Oct. 30, 2004
By JOEL ANDERSON
AP Sports Writer
WACO, Texas (AP) - Shawn Bell threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Ziegler in overtime and they connected again for the game-winning 2-point conversion, lifting Baylor to a 35-34 upset of No. 16 Texas A&M on Saturday night.
After Texas A&M's Keith Joseph scored on a 16-yard touchdown run on the first possession of overtime, Bell and Ziegler led the Bears to the stunning finish.
Bell completed a pass for no gain on the Bears' first play, Anthony Krieg rushed for 13 yards on second down and then Bell rolled out to his right before finding Ziegler just inside the goal line.
Baylor coach Guy Morriss (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) boldly decided to go for the two, hoping to catch the Aggies by surprise.
In a huddle on the raucous sideline, Morriss told the players "Guys, we're going to go for it, is that what you want?," Bell said. "Everybody said, 'yes sir."'
It worked to perfection.
Baylor ran the same play again, with Bell scrambling around to his right looking for anyone in a green jersey. He zipped a pass to Ziegler just in front of A&M defensive back Melvin Bullitt for the score, setting off a wild celebration at a school that's had few things to party about in recent years.
Gold and green-clad students stormed the field, quickly taking down the goal posts in the south end zone and carrying them up and out of Floyd Casey Stadium. Loud music blared over the stadium speakers - oddly fitting at a Baptist university that didn't allow dances on campus until eight years ago - and a mosh pit formed on the field.
A&M players and fans watched the improbable scene in utter disbelief: the Aggies had won the last 13 games against their overmatched rival, including a 73-10 rout at College Station last year.
Baylor also ended an 11-game skid in the Big 12 and beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 1998, a 33-30 victory over 20th-ranked North Carolina State. The Bears are 38-143-5 against Top 25 teams.
This was an especially sweet night for Baylor after allowing a touchdown in the final minute of a 26-25 loss to Iowa State last week. Not to mention the years of futility against Texas A&M and nearly every other team in the Big 12 since the league formed in 1996.
Playing in relief of injured starter Dane King, Bell came through with a remarkable performance in his first start since the final two games of last season, both lopsided loss to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The sophomore from nearby China Spring completed 32 of 50 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns, two to Ziegler, who caught 12 passes for 121 yards.
The loss takes much of the steam out of the Aggies' matchup with No. 2 Oklahoma in College Station next Saturday. It would have been a showdown of unbeaten teams in the Big 12 South.
Not anymore. Baylor put an end to all the Aggies' big plans.
A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal committed his first two turnovers of the season in the loss, throwing an interception and losing a fumble. He had been the only starting quarterback in Division I-A without an interception thrown this season.
McNeal finished 20-of-31 for 268 yards with two touchdowns. He was sacked a season-high four times - he'd only been dropped five times coming into the game.
"We made too many mistakes tonight and they capitalized on those mistakes," McNeal said. "We remembered what happened last year and we knew they were going to be out to beat us tonight."
Baylor rallied from a 10-point deficit at halftime, and came back to tie the game four times in the second half.
Ziegler hauled in a 32-yard catch with just under six minutes left, streaking down the sideline for a touchdown that tied the game at 20.
McNeal responded quickly, finding Chad Schroeder way behind the Baylor defense for a 49-yard touchdown pass just four plays and 58 seconds later.
But Willie Andrews returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards to give the Bears excellent field position.
Bell and Co. took over from there.
The Bears went 41 yards in eight plays, with Bell capping the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Trent Shelton to tie the game at 27 and send the game into an extra period.