BAYLOR BEARS

Baylor doomed by slow start in loss to Duke

The Bears were outscored 23-0 in the first two quarters and turned the ball over two times

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WACO - A smattering of boos showered the Baylor team as it walked off the field in the first half of Saturday's game against Duke.

Head coach Matt Rhule thinks the way the Bears were playing, the criticism was completely appropriate.

Baylor had a strong showing in the second half to make the game interesting, but the Bears gave up 23 unanswered points in the first half and lost to Duke 40-27, falling to the Blue Devils for the second straight season.

"We had more yards than they did and we had opportunities on opportunities," Rhule said. "We didn't make the plays, and anytime that happens, that falls on me. To go out there and beat ourselves and let it get away from us, we're disappointed."

Quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 175 yards and rushed for another 32 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Transfer quarterback Jalan McClendon threw one touchdown and one interception and rushed for a team-high 52 yards.

Baylor receiver Denzel Mims didn't play after going through warmups due to a strained hamstring. Tyquan Thornton stepped up in his absence, catching three passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

"That's who Tyquan is, that's who he is and that's why we brought him here," Rhule said. "He wants you to put the ball in the air and he'll go get it. You hope that will become contagious."

Both offenses took a little time to get up to speed in the first quarter, but the Blue Devils broke through first when running back Deon Jackson took a delayed handoff 31 yards for the opening touchdown.

Duke doubled its lead on its first drive of the second quarter, going 70 yards in five plays and scoring on a 28-yard pass from Quentin Harris to Marvin Hubbard. Collin Wareham hit a 35-yard field goal with just over four minutes left in the half to extend the Blue Devils' lead to 17-0.

Harris finished off a solid second quarter with a perfectly timed, 66-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Lloyd, who backed into the end zone.

Whatever Rhule told his team at the break seemed to spark something in the Bears' offense.

"I said we're going to keep trying to score and we went max blitz on defense," Rhule said. "I don't care if we lose 80-0 or 24-0, we're going to play. We're going to look at the tape on Monday and see who plays. It's in those moments when you find out who wants to do it or not."

Brewer rushed for a 3-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half and JaMycal Hasty returned a blocked punt 33 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing Duke drive to cut the lead to just 10 points.

The Blue Devils answered with a 7-yard touchdown strike but Jalan McClendon finds Tyquan Thornton from 25 yards out to keep the Bears close. McClendon threw a pick-6 with under four minutes to go to end any chance at a comeback.

"If anything, we did a good job of steadying the boat and calming the team down and trying to come back," Rhule said. "We're not in the position yet to where we can throw the balls up and overcome a lot of adversity. We're going to have to catch the football and make plays."

Baylor hosts Kansas next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. before going on the road to face off with No. 5 Oklahoma on Sept. 29.

"I love our older guys, but we're playing a lot of young guys too," Rhule said. "They'll do some good things at times and they'll make some mistake you have to coach through. I'm going to hope today was an anomaly. All these guys are learning how to win. When you win, sometimes you expect it to be easy the next week and it's not."

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