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Takeaways: Baylor Earns Bowl Berth, Ending Kingsbury Era At Texas Tech

Baylor managed to get to a bowl, and the Red Raiders are left searching for a head coach. With so much on the line, there’s plenty to unpack with this one.

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Getty Images - John Weast

The Red Raiders and Bears met in a battle for a sixth win, and even though it was close for most of the game, in the end Baylor was able to close it out.

Despite dealing with injuries at quarterback, Texas Tech was played well enough on both sides of the ball to take a 17-14 lead into halftime. Eventually, however, the Bears were able to start making plays on the Red Raiders’ defense, and the Baylor defense clamped down, allowing only one more score.

Playing ball control football, Baylor closed out a game that ended with the Bears on top 35-24. Below we go into some impressions from this contest, which was the last of the regular season for both squads.

MATT RHULE IS BUILDING THINGS

The Bears were ultimately the more physical football team in this game, and Matt Rhule’s squad is finally starting resemble what he wants in Waco. Baylor was able to get a big second half lead and then run out the clock.

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And “Run” would be the operative word there – the Bears put up 170 yards on 51 rushes. That allowed the Bears to control time of possession in this game and hold the ball for 10:44 in the fourth quarter to salt this one away.

BREWER WAS A DIFFERENCE MAKER

Charlie Brewer is the leader of this team and made plays all day. The true sophomore quarterback threw for 308 yards and 9.9 yards per play.

Baylor’s success in the passing game really illustrates why the Bears look like a different team this season, namely in their ability to make plays and score consistently. The Bears averaged 14 yards per reception, and scored almost all but one time they got the ball into Texas Tech territory. Any time they did so, Baylor was a threat to go deep with their passing attack:

A WIN MIGHT NOT HAVE SAVED KLIFF’S JOB, BUT IT WOULDN’T HAVE HURT

A win was not to be had in AT&T Stadium for the Red Raiders, though. Skeptics of the rationale for firing Kliff Kingsbury will point to injuries at the quarterback position, which had Texas Tech down two of their top three signal callers.

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Even the guy who started the game behind center was visibly limited the entire game. McLane Carter dealt with a lingering high ankle sprain all game, and it was practically impossible for him to do more than just stand in the pocket.

To his credit, Carter never missed a snap. But his efforts were for naught, and the injury contributed to many errant throws and made the junior a target for Baylor rushers all night. Texas Tech was still able to score, but it took a strong effort running the ball and big plays from their wide receivers.

In the end, Kliff Kingsbury – known for being a quarterback guru – ran out of healthy quarterbacks, and could only do so much with the banged up pieces he had to work with.

DESPITE GETTING TAKEAWAYS, THE RED RAIDERS NEEDED MORE DEFENSE

With a hobbled McLane Carter at quarterback, the Red Raiders needed their defense to step up in AT&T Stadium. They did manage to get two turnovers, but they couldn’t keep Baylor out of the end zone.

This was one of the most experienced defenses in the country coming into 2018, and definitely Kingsbury’s most experienced. In a game where they needed this unit to step up, however, Texas Tech gave up 478 total yards of offense.

At least one of those interceptions was good enough to make a highlight reel:

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