ARLINGTON, Texas — A week after shaking up the Bowl Championship Series, the Baylor Bears are finally bowl eligible themselves.
“We got players and we got a team that fights,” quarterback Nick Florence said. “A month ago, people were writing us off and this team fought hard. It means a lot.”
In their 11th game, the Bears overcame three missed field goals — including one on the final play of a wild fourth quarter — before winning 52-45 in overtime against Texas Tech on Saturday.
Baylor (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) didn’t lead until Eddie Lackey’s 55-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Lackey had another pick with 1:46 left but Aaron Jones, whose 22-yard field goal a minute before that turnover tied the game, missed wide left on a 48-yard kick.
Glasco Martin scored on a 4-yard run in overtime for the Bears. The game ended on a fourth-down incompletion by Seth Doege after Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5) started its ensuing drive with a holding penalty.
Baylor was coming off a 52-24 victory over Kansas State, then the No. 1 team in the BCS standings.
With Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III watching from the Bears sideline at Cowboys Stadium, two days after the rookie led the Washington Redskins to a victory there over the Dallas Cowboys, Baylor got bowl eligible for the third consecutive season. That’s a first in school history.
“It’s real big. When we first got here, we wanted to turn the program around, which we did,” senior receiver Lanear Sampson said.
“Reflect on it? No. Appreciate it? Yes,” coach Art Briles said. “I’m appreciative of our team becoming bowl eligible in what I think is the toughest conference in America.”
The teams combined for 1,241 total yards (674 for Baylor and 567 for Tech).
Florence completed 22 of 37 passes for 396 yards and three touchdowns.