WACO, Texas — Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was able to smile even after talking about what an ugly game it was for the Bears’ offense.
Maybe now people will start to believe the fifth-ranked Bears are really good.
They’re still undefeated after a 41-12 victory over 12th-ranked Oklahoma on Thursday night in their first big test of the season.
“We’re just talented, man. We’re committed. I think that’s all you can say about it,” Petty said. “It’s a very special team.”
Baylor (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) scored twice in the final minute before halftime and stretched its school-record winning streak to 12 games since a loss at Oklahoma last November. The Bears are 8-0 for the first time.
Even though Baylor came in leading the nation in scoring (64 points per game) and total offense (718 yards per game) — and was outscoring opponents by an average margin of 48 points — many questioned how good the Bears were after getting into November without playing a ranked opponent.
They have now, and they responded with an impressive victory against a team that used to routinely overwhelm them. And they did it without scoring a touchdown in the first quarter for the first time during their winning streak.
“We didn’t really feel like us the first quarter and a half of the game, but that has a lot to do with who you’re playing,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “We were playing a team with good tradition, and tradition does die easily.”
Petty threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and third-string running back Shock Linwood ran for 182 yards.
Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2) has a 21-2 lead in the series, but both losses have come in its last two trips to Floyd Casey Stadium for prime-time games.
“Everyone talks about their offense, which is really good,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “But I knew that their defense is really good with all the seniors that they have.”
Running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin got banged up in the game, so Linwood ran 23 times. The Bears also were missing top receiver Tevin Reese, who was without a catch before dislocating his right wrist. He spent the second half on the sideline with his arm in a sling, and Briles said afterward he hopes Reese could be back for a bowl game.
“To come out with the win even though it was ugly was good for us,” Petty said.
Baylor trailed 5-3 after a strange sequence that started at the end of the first quarter when the Bears were penalized 38 yards on one play, and had a player’s ejection overturned before he made a touchdown-saving play.
After Petty scored on a 1-yard keeper with a minute to go in the first half, Oklahoma gave the ball right back when Blake Bell threw an interception right into the arms of linebacker Eddie Lackey at the Sooners 38.
Petty ran 14 yards on third-and-10 before a double-pump throw to Antwan Goodley, whose Big 12-leading ninth TD catch was a spectacular grab with both arms fully extended. He held on for a 24-yard play that put the Bears up 24-5 at halftime.
“I don’t want to say we got tired, but you could tell that stuff was taking a toll on us because we kept going back out there. It showed in our play when we went back out there on the field,” Sooners linebacker Frank Shannon said. “It was real frustrating, but we’re a team so we’ve got to put that behind us.”
Goodley made it 10 touchdown receptions he had a 25-yard catch with 9 minutes left in the game. He finished with six catches for 80 yards.
Petty completed 13 of 26 passes for a season-low 204 yards. He ran 16 times for 45 yards.
Bell finished 15-of-35 passing for 150 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Oklahoma had 237 total yards.
The Bears are 5-0 at home against Top 25 teams since the start of the 2011 season. That includes a 45-38 win over the Sooners two years ago in a game that likely clinched the Heisman Trophy for Robert Griffin III, and 52-24 last November over Kansas State, which arrived in Waco as the No. 1 team in the BCS standings.
Baylor got penalized 38 yards on one play late in the first quarter, including a targeting penalty and two flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, setting up Oklahoma at the 7.
The Sooners failed to score when Bell was tackled for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 1 by cornerback K.J. Morton, who had been called for targeting only a few plays earlier.
Morton was flagged after a vicious hit on Sterling Shepard that knocked the ball loose and laid out the receiver. Officials reviewed the play and determined it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, overturning Morton’s ejection and keeping him in the game. But the penalty still stood, and there was extra yardage tacked on for the calls against cornerback Ahmad Dixon for unnecessary roughness and then taking his helmet off while on the field.
“I was amped up at the beginning of the game,” Dixon said.
Two plays after Bell was stopped on fourth down, Petty was sacked in the end zone by Dominique Alexander for a safety. Jalen Saunders then returned the free kick 55 yards to the Baylor 12, though the Sooners had to settle for Michael Hunnicutt’s 22-yard field goal.
Baylor went ahead to stay wen Petty ran 5 yards for a score to make it 10-5, a drive that started with Linwood gaining 20 yards on his first carry.
Oklahoma finally got in the end zone when Bell threw a 10-yard TD pass to Roy Finch on a fourth-and-3 play with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
“Defensively, I thought we were extremely potent all through the game,” Briles said.