Fan column: a trip to and through Waco

Jeremy Kolok

Sports Blogger

@JeremyKolok

 

After leaving Stillwater with my road trip crew for the five-hour drive to Waco, Texas, our attempts for an on-time arrival for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff between Baylor and Oklahoma State were foiled by a number of factors, which seemingly foreshadowed the outcome of the game.

We amazingly avoided Fort Worth traffic and arrived at our hotel in Waco about 30 minutes before kickoff. After checking in, we headed for the stadium and knew that we needed to find parking, as we were visitors in enemy territory for the first time this season. We looked for parking options via our trusty Garmin GPS and were excited to find that there was a lot entitled “Visitor’s Parking Lot.” Seems simple enough, right? We followed the directions to the lot and quickly realized that we were going in the opposite direction from the Baylor campus, and were headed straight for downtown Waco. It didn’t hit me until we reached our destination, a dead end road in a trailer park, that we were at the former site of the visitor parking lot of the old Floyd Casey Stadium, where Baylor football called home for over 60 years before building the new on-campus McLane Stadium in 2013.

Now, if you haven’t taken a stroll straight through the heart of Waco, allow me to enlighten you. We passed by four tire shops (a Waco classic), an establishment by the name of “Nappy Roots Barber Shop” and a small gathering in the front yard of a small house between about eight shirtless men, which resembled a scene right out of Netflix’s “Narcos” series. Waco is truly one of a kind.

We drove back in the direction of civilization and arrived at McLane Stadium about five minutes after the start of the game. However, our late arrival ended up being a non-factor.

For the second weekend in a row, the Cowboys were involved in a weather delay. This week’s delay was called after Baylor’s opening drive where they quickly got in the end zone to go up 6-0 on the Pokes.

It was almost as if the game hadn’t even started yet, but the Bears already had a touchdown advantage. Unlike last week’s weather delay at Boone Pickens Stadium, it wasn’t raining this time, so most fans stayed in their seats to watch LSU face Auburn, which was being streamed live on the big board.

About 1 1/2 hours after the opening kickoff, the teams resumed play as Baylor kicked its extra point and the Cowboys finally got the ball.

(Devin L. Wilber, O'Colly)
(Devin L. Wilber, O’Colly)

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of orange in McLane Stadium. OSU fans traveled well this weekend. A pair of first half Rennie Childs touchdowns allowed the Cowboy faithful to be heard as the band played the alma mater and claps rained down from sporadic sections throughout the stadium.

Baylor fans were quick to welcome back wide receiver Ishmael Zamora to the field after serving his three-game suspension after a video surfaced of him brutally beating his dog. Zamora ended his return with a career-high 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

A weird moment presented itself in a third-quarter TV timeout, as a PSA showed up across “Baylor Vision” about preventing sexual assault on college campuses. The stadium got eerily quiet as everyone looked around and cringed at the untimely announcement. The irony, of course, is that all of the recent infamous cases of sexual assault involved Baylor football players, who were on the field talking to coaches rather than being able to pay attention to the announcement.

After a fourth quarter fumble by Justice Hill about two yards from the end zone seemingly sucked the life out of the Cowboys, who were only down four at the time, Baylor fans began to head for the exits. Only about a third of the Baylor student section was still filled at this time. It was still a four-point game with six minutes to go, but apparently, Baylor students are even worse than OSU students when it comes to prematurely leaving close football games. The Cowboys were unable to keep the Bears out of the end zone, giving Baylor an 11-point lead with about five minutes to go, thus sealing the victory for the Bears.

The Cowboys dropped to 1-1 this season in games involving rain delays, and 2-2 overall. The Texas Longhorns visit Stillwater next weekend for OSU’s Big 12 home opener. The scheduled 11 a.m. kickoff time should help minimize chances of another rain delay, but with how the Pokes’ season has panned out thus far, I’m not counting anything out.

ozone@ocolly.com

 

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