|10/10 BAYLOR (0-0) vs. NR/NR SMU (0-0)
Aug. 31, 2014 | 6:30 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | McLane Stadium (45,140)
TV: FOX Sports 1
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Baylor, the defending Big 12 champion, opens the 2014 season by hosting SMU on Sunday, Aug. 31.
Baylor will be playing its inaugural game at the new on-campus, riverfront $266 million McLane Stadium.
Baylor begins its 112th season of football and 7th under head coach Art Briles.
Baylor is 23-3 at home over the last four seasons and is 19-1 in Waco since 2011.
Baylor has won 10 straight at home and has not lost in Waco since Oct. 13, 2012 vs. TCU.
Baylor won a school-record 11 games, claimed its first Big 12 title and earned its first trip to a BCS-bowl game in 2013.
Baylor returns 48 lettermen and 10 starters (5 o; 4 d; 1 st) from last season's squad.
Baylor is 73-35-4 all-time in season openers, including a 9-9 mark in the Big 12 era (since 1996).
Baylor is 5-1 in openers under Briles and has started each of the last 4 years with at least 2 straight wins.
Baylor is 4-2 in home openers in the Briles era, including four straight wins.
This will be the 80th meeting between the Bears and Mustangs. The all-time series is tied 36-36-7 and 18-18-3 in Waco.
The Bears have won 10 straight games over SMU and have a chance to hold the overall series lead for the first time since 1924.
Baylor will play its 1st game on campus since Nov. 9, 1935, a 25-6 loss to Texas at Carroll Field.
Baylor is looking to repeat as conference champions for the first time in its history.
Baylor has won 15 of its last 17 games entering 2014.
Baylor has scored 30+ points in 29 of its last 32 games and 40+ points in 25 of those contests.
Baylor is ranked No. 10 in both the preseason AP Top 25 and the Amway Coaches Poll.
Baylor has been ranked in AP Top 25 for a school-record 15 straight weeks (heading into 2014 season).
Baylor is the most successful FBS team in Texas since 2011 with a winning percentage of .744 (29-10) over the last three seasons.
Baylor is 26-2 over the last four seasons when leading at halftime.
Sunday's game is a sellout and will mark the fifth straight sellout for the Bears at home.
Baylor vs. SMU will be televised nationally on FS1 at 6:30 p.m. BU is 3-0 all-time on FS1.
TEAM QUICK HITS
Baylor set an NCAA record in scoring in 2013 with 681 points in 13 games. BU's 52.4 points/game were tied for fourth-most all-time.
Baylor led the nation with 29 TDs on drives of one minute or less. BU had 21 TD drives of 3 plays or fewer.
Baylor returns 5 of its top 6 WRs from 2013 (only loss was Tevin Reese to San Diego Chargers).
Baylor led the nation in forcing 3-and-outs, tallying 6.38 per contest last season.
BU is 24-3 when making 2+ takeaways in DC Phil Bennett's 3 seasons.
The Bears led the Big 12 by allowing only 4.75 yards per play in 2013.
Baylor ranked 30th nationally in net punting in 2013 (38.3) after ranking 67th and 118th in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
INDIVIDUAL QUICK HITS
2014 marks the first time in three seasons that Baylor has a returning starter at quarterback (Heisman candidate Bryce Petty).
Receiving streaks: Heading into 2014, Levi Norwood owns a 27-game reception streak and Antwan Goodley a 17-game streak.
RB Shock Linwood is the Big 12's leading returning rusher (73.4 yards-per-game as freshman in 2013).
MLB Bryce Hager, an All-America candidate, led the Big 12 in tackles in 2012 (124, 9.5/game) & totaled 71 (7.9) in injury-shortened 2013 season.
3 starters (Beau Blackshear, Andrew Billings & Orion Stewart) are Waco natives.
Norwood had BU-record 2 punt return TDs in 2013.
Punter Spencer Roth led the Big 12 with a 45.8 average in 2013 and was named honorable mention All-American by SI.com.
BAYLOR IS AMERICA'S TOP OFFENSE
Baylor returns a nation's-best 6,319 yards from its 2013 totals [see chart below] amassed by the nation's most powerful offense. BU's offense has finished among the top two stat leaders each of the last three seasons [see listing below] and shattered numerous NCAA, Big 12 and school records.
MOST (2013) YARDS RETURNING, 2014 (per Phil Steele)
1. Baylor - 6,319
2. Oregon - 5,702
3. Auburn - 5,537
BAYLOR'S DISRUPTIVE DEFENSE
Baylor's defensive impact has steadily improved under fourth-year defensive coordinator Phil Bennett. The Bears' takeaways have remained steady from year-to-year, but the chart below shows the increase in sacks and tackles-for-loss during Baylor's 2013 Big 12 championship run. Baylor also intercepted or broke up 82 passes in 13 games last year, the most of any major conference team and fifth in all of FBS.
BAYLOR'S CRAZY-FAST, POWERFUL OFFENSE
Baylor's devastating 2013 offense led the nation in TD drives of one minute or less (29, next closest was Ohio State's 21), TD drives of two minutes or less (60, next Oregon's 49) and most plays of 40 yards or more (37, next Indiana's 27). The Bears 19.8 seconds per-play ranked just behind BYU and Texas Tech's 19.5, but in first halves (when BU's starters were playing) Baylor led the FBS at 16.7 seconds per-play. [all stats via ESPN Stats & Info]
BAYLOR'S RETURN TO PROMINENCE UNDER BRILES
It's no secret that Art Briles has completely rebuilt Baylor's football program back to national prominence, but most impressive is how speedy and pronounced the transformation has been (Briles is fourth on the BU career wins list and five victories away from moving into the third spot).
It's hard to overstate the role Baylor's defense under coordinator Phil Bennett has demonstrated a knack for making big plays at key moments to contribute to the Bears winning ways over the past three seasons. In three years under Bennett, Baylor's D has recorded at least one takeaway in 34 of 39 games - a total of 83 takeaways (53 interceptions, 30 fumbles recovered). Overall under Bennett, Baylor is 24-3 when recording two or more takeaways.
HOME WINNING STREAK AMONG NATION'S BEST
Baylor's current 10 straight home wins is a school record and tied for the nation's sixth-longest active streak.
NCAA FBS ACTIVE HOME WINNING STREAKS
South Carolina - 18
Stanford - 16
Ohio State - 15
Fresno State - 13
Northern Illinois - 11
Baylor - 10
WIDE RECEIVER U
Baylor's talented and deep receiving corps returns five of its top six producers from 2013. Wide Receiver U, now recognized for its excellence and production, has been named the nation's top receiving unit in 2014 by ESPN.com, Lindy's and Phil Steele. Baylor has produced five NFL Draftees over the last five years (tied with USC as nation's highest total).
Wide Receivers drafted in the NFL Draft* 2010-2014
5 - Baylor, Southern Cal
4 - Arkansas, Illinois
BAYLOR WRs DRAFTED:
David Gettis (2010 Panthers, 6th round)
Kendall Wright (2012 Titans, 1st round)
Josh Gordon (2012 Browns, 2nd round*)
Terrance Williams (2013 Cowboys, 3rd round)
Tevin Reese (2014 Chargers, 7th round)
*including supplemental draft
BU PICKED SECOND IN LEAGUE BY MEDIA
Baylor garnered its highest-ever preseason placing by being picked second in the 2014 Big 12 Football Preseason Poll. BU tallied 508 points and nine first-place votes to finish as the projected runner-up to Oklahoma. The ranking is the Bears' best since the league switched to the 10-team format in 2011. BU was picked sixth in 2011, seventh in 2012 and fifth last year.
BEARS LEAD LEAGUE WITH SEVEN ALL-BIG 12 SELECTIONS
Highlighted by preseason Offensive Player of the Year Bryce Petty, the Bears placed a conference-best seven players on the 2014 Preseason All-Big 12 Team. Media representatives who cover the league chose a school-record four offensive players, one defensive player and two specialists from Baylor's squad for the 26-man conference preseason team. [complete list of preseason honors on pages 5 & 6
UNSUNG RUSHING ATTACK AMONG NATION'S BEST
Baylor's underrated rushing attack is frequently overshadowed by the Bears' passing game. The Bears have led the Big 12 in rushing the last two seasons and finished second in 2011 - and have ranked among the top 15 nationally in each of the last three seasons (13th at 259.7 ypg in 2013, 14th at 231.7 in 2012 and 10th at 235.6 in 2011). The Bears' punishing rushing game has produced 1,000-yard rushers in four straight seasons: Jay Finley in 2010 (1,218), Terrance Ganaway in 2011 (school-record 1,547), Lache Seastrunk in 2012 (1,012) and 2013 (1,060).
SMU SERIES HISTORY
Baylor and SMU meet for the 80th time Sunday. The all-time series is tied, 36-36-7, including an 18-18-3 mark in Waco.
The meeting is the first between the teams since the 2012 season opener, which BU won 59-24 in Waco. The Bears have won each of the last 10 meetings dating back to 1986.
This will be the third straight series meeting which has been the season opener for both teams (BU won, 28-23, in 2005).
The Bears and Mustangs first met on Oct. 7, 1916, with Baylor dominating in a 62-0 rout in Dallas.
Starting with the first meeting in 1916, the teams met each season (with the exception of World War II) through 1986, a span of 70 years. NCAA sanctions forced the cancellation of SMU's 1987 season and University officials cancelled the Mustangs' 1988 campaign. The teams then picked up their Southwest Conference rivalry in 1989, playing yearly until Baylor joined the Big 12 to start the 1996 season.
Since moving into the Big 12 Conference in 1996, Baylor is 6-0 in non-conference games against former Southwestern Conference (non-Big 12) rivals -- 3-0 vs. SMU and 3-0 vs. Rice.
NATION'S TOP QB-WR COMBO? PETTY-TO-GOODLEY
Senior All-Americans Bryce Petty and Antwan Goodley are the nation's top returning quarterback-wide receiver combo, accounting for 1,339 yards in 2013, according to STATS. The duo connected 71 times last season, including 13 times for a score.
MCLANE STADIUM PATICULARS
The 2014 season will mark the beginning of a new era as Baylor Football returns to campus with the opening of McLane Stadium.
In what Director of Athletics Ian McCaw coined as a "monumental occasion" and "one of the biggest things to happen in the history of Baylor University," the Baylor Board of Regents voted on July 19, 2012, to move forward with the construction of a $266 million riverfront stadium. The 15-story McLane Stadium project is expected to help stimulate riverfront development, revitalize downtown Waco and bring jobs and economic development to the region.
The vote by Baylor Regents followed very favorable discussion and enthusiastic public comment at a meeting of the Waco City Council. At that meeting, the Council voted unanimously in support of a $35 million public contribution which was endorsed without dissent earlier this month by the downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Zone board. The Council affirmed that vote in early August 2012. The TIF funds covered a portion of public infrastructure around the stadium, such as roads, construction of a pedestrian bridge to provide access across the Brazos River, development of a new marina, the relocation of sewer and electric transmission lines, and water, sewer and drainage facilities.
McLane Stadium is built on a 93-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 35, one of the nation's busiest highways, and the Brazos River, the longest waterway in the state of Texas. The stadium holds 45,140 spectators, with the flexibility to expand to 55,000, and features a bridge crossing the Brazos connecting the stadium to the campus.
The contractor for the McLane Stadium project was a partnership between Austin Commercial-Flintco LLC. The companies have worked on such Big 12 football facilities as Oklahoma State's Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma's Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium and TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium. The architect for the project was Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous, which has designed several stadiums, including Yankee Stadium and the football stadium at the University of Minnesota.
TICKETS SELLING LIKE NEVER BEFORE
School officials announced last spring that season tickets for the 2014 season were sold-out, marking the 10th time in the last 11 years season sales for Baylor football games increased. A school-record 28,000 season tickets were sold. In addition to season tickets being sold out, five of six home games have completely sold out. Only a select number of tickets remain for the final game of the season vs. Kansas State.