Here Comes the Next Step
9:55 A.M., WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2011
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The Bears moved to 3-0 Saturday night with a resounding 56-31 win over an improved Rice team. Again amassing nearly 700 yards, the Bears offense erupted in the first half scoring 35 points in the span of 13 minutes.
Fans at Floyd Casey Stadium got to enjoy a comfortable win while I was afforded the rare opportunity to attend a fall wedding while not being glued to a game cast on my phone.
RG3 continued his Heisman buzz-worthy start to the season throwing for FIVE more touchdowns amidst only four more incompletions. His numbers after three games are, quite simply, accolades that you or I could not earn against a defense of manikins.
Griffin has 13 touchdown passes and 12 incomplete passes. He's thrown zero interceptions.
Have you honestly ever heard of such a statistic?
Amidst the Heisman promotion seems to be the realization from national media, that Baylor has not only a program-altering quarterback on its hands, but also a very smart decision-maker.
True, Griffin again made a decision Saturday night that he wish he could have back. In spiraling towards the Rice end zone near the end of the first half, Griff was tossed like a rag doll, spilled the ball and cost the Bears a scoring opportunity.
He's human after all.
That fumble aside, Griffin had another pristine game, finding five different Baylor receivers in the end zone, throwing for 338 yards and running for another 51 yards and again, worthy of mention, not throwing a pick.
So the season-opening home stretch has concluded. BU heads way north for the team's first of two trips to the Sunflower State to tangle with a very dangerous and very confident Kansas State team.
The season's fixin' to get interesting.
The nine week conference gauntlet begins Saturday. The Bears have never won in Manhattan and Kansas State is fresh off a thrilling win at Miami (FL).
Yet, the Bears are road favorites.
The 15th ranked Bears, playing on big boy national television are favored to go on the road and beat an undefeated team.
Let that serve as a small reminder of how far this program has come already this season.
Coach Art Briles makes no secret about the big expectations for this team. Step one in meeting those expectations was avenging the TCU demons of past seasons and finishing the non-conference portion of their schedule undefeated.
From here-the sky is the limit. The Bears are likely to be tested each and every week the rest of this season against nine conference foes that we will continue to learn about each Saturday.
It's been three weeks since we knocked off TCU. All signs point to the Bears being more than ready and prepared for their first road trip.
Here comes the next step.
The Show Goes On
10:05 A.M., THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011
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The Bears returned to the gridiron last weekend and while it seemed as if the team hadn't lined up in nearly a month (just 15 days to be exact), what BU fans were treated to was a well-tuned dominating performance.
The previous week's bye week, coupled with more and more conference realignment talk managed to shift the focus, for many, away from the Bear's great start return to the AP top 25.
However, the Bears took care of business and thrashed Stephen F. Austin 48 zip, preserving the program's first shutout since the era when Tears For Fears topped the pop charts. That's 26 years for those unfamiliar with my 80s music prowess.
Improving to 2-0, the Bears advanced through an awkward part of their schedule that featured a bye in the season's second week and can now focus on one more 'should win' game in Waco before beginning the newly-designed nine week conference stretch.
While the defense deserves plenty of praise for again shutting out the Lumberjacks (SFA has managed to score nary a point in the history of the series), what was perhaps even more comforting was the sight of the Baylor offense continuing to fire on all cylinders.
In fact, the only time BU's offense was stopped Saturday night was on a fumble that bounced into the SFA end zone. Had the Bears cashed in on that drive (or had the 4th quarter actually been played) we could salivate over the team's 'streak' of scoring 50 points each week.
Instead, the Robert Griffin and Kendall Wright aerial show will hog the headlines this week. When Griffin found Wright for a 69 yard scamper into the end zone, the receiver tied the school record for career touchdown catches with 19. Wright went on to set the school record for career receiving yards.
Wright is already the career leader in catches.
As for RG3, the astronomical numbers continue to build along with his Heisman campaign. Through two games, Griff has thrown as many touchdowns as he has incompletions.
Think anyone else has taken note of that statistic?
In total, the Bears offense amassed 545 yards of total offense in just three quarters. Was it against a formidable defense? Of course not, but for one week, fans should just be happy that the lay-off produced no real 'rust.'
Also appearing to hit their stride early in the season is the Baylor fan base who made a strong showing and statement in arriving to Floyd Casey Stadium in droves despite the ominous forecast.
With Parents Weekend festivities this weekend, another huge crowd and home field advantage will be ready to greet the Bears as Rice comes to town.
For Baylor and the Big 12, the show goes on and we couldn't be any happier.
Here's to the Night
10:10 A.M., TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011
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They were watching Friday night.
Along with a record setting home opening crowd at Floyd Casey Stadium, fans everywhere witnessed Baylor football on a big stage Friday night. In taverns, hotel rooms, living rooms, sports bars, and everywhere else the Worldwide Leader in Sports reaches, America witnessed Baylor football's finest hour.
Finest four hours, in fact.
After all the anticipation and hype serving as the backdrop before this season began, Baylor answered the call. The Bears electrified, impressed and by just before 11 pm CST, ultimately survived. The Bears beat TCU in what will undoubtedly be one of the greatest games anyone witnesses anywhere this college football season.
Where do I even begin to recap this one?
For a blog designed to heighten exposure and promote Baylor football, I'll gladly concede that my efforts the past four years were trumped (and soundly) in one night.
Coach Art Briles and the Bears left little doubt that this game wasn't going to be treated like the 11 other tilts this season.
What we know now is that BU prepped for this game like it was their bowl game, an opportunity to overcome not only last year's loss in the Texas Bowl, but also the embarrassment last September in Fort Worth. Baylor was ready to throw the kitchen sink at TCU Friday night as made apparent by their first drive culminating in a trick play touchdown pass from Wright.
From there, the greatest show on Floyd Casey's turf unfolded. BU's ran up the gut, off tackle, Griffin involved the tight end, utilized the deep threat with three stud receivers and turned the Case into his own personal sandlot.
When Griffin found Terrance Williams on yet another perfectly thrown ball to the corner of the end zone, the Bears lead ballooned unbelievably to a 24 point bulge.
Despite this, I would have been lying if I said I thought the game was over.
TCU came back, their young quarterback came of age, and when the game's first turnover occurred, a Griffin fumble, even the most spirited Baylor fan had felt like the inevitable was set to occur.
Despite looking unstoppable for three quarters of the night, it appeared that 47 points wouldn't be enough. It seemed a defeat beyond words and comprehension would result.
And then the even more unthinkable happened; Baylor made three huge plays in the game's waning moments to seal an upset win for the ages.
First, on 3rd and 10, the Bears dug so deep into the playbook, that a Kendall Wright pass, his second of the night, this time to Griffin kept the drive alive. A few plays later, sophomore Aaron Jones booted a 37 field goal from the right hash mark against the wind that somehow split the uprights.
Finally, Mike Hicks forced TCU's only turnover, intercepting TCU quarterback Casey Pachal.
Griffin then took a knee, the BU fans that still had a pulse exhaled, and then stormed the field. ESPN even delayed the start of SportsCenter, an acknowledgement of the classic game that had just concluded.
How's that for a start to the season?
11 games now remain. We'll come to learn if TCU ends up having a rebuilding-type season, if our defense can continue to bend and not break and if our special teams can improve from an atrocious start.
While plenty this season remains to be determined, what we already know about this team is that it has plenty of talent, plenty of speed and most notably, plenty of heart.
For one night at least, the Bears efforts were enough to be the talk of college football.
Here's a toast to all those who hear me all too well.