Oct. 9, 2008
Saturday, October 26, 1996 was a day of chances for the Baylor Bear football squad.
After sweeping through its three non-conference foes, the Bears had proceeded to drop their first three Big 12 conference games of 1996. With the Bears playing host to Iowa State in its fourth game of the newly created Big 12 Conference, Baylor saw a chance to end a three game losing streak and to record their first ever Big 12 Conference win.
With a heartbreaking 28-24 home loss the previous week to Oklahoma, it was a chance to wash away the bitter taste of disappointment.
Awaiting the Bears in this Homecoming matchup were the Iowa State Cyclones (2-4, 1-2). It was only the second meeting between the two teams, with Baylor taking the 1988 contest 35-0 in Ames.
Making things difficult for Baylor's defense was Cyclone running back Troy Davis who was one of the nation's leading rushers and a Heisman hopeful. The Bears' offense would also be without junior quarterback Jeff Watson due to back spasms.
After winning the toss, things went downhill quickly for the Bears and they found themselves in a 21-7 hole with 10:54 left in the second quarter.
However, the Bears responded in a big way and over the next 41 minutes of football Baylor would outscore the Cyclones 42-0 to walk away with a 49-21 victory.
"Our character and hard work finally paid off," Baylor head coach Chuck Reedy said. "We started off slow, but we played hard for 60 minutes and were finally able to take control of the football game."
It was three big plays that got the Bears back on track in the second half. The first was a 68-yard touchdown pass from Jermaine Alfred to Pearce Pegross in the third quarter that gave the Bears a 14 point cushion. The second big play came on the first play of the fourth quarter as Jerod Douglas scampered into the end zone from 67 yards out. The final big play closed out the scoring for Baylor as freshman sensation Elijah Burkins scored on a 24 yard rush up the middle.
For the game Baylor running backs Douglas and Burkins racked up 154 and 142 yards respectively; outdueling Iowa State's Davis who tallied 138 yards on the ground. It was the Bears first game with two backs over 100 yards since 1993 vs. SMU.
Alfred also had a spectacular day finishing with 227 yards and three touchdowns on 16 of 27 passing. Watson found nine different receivers in the game and helped Baylor gain 624 yards of total offense. It was the first time Baylor had eclipsed the 600 yard mark since rolling up 649 yards against Missouri on September 21, 1991.
"We've been through some tough times the past three weeks," Reedy said. "Today we just focused on being a fundamentally sound football team and we saw the results of that."