Sept. 20, 2013
Editor's Note: In each home game program this fall, legendary Texas sportswriter and Baylor treasure Dave Campbell will reminisce about his most-memorable games of the decade being honored at Floyd Casey Stadium, starting with the 2000s and culminating with the 1950s when the Bears' 64-year-old home den opened its doors as Baylor Stadium. We hope you will enjoy this trip down memory lane each week as we relive some Baylor's greatest wins at The Case.
By Dave Campbell
Baylor's great season in 1980 makes it difficult to select the Bears' best home victory during the decade of the Eighties: so many great games that year and at least four of them at home. And in addition to those there are several other conquests in Waco that demand consideration - in 1982, Baylor's 24-17 victory over an undefeated, untied, No. 5-ranked Arkansas team which had not yielded a single touchdown in its previous four conference games; and a nerve-jangling 40-36 victory over super quarterback Steve Young and his Brigham Young teammates in the Bears' 1983 season opener.
The memorable victories at home in 1980 came against two-year defending SWC champion Houston, 24-12, the Bears' first victory over UH in conference play; the following week's victory against SMU, 32-28; a homecoming victory over Arkansas, 42-15, after the undefeated Bears, ranked No. 10 at that time, had just been rudely upset by San Jose State, 22-30; and a 16-0 shutout of No. 20-ranked Texas, 16-0. It was the last time a team would blank the Longhorns until Oklahoma did so in 2004, more than two decades later.
But of all the 1980 victories, my choice as the most unforgettable conquest and the most meaningful one was the one against SMU. That come-from-behind victory was the one that proved to the BU team that no mountain was too high to climb, and it did not lose in league play until it had nailed down the SWC title by a record-tying three full games and was Cotton Bowl bound.
SMU came to Waco undefeated, fueled by the lethal arm of Mike Ford and the running of high-powered sophomores Craig James and Eric Dickerson. And the Mustangs promptly jumped in front, 21-0, before Baylor got untracked. Although Jay Jeffrey later got the Bears in high gear, SMU was still ahead, 28-14, in the middle of the third quarter.
But the Bears were not to be denied. With Walter Abercrombie and Alfred Anderson pacing the infantry assault, Jeffrey hitting big-play buttons both aground and upstairs, Radar Holt making catches all over the field and Mike Singletary, Joe Campbell and Tommy Tabor making tackle after tackle, the Bears finally moved in front by four points. But Tabor and Campbell had to force an SMU fumble at the Baylor 8 with 21 seconds left to let Baylor fans know the final outcome would be the one they craved.