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Oklahoma overwhelms bowl-bound Bears, 53-24

Nov. 21, 2010

Daniel Cernero | Photo Editor
No. 23 running back Jay Finley rushes the ball for 50 yards against Oklahoma Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. Finley finished with 83 yards on the ground as the Bears ended the regular season 7-5 after a 53-24 loss to the Sooners.

By Chris Derrett
Sports Editor

Saturday's senior day at Floyd Casey Stadium quickly turned disappointing for Baylor as Oklahoma blew past the Bears, 53-24.

Senior Jay Finley finished his final game in Waco with 83 yards on the ground, one of few bright spots for an offense that sputtered from the beginning.

"I didn't say anything to the seniors because it's not over," coach Art Briles said. "When I was hearing the fight song I was thinking the next time I'm hearing that, we're winning a bowl game."

Sophomore Robert Griffin was held to a season-low 124 passing yards, threw an interception returned for a touchdown and was sacked twice.

The No. 14 ranked Sooners put three touchdowns on the board before the first quarter ended. Demarco Murray's 76-yard scamper after catching a swing pass broke the scoreless tie. The Sooners later forced a Baylor turnover on downs at the Bears' own 33-yard line and scored four plays later for a 14-0 lead.

Another Baylor miscue, senior Krys Buerck's muffed punt, led to Oklahoma's 1-play, 8-yard touchdown drive and a 21-0 Sooners advantage.

Before Finley's 50-yard rush with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Bears had 31 yards of total offense and 35 in offensive penalties.

"We have playmakers on the field, and it's our job to make plays no matter what the call is, what the defense does. We have to go out there and execute," Griffin said.

Defensively the Bears saw a strong start with sophomore Gary Mason Jr. intercepting Landry Jones on the Sooners' game-opening drive. But Griffin and the offense managed only four yards before being forced to punt. It appeared that Baylor had a fake punt run opportunity, but a false start on the play changed the fourth-and-6 to a fourth-and-11.

Griffin found senior Brad Taylor on a 12-yard touchdown toss to cut the lead to 21-7, but before the halftime gun, Oklahoma added touchdowns on drives of 72 and 59 yards and a field goal to push it back to 34-7.

Griffin's pick-six came four plays into the second half. A 50-yard touchdown strike from Jones to Kenny Stills later gave the Sooners a 48-10 lead, and a fumble on the ensuing kickoff resulted in a safety.

Senior Byron Landor admitted the difficulty in seeing such a loss in his last game at Floyd Casey Stadium.

"I hate walking off the field knowing that this is my last time playing. These last three weeks have been hard; I hate ending it like that," he said.

By the time the Baylor offense found any semblance of rhythm, the game was out of hand. Aaron Jones nailed a third quarter, 44-yard field goal, his first since missing three straight against Texas A&M last weekend.

Sophomore Jarred Salubi capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Later he dashed 38 yards for another score.

With its regular season finished at 7-5, Baylor now turns its attention to the school's first bowl appearance in 16 years.

"Like coach said, the 2010 season is over, 7-5," senior Phil Taylor said. "We are just treating the bowl game like a new season."

Daniel Cernero | Photo Editor
No. 10 quarterback Robert Griffin III carries the ball in the second half against Oklahoma Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. Griffin finished the game throwing for 124 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for another 83 yards.