CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- It was the perfect situation for Baylor coach Phil Massey to attempt what his coaches called him crazy for even considering.
With wind blowing to the Red Raiders' advantage and a 21-point lead over Bradley Central, Massey called out senior field-goal kicker Henrique Ribeiro to attempt a 57-yarder Friday night. Ribeiro booted a shot that glanced over the crossbar and sealed what would turn out to be a 45-28 victory over the hosts at Bear Stadium.
Matthew Oellerich finished with 193 yards of total offense and scored three times, while junior tailback Connor Davidson had 102 yards rushing and a touchdown as the Red Raiders ran for 349 as a team in the shootout victory.
The Red Raiders allowed 507 yards of total offense to Bradley but blocked a field-goal attempt and picked off two passes in improving to 2-0.
"We made some mistakes that we have to get better at, but we took advantage of some opportunities to score tonight with the blocked field goal and one of the interceptions," Massey said.
Massey said there was no question he was going to give Ribeiro a shot at the long third-quarter attempt.
"The way I saw it, it didn't hurt to try it," he said. "My coaches were all yelling for us to punt, but I went right to [Henrique] and told him to try. If we miss it, they get the ball at the 20-yard line, but he has as strong a leg as I've ever seen and I wanted to let him try it."
Bradley (1-1) took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter after a 58-yard reverse by James Stovall and a 44-yard run by quarterback Bryce Copeland, but Baylor responded with 28 consecutive points in taking a 21-point lead into the locker room. Oellerich had all three of his scores in the first half, while Houston Clements had a score and Deosha McColley picked up a Oellerich fumble and ran it in from 12 yards out.
The Bears actually had over 100 yards more of total offense, but the turnovers and a couple of stalled possessions led to their undoing. Copeland finished with 109 yards rushing and 211 passing, while Stovall caught 11 passes for 111 yards and a score in the final minute of the game.
"This was a game that I think will help us during the season," Bradley coach Damon Floyd said. "We didn't quit; we kept battling.
"I don't know if we'll see a better team this season."