No running game? No problem for Baylor, at least thus far.
Despite averaging exactly minus-one yard per carry, Baylor overcame an early seven-point deficit to rally and take a 24-14 lead into halftime. The Bears ran for minus-six yards, although the running game, which came into the postseason 20th in the country at 235.2 yards per game, was seemingly an unused decoy as they had just six rush attempts.
What the Bears lacked in rushing they more than made up in the passing game, though. BU passed for 298 yards in the half, with Bryce Petty passing for 245 yards and a touchdown. The yardage set a Cotton Bowl record for one half of play. Petty also added, oddly enough, a rushing touchdown.
The other 53 yards passing in the half came on a touchdown throw from wide receiver Jay Lee to Corey Coleman on a double-pass play.
The Spartans scored a touchdown on each of its first two possessions on drives that totaled 135 yards, but went scoreless on its next four drives as they managed just 123 yards of offense. MSU’s fourth drive of the game could’ve resulted in at least three points, but a bizarre option play on third down from the BU 27 that lost six yards gave way to a failed fourth-down run off a fake field goal.
One of the bright spots for Sparty’s first-half offense was running back Jeremy Langford, who ran for 113 yards on 15 carries. It was Langford’s 10th straight 100-yards game after failing to break that plateau in the season’s first three games.
Unfortunately for the team on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Baylor will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. More bad news for Michigan State? Baylor has never lost a game during the Art Briles era when leading by at least 10 points at halftime.