No. 9 Baylor headed to Fiesta Bowl after Big 12 title win over Texas
Turn out the lights, the fiesta is just getting started for No. 9 Baylor.
These Bears are headed to a BCS game as the Big 12 champion, making a reality out of the goal that seemed so far out of reach when Art Briles became their coach six years ago.
"That’s what hit me," quarterback Bryce Petty said. "This is where it is, this is where that vision was."
In what became a de facto Big 12 championship game after Oklahoma State’s loss, Petty threw for 287 yards with touchdown passes on the first drives after halftime and the Bears beat No. 23 Texas 30-10 on Saturday in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium after 64 seasons.
"It’s a defining moment for our program," Briles said, adding he hopes they can repeat it multiple times.
"We always believed with him," big offensive guard Cyril Richardson said. "We weren’t going to disappoint him."
The Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), who never even had a winning record in the Big 12 before Briles arrived, have the first 11-win season in school history and are headed to the Fiesta Bowl. That is the reward for their first outright title in any league since winning the Southwest Conference on 1980 when Mike Singletary called Floyd Casey Stadium home.
Antwan Goodley made a nifty one-handed grab on a slant pass for an 11-yard TD, one play after Petty overthrew his wide-open tight end at the goal line. After Texas (8-4, 7-2) went three-and-out, Lache Seastrunk had three consecutive runs for 28 yards and Glasco Martin ran 10 yards to help set up Petty’s 6-yard TD pass to Levi Norwood and a 17-3 lead.
Texas coach Mack Brown made joking references all week about being the only coach in America playing for a conference championship while also shrugging off speculation that he could be replaced.
Well, the intense speculation about Brown’s future is certain to increase now. The regular season is over for the Longhorns without a Big 12 title after losing two of three games — just like the year started before a six-game winning streak.
"I’m disappointed in the loss, obviously," said Brown, who didn’t want to talk about his future. " I told them they played hard enough, played tough enough, but we didn’t make the plays we needed to make. `’
Norwood came to the postgame interview wearing a cap that read "RIP Floyd Casey," and said it was hard to put into words what the final game in the stadium and the Big 12 championship meant.
Ahmad Dixon, the senior safety who grew up in Waco, placed in front of the podium a sign declaring the Bears Big 12 champion. He then told everyone to hold their questions, then reached down and pulled out two bags of Tostitos, the sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl.
"What does this mean to me?" Dixon said repeating a question, hold up the sign as an answer. "That’s about is. … It was all just a dream, and that dream just became a reality."
Petty finished 21 of 37, with Goodley catching eight of those for 114 yards. Martin rushed for 102 yards with 18-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, one play after officials wiped out K.J. Morton’s touchdown on a 60-yard interception return when he was penalized for celebrating before getting into the end zone.
Malcolm Brown ran 25 times for 131 yards for the Longhorns. Case McCoy completed only 12 of 34 passes for 54 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown. The score was a 2-yarder to Brown while scrambling on fourth down after the Longhorns took a field goal off the board after a Baylor penalty on the made kick.
About the same time the coin toss was happening at midfield in Waco, No. 18 Oklahoma was wrapping up its 33-24 over No. 6 Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2), which with convincing victories over both Baylor and Texas last month was in the position to win the Big 12’s guaranteed BCS berth.
Before moving next year into a new $260 million stadium on campus, along busy Interstate 35 and the Brazos River, Baylor had a memorable finish in the final game after 64 seasons at Floyd Casey.
Fans in black, green or gold didn’t even seem to mind the bitter cold — the temperature was 24 degrees at kickoff with the wind chill making it feel much colder. And most stayed around to share in the celebration and a stadium closing ceremony, chanting "Big 12 champs!" and "BCS!" That ceremony ended with representatives from different eras in Baylor history turning over one of the eight light standards in the stadium. The last was Briles.
"It was emotional for everybody," Norwood said. "Everybody knew it was there, whether it was outright or a share. We wanted to be Big 12 champs."