WACO (AP) — Baylor coach Matt Rhule remembers his message to the team after a lopsided loss two years ago midway through his first season.
“You guys are puppies, you are sophomores and freshmen. Just wait your turn, keep working hard and eventually you will be better,” Rhule recalled this week.
“So now we are better. We are not perfect, but we are a lot better than what we were, just because of age, just because of numbers.”
The No. 22 Bears (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) are a Top 25 team for the first time under Rhule. Their seven-game winning streak is the longest in the conference going into today’s home game against Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1).
“The story of the season so far to me is a bunch of juniors and seniors who weathered the storm, and now we are playing much better football,” said Rhule, whose team went 1-11 in 2017 before going 7-6 with a bowl victory last season.
Texas Tech is only halfway through coach Matt Wells’ first season. After a 39-point loss at No. 6 Oklahoma in their conference opener, the Red Raiders won 45-35 at home last week over Oklahoma State, just ranked for the first time this season.
“It’s something that I think gives you confidence, but the biggest thing is we’re just continuing to build the foundation and the culture of this program,” Wells said. “We came off a loss that was embarrassing, and had a tremendous sense of urgency and resolve that we were better than that, and that we couldn’t allow that happen.”
The game will be the 78th meeting in the series that dates to 1929 and is tied 38-38-1.