WACO (AP) — Bryce Petty and ninth-ranked Baylor closed out their old stadium with quite a fiesta.
In what became a de facto Big 12 championship game after Oklahoma State’s lost, Petty threw for 287 yards with touchdown passes on the first drives after halftime and the Bears won their first title in the league with a 30-10 victory over No. 23 Texas on Saturday.
The Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), who never even had a winning record in the Big 12 before coach Art Briles arrived six years ago, 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 that included an unexpected 36-20 win over Oklahoma.
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. They were chanting “Big 12 champs! Big 12 champs!” as time ran down and “We Are the Champions” blared loudly over the speakers with fans swarmed on the field.
The Bears took a while to get going, tied 3-all after being held without a touchdown before halftime for only the second time this year.
Baylor drove for a field goal on its opening drive, with Aaron Jones had the first of his three field goals, a 22-yarder after it appeared the Bears at least briefly pondered going for it on fourth-and-2 from the 5.
After that, the Bears had a questionable fake punt try — an incompletion by up-man Brody Trahan in their own territory — missed two field goal attempts (49 and 35 yards), had two three-and-outs and got only one first down on another drive before halftime.
The fake punt on the drive after Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt by Anthony Fera, who had tied a school record by making 15 in a row before that.
Fera did make a tying 42-yarder with 4½ minutes left in the first half.
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