By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Walking into a joyous Baylor locker room for the first time, following Saturday's 38-9 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, head coach Matt Rhule was greeted with deafening chants of "No suits! No suits!"
That was the players' reward following their first win in nine tries - they got to pack their coats and ties and swap them for comfortable warm-ups for the one-hour flight back to Waco.
"There's a whole bunch of guys on our team who are over 300 pounds," said senior linebacker Taylor Young. "Having to button that top button around that 21-inch neck, that's a big deal. It was a huge motivation."
After two months of frustration and close calls, the Bears (1-8, 1-5) finally put it all together in their eighth straight win over the struggling Jayhawks (1-8, 0-6) in a series they've dominated.
Freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer, making his first start, was 23-of-29 for 315 yards and three touchdowns, added 22 yards on the ground and even caught a 20-yard pass from sophomore receiver Jared Atkinson. This kid can do it all.
"I thought he was really, really good," Rhule said. "We had a good plan to keep it simple for him, but he threw the ball down the field a good bit, and he had a chance at a couple other ones. So, we were aggressive. We know Charlie is a good player and he can run around and make some plays."
Brewer, who was en route to leading Lake Travis to the 6A state championship this time a year ago, didn't seem the least bit nervous.
"I felt ready to go, I felt prepared," he said. "I think all the other guys did, too, and that showed."
This was easily the defense's best performance of the year. A week after rolling up 482 yards in a 30-20 loss to Kansas State, the Jayhawks could muster only 289 yards total against the Bears, including just 45 after the opening drive of the third quarter.
"It took us a little while to get going on offense, but I thought our defense was really, really good today," Rhule said. "That was a quarterback (Carter Stanley) that threw for over 400 yards last week. I thought we did a good job of getting pressure, and I thought (defensive coordinator Phil Snow) called a great game. We kept the ball in front of us and were able to get a couple turnovers and were really good on third down."
Kansas was just 3-of-16 on third down and failed to score a touchdown for the third time in its last four games. The Jayhawks were shut out in back-to-back losses on the road at Iowa State and TCU.
Here's how rare that was for Baylor's defense. The Bears had never held a Big 12 opponent without a touchdown on the road. Ever. And the last time they didn't allow a touchdown in a conference game was a 17-3 win over Kansas State on Sept. 30, 2006.
"To go on the road and keep the other team out of the end zone, even there at the end, I thought that was special," Rhule said.
The Jayhawks actually got on the board first. On a 15-play, 75-yard drive that included a fake punt from their own 41-yard line, they went up 3-0 on Gabriel Rui's 38-yard field goal on the second play of the second quarter.
All that did was wake up a Baylor offense that went nowhere in a hurry in a scoreless first quarter.
"I think Charlie put it somewhere where only I could get it," said Holmes, who caught four passes for 66 yards and his first touchdown reception. "It was a great ball, and I knew I had to adjust to it, and that's what I did."
Rhule said it was also "just a great play call" by co-offensive coordinator Jeff Nixon. "That was something we had way down the (play) sheet."
"Jeff saw something and went to it," Rhule said. "Charlie just made a play and threw it where only Gavin could get it."
On the next scoring drive, Brewer was a perfect 5-for-5 for 61 yards and capped it with a beautiful 25-yard TD pass to tight end Jordan Feuerbacher to give the Bears a 14-3 lead at the 7:03 mark in the second quarter. It was the senior tight end's first TD catch of the season and third of his career.
"I don't think we've ever thrown that ball, it's never been there," Rhule said. "Charlie saw it and made a play."
Feuerbacher, playing with his third quarterback this season and at least his eighth in the last four years, said Brewer is "out there trying to run guys over and make plays with his feet and arm."
"It gives you a little something extra when you have someone out there like that for you," he said.
After Rui booted a 40-yarder, cutting the deficit to 14-6, JaMycal Hasty had a 36-yard kickoff return to kick-start a quick-answering drive by the Bears.
Brewer connected with Mims on a 30-yard pass and found Trestan Ebner out of the backfield for another 22 down to the 4-yard line. Holmes, scoring his second touchdown of the half and his career, took an inside handoff and scored from four yards out to make it 21-6 at the half.
"I kind of waited for the hole open, and it did," said Holmes, who became the second Baylor freshman (Ebner) this season to score on a reception and run in the same game. "I hit it and scored."
The Kansas offense showed some signs of life at the start of the third quarter, driving 64 yards in 11 plays and eating more than four minutes off the clock. But, Stanley missed receivers Steven Sims and Ryan Schadler on passes, with Rui connecting from 43 yards for his third field goal of the day and 13th of the season.
And that was pretty much it for the Jayhawks' offensive production. They made just one more first down the rest of the day until a late drive against the Baylor reserves.
"We shut them out in the fourth quarter, and that was a big goal for us as a team," said Young, who registered his 11th double-digit tackle game with 10 stops, one sack and two other tackles for losses.
Terence Williams, who finished with 62 yards on 23 totes, scored from a yard out on a fourth-and-goal that extended Baylor's lead to 28-9 late in the third quarter.
"I looked at the defense and said, `What do y'all think?''' Rhule said of his decision to go for it instead of kicking a field goal. "I think they would have fought me if I didn't go for it, because they felt confident they could go out and make a stop. That really comes from Taylor and (senior safety Taion Sells) and those guys. They played really well in the back end and at linebacker today."
The Bears tacked on two more scores in the fourth, with Connor Martin drilling a 38-yard field goal for his 15th of the season and then Brewer hitting tight end Ishmail Wainright for a nine-yard touchdown for the former basketball standout's first catch and TD.
"I've got a little headache, because everyone was slapping me upside my head,"said Wainright, a Kansas City native who had never beaten the Jayhawks' basketball team in Lawrence. "It was exciting, especially being at home and being at KU. It's my first time winning against them in four years."
Baylor will play its last three games within the state of Texas, facing Texas Tech (4-5, 1-5) at 11 a.m. next Saturday, Nov. 11, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Red Raiders blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead and lost to Kansas State, 42-35, in overtime.
"Every time they got knocked down and got back up, I was proud of them," Rhule said. "I was proud of them last week, I was proud of them the week before. So today, I'm just happy for them. I hope they go out and enjoy the win and then they come in and say, `What's next?'''
KANSAS CITY NATIVE FINALLY BEATS JAYHAWKS
Wainright Gets 1st Catch, Touchdown in Road Win over Kansas
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
LAWRENCE, Kan. - As a Kansas City native who grew up watching Kansas basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse, Ishmail Wainright says "playing against KU is amazing."
As part of the Baylor basketball team, the 6-foot-5 forward averaged 3.0 points against the Jayhawks and went 0-10 over the previous four seasons.
That's what made Saturday so special.
Not only did the senior tight end make his first catch with a nine-yard TD pass from Charlie Brewer with 2:31 left in the game, Wainright was finally on the winning end as the Baylor football team posted its first win of the season in beating the Jayhawks, 38-9, at Memorial Stadium.
"It was exciting, especially being at home and being at KU," he said. "It's my first time winning against them."
While his first catch and touchdown didn't come until the last three minutes of the game, Wainright saw his most extensive action of the season in two-tight end sets with Jordan Feuerbacher.
"With all the injuries, we knew we were going to have to use Ish more, we knew we were going to have to use Feuerbacher more," head coach Matt Rhule said. "Those guys have been working hard and they block for us and go out and do so much. To see them go out there and make a big contribution was awesome."
Through the first eight games, the Baylor tight ends had combined for just three catches and zero touchdowns. But, in Saturday's win, Feuerbacher hauled in a 25-yard TD pass in the second quarter and Wainright capped off the scoring with his nine-yard scoring catch.
"I tried to get up before him, because the DBs can actually jump," Wainright said of his high-point catch that he played like an alley oop on the basketball court. "(The Kansas DB) was a little smaller than me, so I had an advantage. He wasn't really looking at the ball, he was looking at me, eye-to-eye. He was staring at my eyes. I tried to play it off of him, too. The ball was in the perfect spot."
Wainright, who hadn't played football since the ninth grade, was reminded of a similar catch in the spring game. Just four days after donning pads for the first time in eight years, he hauled in a leaping 23-yard catch on a TD pass from Brewer.
"If you remember, in the spring game, he threw the exact same pass," Wainright said of Brewer. "Before the game, he was like, `Hey, I feel another one's coming.' We looked at each other. There's another one coming, you just don't know when."
NOTE: Wainright's paternal grandfather, Maurice King, was the first African-American starter in Kansas basketball history and was part of the 1957 team with Wilt Chamberlain that lost to North Carolina in three overtimes, 54-53, in the NCAA national championship game. King, who died in 2007, later won an NBA title with the Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics in 1960.