|RV/RV BAYLOR (0-0) vs. NR/NR SMU (0-0)
Sept. 2, 2012 | 5:35 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000)
TV: FSN (TV Listings)
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A year after tying a school record with 10 wins, Baylor opens its season with a Sunday late afternoon game against SMU on national television (FSN, 5:35 p.m. CT).
Baylor and SMU will meet for the 79th time on Sunday. SMU holds a slim lead in the all-time series, 36-35-7, including an 18-17-3 mark in favor of the Mustangs in Waco.
The meeting is the first between the teams since the 2005 season opener, which BU won 28-23. The Bears have won each of the last nine meetings dating back to 1986.
Baylor enters the season opener on a six-game winning streak, the third longest national streak among FBS schools (Northern Illinois 9, TCU 8). BU's last loss came at then-No. 3 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Oct. 29.
Baylor's 2011 offense was powerful and balanced on its way to averaging 45.3 points per game and setting or tying 101 school records. The Bears were the only FBS team nationally to rank in the top 10 in both rushing (10th) and passing (fourth) yards, ranking second overall at 587.1 yards per game.
Baylor also brings a seven-game home-winning streak into the matchup with the last loss coming against then-No. 14 Oklahoma on Nov. 20, 2010. It is the fifth-best active streak among FBS schools.
Baylor's home opener is the first of six games at Floyd Casey Stadium. It falls one shy of last season's school-record seven home games, but is only the seventh time in program history with six -- 1977, 1992, 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2008.
Baylor will be playing its first game without 2011 Heisman Memorial Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, who was drafted with the second overall pick by the Washington Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Year five of the Art Briles era will begin with six players on eight major national award watch lists, including Nick Florence (Unitas Golden Arm Award), Jordan Najvar (Mackey Award), Tevin Reese (Biletnikoff Award), Cyril Richardson (Rotary Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy), Jarred Salubi (Doak Walker Award) and Terrance Williams (Maxwell Award, Biletnikoff Award).
Baylor's 17 wins over the last two seasons are its most over a two-year span since winning 18 games in 1985 (9) and 1986 (9).
• Baylor is 71-35-4 all-time in season openers, including a 7-9 mark in the Big 12 era (since 1996).
• Baylor is 3-1 in season openers in the Art Briles era, including victories in each of the last three seasons -- 2009 at Wake Forest, 2010 vs. Sam Houston State and 2011 vs. then-No. 15 TCU.
• The 2012 season marks the 63rd season of Floyd Casey Stadium as the home of Baylor football. Baylor is 42-20 in FCS home openers, including a 9-6 mark in the Big 12 era and 2-2 under Briles.
• Sunday marks just the second time Baylor and SMU will meet in a season opener. The Bears took a 28-23 victory over the Mustangs to open the 2005 season, which is also the last time the teams met.
• Baylor will be looking to become bowl-eligible for the third consecutive season, playing in the Texas Bowl in 2010 and the Valero Alamo Bowl in 2011. Baylor has never played in bowl games in three consecutive seasons.
• Baylor is 17-20 in televised games in the Briles era.
• Since moving into the Big 12 Conference in 1996, Baylor is 5-0 in non-conference games against former Southwestern Conference (non-Big 12) rivals -- 2-0 vs. SMU and 3-0 vs. Rice.
NATION'S THIRD-LONGEST WINNING STREAK
Baylor enters 2012 with a six-game winning streak, the third-longest national streak among FBS schools (Northern Illinois 9, TCU 8). By winning their last six games, the Bears boasted the longest streak by a BCS AQ school to end the 2011 season (TCU was in MWC during 2011).
BU'S RECORD-SHATTERING & NATIONALLY RANKED OFFENSE
Baylor's offensive juggernaut has re-written the school's record book since the arrival of head coach Art Briles and offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery. Baylor set or tied 101 offensive school records in 2011 (totaled 119 including special teams and defense). The Bears set or tied 26 team (10 game, 16 season) and 75 individual (1 play, 14 game, 31 season and 29 career) marks during the 2011 season. Baylor's offense ranked first nationally in passing efficiency (191.2), first in first downs (29.0 per game), second in total offense (587.1 yards per game), fourth in scoring (45.3 points per game), fourth in passing yards (351.5 per game) and 10th in rushing yards (235.6 yards per game).
BAYLOR'S OFFENSE BALANCED AS WELL AS POWERFUL
Baylor's record-setting offense (that had five players drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft) ranked second nationally in 2011, averaging 587.1 yards of total offense per game. The Bears offensive system, masterminded by architects Art Briles (a 2011 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award finalist) and offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery(named the 2011 Rivals.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year), is uniquely balanced - Baylor was the only school that ranked in the nation's top 10 in both rushing and passing yards. BU ranked 10th nationally with 235.6 yards per game and fourth in the nation with 351.5 passing yards. No other FBS school averaged 200-plus yards rushing and 300-plus passing.
1,000-YARD TRIO LEADS TALENTED & DEEP RECEIVING CORPS
Despite losing the most prolific receiver in school history (All-American and Tennessee Titan first-round NFL Draft pick Kendall Wright), Baylor returns a deep, experienced and talented corps of receivers, led by a trio of 1,000-yard veterans who all topped 40 receptions and 500 yards in 2011. Baylor's receiving corps, rated fifth nationally by Athlon Sports, sixth by ESPN.com and eighth by Phil Steele, returns six of its top seven receivers from 2011 -- including fifth-year senior Terrance Williams, a Maxwell and Biletnikoff Award and All-American candidate with 1,502 yards and 15 TDs on 105 career receptions; Lanear Sampson, a fifth-year senior with 1,259 yards and five TDs on 113 career catches; and Tevin Reese, a Biletnikoff Award candidate and third-year junior with 1,278 yards and seven TDs on 96 career receptions. Sampson boasts a 30-game reception streak (Reese owns a 23-game streak) heading into 2012, the nation's third-longest active streak.
2012 PRESEASON HONORS
Eleven Baylor players have received preseason honors, including one (Maxwell Award candidate Terrance Williams) projected All-America and 10 others projected All-Big 12 in preseason publications. S Sam Holl (Blue Ribbon), TE Jordan Najvar (Blue Ribbon, Phil Steele, All-Big 12) and OL Cyril Richardson (USA TODAY, Athlon, Blue Ribbon, Phil Steele, All-Big 12) have all been named preseason first-team all-conference and seven other Bears have been selected to second and third teams: NB Ahmad Dixon, PK Aaron Jones, CB K.J. Morton, PR Levi Norwood, WR Tevin Reese, RB Lache Seastrunk, OL Ivory Wade.