Quarterback Bryce Petty was understandably confident after leading Baylor to a 61-58 victory over TCU on Saturday that was every bit as wild and crazy as the score indicated.
Petty threw for 510 yards and six touchdowns, propelling him to Big 12 offensive player-of-the-week honors on Monday. More than that, his team felt invincible in erasing a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
“For us, it’s just another statement game,” Petty said afterward. “It’s another chance to prove that we’re here to stay.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
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This wasn’t the first crazy shootout the Big 12 has seen. Two years ago, Baylor was on the losing end of an even wilder game against West Virginia. Behind quarterback Geno Smith, the Mountaineers edged the Bears 70-63 in their first home game as a member of the conference.
It was the type of game that seemed bigger than it was. Many thought West Virginia would go on to compete for a conference championship. Its players talked the same way Petty did Saturday. Likewise, some thought Baylor would be unable to recover.
The reverse occurred. West Virginia lost six of its final nine games, finishing under .500 in league play. Baylor bounced back by winning five of its final six, including dominating victories over then undefeated Kansas State and UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.
Based on that history, TCU — past the most difficult stretch in its schedule — can still contend for a league championship. And Baylor needs to guard against overconfidence.
Perhaps that is why Baylor coach Art Briles said he didn’t care about the playoff implications of the victory.
“What it does for our football team is bring a lot of confidence and excitement,” Briles said Saturday.
The rest of the season will determine whether this TCU-Baylor shootout was a statement game for either team. Just like two years ago.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was asked Monday about the Cowboys “quietly” moving up to No. 15 in both top 25 polls this week.
His answer lacked enthusiasm.
“We are a very average football team,” Gundy said.
The jury is still out on Oklahoma State. At 5-1 with a narrow loss to No. 2 Florida State, it deserves respect. But the Cowboys might be a tad overrated. They haven’t beaten an opponent with a winning record. And they certainly didn’t look impressive in a 27-20 victory at Kansas. The highlight of their resume is that loss to the Seminoles.
K-State is in a similar position. The No. 14 Wildcats are still searching for their first victory over an FBS team that has a winning record.
Both will be tested this weekend, when Oklahoma State is host tos TCU, and K-State travels to Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State return man Tyreek Hill, a Garden City Community College transfer, had only one opportunity to return a kickoff against Kansas, and he took advantage. Hill returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to help Oklahoma State beat Kansas, which had kicked away from Hill the previous three quarters. He is the only Oklahoma State player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in back-to-back games.