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Bears' night spoiled by A&M comeback

Nov. 16, 2010

Daniel Cernero | Lariat Photo Editor
No. 23 running back Jay Finley leaps into the end zone for the score against Texas A&M Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. Finley finished with three touchdowns and 169 yards as the Bears fell to the Aggies, 42-30.

By Chris Derrett
Sports Editor

Baylor's 30-21 halftime lead over Texas A&M Saturday evaporated as the Bears were shutout in the second half, ultimately falling 42-30.

Senior running back Jay Finley rushed for 172 yards, becoming the seventh Bear to reach 1,000 yards in a single season, but his and the rest of the team's 503 yards of total offense were not enough.

"We're not blind. I looked in the crowd, I saw thousands of people up there, and we really wanted to bring this one home," senior Byron Landor said.

While everything seemed to work for the Bears in the first half, a reversal of fortune and a revived Texas A&M offense led to the final score.

Coach Art Briles said the momentum shifted toward the Aggies just before halftime.

With Baylor ahead 30-21 and five seconds left in the half, Aaron Jones' 41-yard field goal was blocked and scooped up by Texas A&M's Terrance Frederick. Fortunately for Baylor, redshirt freshman Brody Trahan stopped Frederick one yard short of the goal line.

Unfortunately for Briles' squad, it was a sign of things to come in the second half.

Jones missed two more field goals, one with Baylor holding a 30-21 lead and another when his team faced a 35-30 deficit.

"It was certainly not a highlight of the night," Briles said about his special teams unit. "We have got to get better. We have got to get better in a hurry."

The missed field goals were the only times the Bears came close to the red zone in the second half; the two drives leading to the misses lasted a combined 26 plays and five minutes. They accounted for 127 yards, 10 fewer than Baylor's entire second half offensive total.

Coming away with no points after such long drives, Briles said Monday, was impossible to swallow watching on film.

"It's something that you don't attempt to swallow because you might regurgitate it. So you just go ahead and dry heave and move on," he said.

In the other second-half drives, two punts and two turnovers told the rest of the story on a disappointing night for the green and gold faithful.

The Aggies took the lead for good after a Baylor punt deep in its own territory and a kick-catch interference call brought the ball to the 27-yard line. Two Cyrus Grey rushes later, Texas A&M was ahead.

"I don't know what it was. We knew we were going to have to come in and dink and dunk with coverage they were going to play against us. We moved the ball at times in the second half, but we just couldn't punch it in," sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin III said.

Early in the game, Texas A&M gave Baylor opportunities to build a commanding lead. The Aggies started with a three-and-out, leading to Jones' only field goal of the game, and the ensuing Aggie drive stalled on a fourth-and-5 inside Baylor territory.

Meanwhile Griffin and Finley kept their legs churning, combining for 126 rush yards in the first quarter. Griffin ignited the crowd for Baylor's second score, a 71-yard dash up the middle that gave his team a 10-0 advantage.

"I knew coming into the game we were going to have the run the ball whether it was with me or with Jay. I think we both did a good job of running the ball effectively. I was prepared for that," Griffin said.

Texas A&M helped Baylor again with a fumble on its own 26-yard line, which the Bears turned into a 17-7 lead on Finley's 1-yard dive up the middle.

Another Baylor special teams blunder led to Texas A&M pulling to within 24-14, as junior Coryell Judie returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for his second touchdown return in as many games.

Finley later scored on another 1-yarder, giving his team a 24-14 advantage, but his biggest run of the night was yet to come. Midway through the second quarter he burst through a hole for 69 yard and a 30-14 Baylor advantage following Jones' missed extra point.

From that point, Baylor would not score again, and Jones would not see another of his kicks sail through the uprights.

"It hurts bad. Speechless, honestly. For me and the seniors, that's something we took a lot of pride in. We wanted to go 2-2 against these guys, and we didn't. It hurts," senior safety Tim Atchison said.

Baylor has one final chance for a home win on Saturday against Oklahoma.