ARLINGTON — Every Baylor fan’s worst nightmare came to fruition Saturday night when Heisman Trophy candidate Robert Griffin III wasn’t allowed to play the second half because of a head injury.
No problem, at least not this game, for the green and gold.
Against Texas Tech’s defense, even a quarterback who hasn’t played all year can do the trick.
Quarterback Nick Florence had his redshirt removed in Baylor’s 11th game of the season, and the one-time starter led the Bears to five second-half touchdowns in a 66-42 victory. And he had plenty of help from bruising running back Terrance Ganaway, who carried a school-record 42 times for a career-high 246 yards and two touchdowns.
“We’ve got to do a lot of recruiting. I think it’s pretty obvious,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “Heck, we’re giving up 500, 600, 700 yards a game and 40, 50, 60 points. I don’t care how good you are on offense, you can’t make up that.
“We’ll recruit from every area. We’ve got to recruit some junior college players, and then we’ve got to get some of these guys back that have to go through surgery.”
Tech ended the season 5-7, having allowed 34 or more points in each of its nine Big 12 Conference games — and having surrendered a school record 66 twice in the last three games. Oklahoma State beat Tech 66-6 in the Red Raiders’ final home game, racking up 637 yards in the process.
Baylor amassed 617, the Bears’ sixth 600-yard game of the year.
Tuberville promised defensive improvement when he took over in January 2010, but this season the Red Raiders’ results were no better than last. League opponents averaged 46 points against the Red Raiders.
“Our linebackers were so young,” Tuberville said. “We’re really not very big at linebacker. We’ve got to add to that area. We’ve got to add to the defensive line. There’s just multiple problems.
“Our guys busted our tails tonight. We’re way undersized — probably the smallest I’ve ever been around in terms of guys up the middle. We came off the ground, tried to make plays, but all year long we just weren’t able to get people in third and long.”
Tech appeared to have some momentum at halftime. The Red Raiders pulled within 31-28 on a Darrin Moore touchdown reception at eight seconds before the break. Then Griffin never left the sideline in the second half.
The senior quarterback took an apparent shot to the head on the previous series. As Griffin slid to a stop near the Tech sideline, cornerback Cornelius Douglas came in low at him and was flagged for targeting.
Griffin scored two plays later on a 3-yard run, but that was his last play of the night.
He said he suffered “concussion-like symptoms,” but wanted to play the second half. He was held out as a precaution.
Florence, a junior from South Garland, made seven starts in 2009 while Griffin was out with a torn knee ligament, but before Saturday, he hadn’t played since last year’s Texas Bowl. After Baylor missed a field goal on the first series of the second half, Florence connected with Kendall Wright for a 46-yard touchdown and with Terrance Williams for a 40-yard TD, extending the lead to 45-28.
And extending Tech’s season-long struggle against the pass. Tuberville this week described the team’s cornerback play as “awful.” The Red Raiders have used six starters at the two spots.
Wright beat cornerback Derrick Mays to the inside on a post route, and Williams caught a fly pattern over corner Cornelius Douglas.
Tech never got closer than 10 points after that.
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