Nov 22, 2015 12:46 AM
No. 10 Baylor beats No. 4 Oklahoma State 45-35
The Associated Press
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Even with its third-string quarterback, Baylor's top-ranked offense moved with its usual efficiency.
Chris Johnson threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, and No. 10 Baylor beat previously unbeaten Oklahoma State 45-35 on Saturday night to climb back into the College Football Playoff picture.
Baylor starter Jarrett Stidham took several hard hits in the first half and did not play after the break. Original starter Seth Russell is out for the season after he fractured a bone in his neck.
Johnson kept the offense moving, passing for 138 yards and running for 42. Baylor coach Art Briles said he expected Johnson to be effective.
"Everything he did was not surprising to us," Briles said. "He is an extremely talented player that just has a gracious attitude about him. He's just a great, great teammate. I'm really happy for him from that standpoint tonight."
Briles said Stidham was in bad shape after the game, and his status at TCU on Friday is uncertain.
"Honestly, he's not very good," Briles said. "We'll have to hustle to see whether he's able to go six days from now. It's his right ankle and hand. He got the hand hit real early in the game.
"It's real puffy, it's swollen up. They don't think there's a break in there. I'm not sure they've X-rayed it. He was having trouble gripping the ball."
The Bears still gained 700 yards and ran 104 plays. They ran for 304 yards and passed for 396. KD Cannon caught five passes for 210 yards to help the Bears bounce back from a 44-34 loss to Oklahoma last week.
"I wouldn't say we were mad," Cannon said. "We were hungry. Everybody was talking down on us once again. We was hungry to show that we can be successful again."
Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 10 CFP) also remained in the mix for the conference title.
Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1, No. 6 CFP), though still a contender in the Big 12, likely is out of playoff conversation. The Cowboys would at worst share the Big 12 championship with a win next Saturday at home against Oklahoma. The Sooners squeaked past TCU 30-29 on Saturday night.
Mason Rudolph passed for 430 yards and three touchdowns, and James Washington and Jalen McCleskey each caught two touchdown passes for the Cowboys, but the Cowboys rushed for 8 yards on 23 carries.
Baylor, which entered Saturday's game leading the nation in yards per game and points per game, set the tone immediately. Corey Coleman caught a 48-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, then Shock Linwood's 5-yard touchdown run put the Bears ahead 56 seconds into the game.
Less than a minute later, Oklahoma State got a scare when Brandon Sheperd was ruled to have fumbled and Baylor took it in for a touchdown. The call was reversed.
Baylor eventually scored anyway after Oklahoma State punted. Stidham threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Cannon to make it 14-0 with 11:56 left in the first quarter.
A 39-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Washington tied it 14.
Baylor went ahead on a 1-yard run by Devin Chafin, and a short field goal put the Bears up 24-14 at halftime. Baylor gained 439 yards and ran 61 plays in the first half, but had two critical fumbles that kept Oklahoma State in the game. It was the fifth time the Cowboys trailed at the half in their past eight games.
Stidham completed 12 of 22 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Johnson threw touchdown passes on his first two possessions of the second half to put the Bears in control.
"They were able to run the ball behind those big guys, and then they were able to throw down the field to those fast guys," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "When they're hitting on that segment of their offense, they're tough to deal with."
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP