Line

Missed tackles and zero pass rush doomed this group. They got to the backfield a fair amount of times, but could not wrap up Ennis Haywood, as he finished with 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 39 carries. Defensive coordinator Brick Haley said the defensive line had about four times as many missed tackles as in previous games. The group did not even have a quarterback hurry, let alone a sack.

Grade: D

Linebackers

Eric Clay played at both linebacker and on the d-line and stood out with eight tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Kris Micheaux was solid as always in the middle, and Anthony Simmons keeps flying to the ball. Strong-side starter McKinley Bowie had just two tackles.

Grade: B-

Secondary

Cornerback Gary Baxter and strong safety Samir Al-Amin both made 10 tackles, a clear sign that the front seven was not wrapping up. Cornerback Daniel Wilturner gave up six inches to Cyclone wide receiver Chris Anthony and still held him to only four catches and 28 yards. Bobby Hart and Eric Giddens teamed to force and recover a fumble, while free safety Matt Amendola had arguably the best game of his short career. He totalled six tackles and was very active in run support.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Derrick Cash makes things happen on special teams. Not only did he come within a fingernail of blocking two punts, he also gained 19 yards on a fake punt to keep a Baylor drive going. Punter Adam Stiles deserves honorable mention for selling the play as a snap that went over his head. Stiles also had good kickoffs and averaged 43 yards per punt. Daniel Andino drilled his only field goal attempt from 20 yards out, but the Bears need six points in those situations, not three. After Iowa State kicked a field goal to open the scoring, Elijah Burkins fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The Cyclones promptly moved 25 yards for the touchdown and a 10 point lead. Punt and kick coverage were average.

Grade: A-

Overall

The last six minutes of the first half ruined Baylor. Haley said if the tackling had been better, the Bears could have escaped that stretch with 10 points instead of the 21 they allowed. Baylor allowed more than 300 yards on the ground, and had two turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. The talent level is such that the Bears cannot afford those kinds of errors. A win was there for the taking, but asking this team to come back from a 28-point hole is asking too much. What is not too much to ask is the kind of effort they showed in the second half, but for 60 minutes.

Grade: C-