Baylor completes largest comeback in school history over UCF

The Bears scored 29 unanswered points to beat the Knights 36-35
Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen (12) crosses the goal line in front of Central Florida...
Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen (12) crosses the goal line in front of Central Florida defensive back Nikai Martinez to score a touchdown on a 2-yard run during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)(John Raoux | AP)
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT
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ORLANDO, Florida (KWTX) - It has been a less than stellar front half of the season for the Baylor Bears, and the University of Central Florida Knights and the fans at the Bounce House were ready and willing to give the Bears a firm reminder that they are now Big 12 rivals and they belong in the Power 5.

The Bears did welcome quarterback Blake Shapen back to the field after he was sidelined with a knee injury he sustained during the first game of the season. It was a welcomed sight for an offense that was less than stellar in absence.

Unfortunately for Baylor, Shapen doesn’t play defense. UCF was able to take advantage of what seemed like a hapless Baylor defense from the jump. On the very first play from scrimmage, UCF running back Johnny Richardson broke off a 79 yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 early.

It was the longest play from scrimmage for UCF this year and the longest run of Richardson’s career.

The Knights would score two more times in the first quarter before Baylor could respond.

With two minutes left in the first quarter, Shapen, still wearing a large knee brace on his left leg, scrambled for touchdown.

The Bears were eventually able to string together some stops in the second quarter and were driving to make it a one score game, when Baylor running back Dominic Richardson, who was seemingly stopped and possibly down after a run, had the ball taken from him by safety Demari Henderson and take all the way back to the house for 87 yard touchdown. The play was reviewed and would ultimately stand.

The UCF lead would grow as large as 35-7. But just as all hope seemed lost for Baylor, the Bears began to attempt the improbable, complete the largest comeback in program history.

Lead by Shapen and speedy receiver Monaray Baldwin, the Bears offense was able to chip away the UCF defense little by little and eventually bring the score within 9 at 35-26.

It was almost a case of too little too late as the Knights were driving to ice the game in the fourth quarter. But with 6:02 left in the game Caden Jenkins recovered a fumble and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a shot only down 2, 35-33.

Baylor played hard nosed defense down the stretch, pressuring Timmy McClain the entire second half and forced the Knights to punt the following drive.

The Bears would get the ball back with 4:46 left in contest with a chance to take the lead.

Shapen looked to Baldwin to make a play as he had all afternoon, and the Killeen native came through taking a broken screen play 36 yards to the redzone. The Bears would take a 36-35 lead on a 25 yard Isaiah Hankins field goal.

UCF would have 1:14 to try and get into field goal range and they nearly did after Timm McClain made one of the more insane plays you’ll ever see. (video below)

Despite the heroics and absurdity from McClain, a 59 yard field goal attempt by Colton Boomer would fall well short, and Baylor will be able to sneak out of Orlando having completed a comeback for the record books and possibly salvaging what looked like a lost season.