2-point call that 'changed it all'Nov. 2, 2004
By DREW WILLIAMSON, sports writer
"The Catch," "The Immaculate Reception," "The Music City Miracle," "The Miracle on the Brazos" and perhaps soon to be, "The Call that Changed it All."
Baylor head Coach Guy Morriss officially etched his name in stone in Baylor's long history Saturday night. After he saw his team repeatedly revive itself each time everyone was sure they were done, Morriss made the gutsiest call in Baylor's history.
After his team answered the bell in the first overtime by scoring on the third play from scrimmage, Morriss called a time-out to think things over.
In fact, that's what most of the 41,283 in attendance thought he was going to do, including the guy that caught the game-winning pass, Dominique Zeigler.
"When we were in the huddle, I didn't even know we were going for two," Zeigler said. "I was standing in the back and I thought we were just going to send it into another overtime and coach was like 'Zeigler get in; we're going for two.'"
Texas A&M radio announcer Dave South sounded shocked as he announced the Baylor offense was coming onto the field and the crowd wasn't sure whether to worry or yell like the Aggies were already doing.
Morriss didn't need anything to convince him what to do but his gut. When first asked about the decision, Morriss called it "kind of a gut feeling."
He called a time-out and thought about the numerous guys that had been on the sideline with cramps. He remembered how easily the Aggies scored on their last possession.
After collecting his thoughts, Morriss asked his team a simple question, "Do you want to win this game right now?" The answer sealed it for Morriss.
If Baylor were to lose this game, it would be his fault. If they were to win, he would be praised for decades to come, or as Texas A&M safety Jaxson Appel put it, "Their coach was either going to be the hero or the burro, and was the hero tonight."
While Morriss probably did not have enough time to think about the repercussions that would have occurred had Bell failed to find Zeigler, I did, and it makes Morriss' decision all-the-more heroic.
Baylor had come back to tie the game four different times that night. What happens to the morale of a team that keeps picking itself up after being knocked down, only to eventually be knocked down for good because of a decision your coach made?
We all know about the 19-game winless streak the Bears had on their shoulders going into the contest with the despised Aggies. Bell, whose dad happens to be a graduate of Texas A&M, has understood the importance of beating the Aggies since he first arrived as a freshman.
"The coaching staff asked me what I wanted to accomplish here at Baylor when I first got here," Bell said. "I said, 'I want to beat Texas A&M.' They asked me to be more specific, so I said, 'I want to beat them my sophomore year.'"
If Zeigler drops the ball on the two-point conversion, how does Morriss explain taking one of the few games Baylor has had a chance in over the last nineteen years into his own hands?
More bluntly, how many alums and students, or journalists like myself for that matter, are calling for Morriss' firing if there is a bad snap and Bell never even gets a chance to find Zeigler?
Thankfully, all of these things will never be actual concerns, and the Baylor coaching staff now has a horde of confident players to work with. Why? Because Guy Morriss went with "kind of a gut feeling."
I don't know about you, but there are two things I'm sure about after Saturday night's monumental win. The first is that it's going to be a while before I ever doubt one of Morriss' gut decisions. The second is that I will never forget where I was and how I felt when Morriss made "The Call that Changed it All."