Baylor lost a fumble on the third play of the game and the visiting Webb Spartans scored five plays later, but the Red Raiders came storming back to win their second-straight game, 34-7, over the D-II, Class A two-time defending state champions.
Quarterback Nick Tiano, who has already committed to Mississippi State, hurled two touchdown passes and scored a third on a sneak from the 1 late in the game to spark the Red Raider offense.
Baylor will be at home again next week to host always-tough MBA while Webb will play its first home game against Christian Academy of Knoxville.
The Red Raiders took the opening kickoff and picked up one first down before a bad exchange resulted in a fumble recovery by Webb's Gage Thompson.
The Spartans needed just over two minutes to move 28 yards with bullish fullback Brant Mitchell scoring from the 1. Andrew Favaro's kick gave the team from Knoxville a 7-0 lead with 8:32 remaining in the opening quarter.
After an exchange of punts, Baylor marched 40 yards in seven plays and tied the score when sophomore Kalvin Watson zipped up the middle from the 9 with 2:11 showing on the Heywood Stadium clock.
The Red Raiders then scored three straight TDs in the second quarter to basically put the game away as the difference was 27-7 at the break.
Senior Sean Wampler gave Baylor the lead on a run from the 4 with 7:24 showing while a fumble recovery by Blake Sutherland set the table for a 19-yard TD pass from Tiano to Ryan Parker with 3:54 remaining before intermission.
Baylor's defense stood tall once more and forced another Webb punt, which only traveled 12 yards after being partially blocked.
The Red Raiders needed just two plays to cover 25 yards with Tiano's pass of 21 yards connecting with a diving Watson in the end zone. The conversion attempt failed, but Baylor had scored its third touchdown in just over five minutes and the momentum was clearly on the Red Raider sideline at the half.
Webb, which had been limited to just 65 yards total offense in the first half, did a much better job moving the football in the final two quarters, but they were never able to score again as the Baylor defense came up with big play after big play when the Spartans got close.
An interception by Ulysses Strawter -- his second of the game -- stopped one Webb drive while another pick by Preston Ballard in the end zone stopped another threat late in the third quarter.
Tiano's TD on a keeper from the one with 3:52 to play was the final score of the game and the only one in the second half. The big play in the drive was a diving 45-yard reception by Gage Upshaw that moved the ball from the Baylor 26 to the Webb 29.
With backup quarterback Hunter Green at the controls in Webb's final drive, the Spartans drove from their own 20 to the Baylor 6, but the game ended on an incomplete pass in the end zone.
Webb coach David Meske, who has been the Spartan head man for 30 years, felt like the second quarter was one key while not scoring anything in the second half was another.
"First of all, Baylor has a fine football team, but we played very poorly in the second quarter. We didn't tackle well and we can't afford to let a punt roll 30 yards," he said afterward, his team now 0-2 following last week's season opening loss at Maryville.
"We did a better job moving the ball in the second half, but you have to put the ball in the end zone when you get close and we didn't," he added.
Baylor coach Phil Massey liked what he saw, but he knows the road only gets tougher as region foe Montgomery Bell Academy comes to town next Friday night.
"That was a good win against a quality football team. They probably won't lose another game this fall," he told his players once the final horn sounded.
"I like the way we came out and executed on offense in the first half except for that first fumble, but Webb took it to us after that turnover and we can't afford to give them a short field like that.
"I was proud of our ability to rebound. We have an offense that can score some points and I thought Nick had several nice throws tonight. I'm pleased to get this win, but we have to keep working to get better as MBA will be a huge challenge. We've got to be ready as they are a solid football team," Massey added.
Baylor finished the game with 288 total yards on offense to 235 for Webb.
Tiano completed nine of 15 passes for 178 yards while he had 36 yards rushing on nine attempts. Wampler had 39 yards on eight attempts while Watson finished with 28 yards on 13 carries as Baylor finished with 110 yards rushing.
Upshaw, who also had a big catch for 43 yards in the first half that set up Baylor's first TD, finished with two grabs totaling 88 yards. Watson had two for 36 yards while Parker had two as well for 32 yards.
Webb's offensive total included 135 yards on the ground and 100 through the air.
Christopher Stephens was the leading rusher with 54 yards on eight carries while Mitchell was limited to just 28 yards on 13 carries. Quarterback Brock Beeler also had 28 yards on 10 trips.
Wrinn Alexander had one catch for 26 yards, that one coming on the play to set up Webb's touchdown, while Mitchell was the only Spartan with two catches totaling 19 yards. Seven other Webb receivers all had one catch.
Baylor also won the turnover battle with three interceptions and a fumble while Alexander Berube had an interception to go along with Thompson's fumble recovery.
WEBB 7 0 0 0 -- 7
BAYLOR 7 20 0 7 -- 34
Web -- Brant Mitchell 1 run (Andrew Favaro kick), 8:32 left in first;
Bay -- Kalvin Watson 9 run (Colin Brewer kick), 2:11 left in first;
Bay -- Sean Wampler 4 run (Brewer kick), 7:24 left in second;
Bay -- Ryan Parker 19 pass from NIck Tiano (Brewer kick), 3:54 left in second;
Bay -- Watson 21 pass from Tiano (pass failed), 1:49 left in second;
Bay -- Tiano 1 run (Brewer kick), 3:52 left in fourth.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)