Baylor poor in all aspects of blowout loss to HuskersOct. 25, 2000
By ROB SINCLAIR
The Baylor football team was steamrolled and shutout Saturday against the University of Nebraska. The Bear offense, defense and special teams all had breakdowns that led to Baylor's demise as the No. 1 Huskers ran up a school-record 38 1st quarter points.
What follows is a grading of the Bears by position.
Offensive production starts at the quarterback position, but in the past three games the Baylor QBs have been downright awful. Guy Tomcheck, Kerry Dixon and Michael Odum have combined to go 34-105 (30.8%) with six interceptions.
Against Nebraska, Dixon started and went 0-3 in three series. He also lost a fumble at Baylor's 15-yard line that led to Nebraska's third touchdown. Tomcheck finished the game and went 7-26 for 79 yards.
Admittedly, youth is overtly present at the position, but those numbers must improve if Baylor is to avoid a fourth straight shutout this Saturday at Texas.
The bottom line on the stat sheet reads like this: 27 carries, five net yards. That does include a 23-yard loss on a botched snap, but it doesn't change the fact that there was nowhere to run. Nebraska accomplished this by overloading the line of scrimmage and daring the Bears to pass, which they couldn't do. Darrell Bush carried 12 times for 17 yards and Chedrick Ricks picked up 28 yards on six runs.
Only three receivers caught passes in the game, and Lanny O'Steen was the only player who had more than one reception. With Nebraska crowding the line, the wide outs had a chance to make plays in single coverage and could not do it.
When the Huskers realized they did not need to respect the pass, they turned their attention to stopping the run and Baylor's offense stopped.
'As a unit, we have to get the job done,' tight end Andrew Obriotti said. 'We haven't gotten all 11 players clicking to make the big play.'
Obriotti had Baylor's biggest offensive play of the game, hauling in a 23-yard play-action pass from Tomcheck in the first quarter. Obriotti said run blocking was difficult because Nebraska's defensive ends were the best Baylor has seen this year.
The line would have been hard pressed to match up with Nebraska at full strength, much less without right guard Tyshaun Whitson and center Joe Jackson.
Everett Fraser, a converted guard, had to play center after Jackson's ankle injury flared up. Fraser held up about as well as could be expected, but as head Coach Kevin Steele said, 'Jackson's the starter for a reason.'
The score was already 7-0 when the defense got on the field, and it didn't get much better, as Nebraska piled up 459 yards rushing against the beleaguered Baylor front. Kevin Stevenson stood out on the line with six tackles, and Travis Hicks contributed three solo stops and a tackle for loss. Nose tackle Ryan Gillenwater is playing through pain with a right shoulder that tends to 'pop out' of place, in his words.
Aaron Lard did not make the trip due to disciplinary reasons.
John Garrett led the group with eight tackles, and McKinley Bowie played perhaps his best game of the year with five tackles, two for loss, and a forced fumble.
With heart-and-soul middle linebacker Kris Micheaux hobbled by a foot injury, Jason Lary found himself on the field more and made seven tackles.
'We can't do anything about the injuries,' Gillenwater said. 'I have as much confidence in Jason Lary as I do in Kris Micheaux.'
Cornerback Gary Baxter led the team with 12 tackles as the Nebraska running backs continually got to the last line of defense. Reserve safety Kyle Staudt was pressed into duty after Samir Al-Amin was injured and made nine tackles.
In the silver lining department, the Huskers only passed for 49 yards.
Not so good. Adam Stiles punted 11 times on the day, and had his first punt blocked and recovered for a touchdown, which essentially sealed Baylor's fate. Nebraska averaged more than 16 yards per punt return, and Bobby Hart fumbled away a punt in the third quarter.
Give the Bears credit, because they kept fighting and did not quit. However, they never even had a chance to build any momentum because of the miscues early in the game.
They were overmatched from the start, but getting a punt blocked, allowing five punt returns over 15 yards, being whistled for three consecutive penalties and air-mailing a snap over the quarterback's head are mistakes that cannot happen. The Bears may be the youngest team in the Big 12 Conference, but they know better than that.
Obviously, the offense needs to score points, but against the Longhorns they just need to focus on picking up first downs and playing fundamental football. Do that and the points will come.