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Old Foes: Baylor, SMU Renew Gridiron Rivalry to Open 2005

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2005 BAYLOR FOOTBALL GAME NOTES

 

GAME 1

BAYLOR BEARS (0-0) at SMU MUSTANGS (0-0)

SEPT. 3, 2005 • GERALD J. FORD STADIUM • DALLAS, TEXAS7:00 P.M. CDT

 

 

2005 SEASON KICKS OFF SATURDAY AT SMU

                Baylor's 2005 season gets underway Saturday, Sept. 3, as the Bears travel to Dallas, Texas, for a non-conference game against former Southwest Conference rival SMU. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the SMU campus. This is the first game of the 2005 season for both teams.

 

BAYLOR-SMU SERIES

                This is the 78th meeting between Baylor and SMU but only the second since the final season of the Southwest Conference (1995). The Bears defeated the Mustangs 10-7 at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2003. That win was Baylor's first under head coach Guy Morriss and extended the Bears' winning streak over the Mustangs to eight games, the longest Baylor winning streak in the series. SMU leads the all-time series 36-34-7.

                Baylor and SMU first met Oct. 7, 1916, at Dallas with the Bears taking a 62-0 triumph. Neither team won more than three consecutive meetings until the Mustangs won five straight from 1937 to 1941. A Baylor win Saturday would eclipse SMU's 1966-to-1973 eight-game winning streak as the longest by either team in the series' history.

                SMU holds a slim 18-17-4 advantage in games played at Dallas. Saturday is Baylor's first game at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, which opened in 2000.

 

SEASON OPENERS

                Entering its 104th season of varsity football, Baylor is 65-33-5 in season openers. With last year's loss at UAB, the Bears have dropped three straight season openers. Baylor is 4-6 in its last 10 season openers. The Bears open their season away from home for the seventh time in the last 10 years; Baylor is 2-4 in the previous six season openers away from home.

 

QUICK NOTES

• Sophomore CB Braelon Davis, who was listed No. 1 on the Bears' depth chart, injured his knee during spring practice and will likely miss the entire 2005 season after undergoing surgery to repair his torn ACL back in May. Named to the 2004 Sporting News All-Big 12 freshman team, Davis ranked No. 10 on the squad in tackles a year ago with 24 stops, however, he was not on the 105-man preseason camp roster and currently is now in rehab.

• Sophomore OT Nick Pace, who started all 12 games along the Bears' offensive line in 2003 as a true freshman, returns after a medical redshirt year in 2004 and is listed No. 1 on the depth chart at right offensive tackle.

• Three of Baylor's four returning offensive starters are in the offensive line -- seniors Lequalan McDonald, Glen Oskin and Evan Stone. McDonald, No. 1 at left guard heading into the 2005 season, has started 23 consecutive games in the trenches for the Bears, while Oskin, listed No. 2 at left guard, made nine starts a year ago (17 for career) and Stone drew seven starts in his first season as a Bear and is the team's No. 1 left tackle.

• Baylor's 35-34 OT win over No. 16 Texas A&M a year ago in Waco ended the Bears' 18-game non-winning series streak against the Aggies (the teams played to a 20-20 tie in 1990) and snapped a 22-game losing string against ranked (AP) opponents which dated to the 1998 season and a 33-30 win over No. 20 North Carolina State at Waco.

• The Bears have lost 24 straight road games since opening the 2000 season with a 20-7 victory at North Texas and have never won a Big 12 road battle (0-36). Of Baylor's 24 losses in the road streak, 19 came against teams that played in bowl games that season.

• Guy Morriss' Bears are 6-7 all-told at Floyd Casey Stadium, but stand 0-10 away from Waco in his tenure.

• In two seasons under Morriss, nine Bears have earned all-conference honors from the league's coaches, one shy of Baylor's total for the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons combined.

• The 2005 NFL Draft saw the Kansas City Chiefs select DE Khari Long in the sixth round, the highest a Bear had been selected since 1999. Long is one of 11 Bears currently on 2005 NFL rosters.

• The 2005-06 academic year marks the 10th anniversary of Big 12 Conference competition.

 

2005 BEARS FACE SIX 2004 BOWL TEAMS

                After playing eight of 11 games a year ago against teams that went on to earn bowl invitations, Baylor will tackle six bowl squads in 2005. However, that's really nothing new for coach Guy Morriss' program, as 15 times in his first 23 games (including 13 of 16 Big 12 contests) along the Baylor sideline he's faced an opponent which wound up with a bowl bid at season's end.

                The Bears' 2005 opponents combined for a 70-58 (.545) record a year ago and six earned bowl invites -- Texas A&M, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma State.

                All-told, six of BU's eight 2005 Big 12 games will be against teams that earned bowl bids last year. The Bears' eight Big 12 foes went 61-34 (.642) last year and accounted for six of the league's seven 2004 bowl bids.

                Two of Baylor's three wins a year ago and six of its eight losses were at the hands of eventual bowl-bound teams. The Bears knocked off Cotton Bowl participant Texas A&M (35-34 in overtime) and New Orleans Bowl entrant North Texas (37-14) but dropped games to bowl-bound programs Texas (Rose champion), Iowa State (Independence champion), Texas Tech (Holiday champ), Oklahoma State (Alamo), Oklahoma (Orange) and UAB (Hawai'i).

                Baylor and Syracuse were the only programs to play eight eventual bowl teams in 2004 and the Bears' slate ranked as the nation's sixth-toughest according to the NCAA's annual strength of schedule survey.

 

LANE, SEPULVEDA EARN PRESEASON HONORS

                Baylor senior kick return specialist Willie Andrews and junior P Daniel Sepulveda were named to the 2005 preseason All-Big 12 team selected by members of the media who cover the conference. Baylor was one of seven league schools to place at least two student-athletes on the preseason honor squad, joining Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Iowa State and Kansas, and both Bears are coming off 2004 campaigns which saw them earn first-team All-Big 12 honors from the conference's coaches.

                A near consensus 2004 first-team All-Big 12 honoree as a return specialist, Andrews also garnered a first-team award from The Dallas Morning News for his standout defensive play. Andrews ranks as the school's all-time leader in total kick return yards (kickoff and punt returns) with 2,057 yards and is poised to own nearly every school return record before his career ends.

                Sepulveda, the 2004 Ray Guy Award winner as the nation's top collegiate punter, has designs on becoming the trophy's first-ever two-time winner and only the sixth two-time All-American in school history over his final two seasons as a Bear. In its 2005 preseason annual, The Sporting News tabbed him as a preseason first-team All-American and rated him as the nation's No. 1 punter. Sepulveda also was selected to the 2005 Football Writers Association of America Preseason All-America Checklist, first-team Sports Illustrated Preseason All-America and earned second-team preseason All-America honors from Athlon Sports, Phil Steele's College Football Preview and Rivals.com, and third-team recognition from CollegeSportsReport.com.

                A consensus 2004 first-team All-Big 12 performer, Sepulveda ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally in punting (46.0 ypp). His 44.3 ypp career average ranks No. 4 among active Division I-A punters and is the best-ever by a Bear. Sepulveda placed 41.9 percent of his punts (26 of 62) inside the opponent's 20-yard line a year ago and his net average of 42.5 ypp ranked No. 2 nationally.

 

BELL ENTERS SEASON AS STARTER UNDER CENTER

                QB Shawn Bell etched his name in Baylor football lore by leading the Bears to an upset overtime victory over No. 16 Texas A&M a year ago and enters his junior campaign No. 1 on the depth chart at quarterback. Bell, who has made four of his five career starts against nationally ranked opponents, impressed the Baylor coaching staff with his leadership and decision-making during spring drills.

                As a sophomore in 2004, Bell completed a team-high 60.2 percent of his passes (68-of-113) for 544 yards and no interceptions with six touchdowns. He ranked No. 8 among all 2004 Big 12 signal callers in pass efficiency rating with a 118.1 mark and started three games (Texas A&M, at Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State) before breaking his left hand (non-throwing) early in the Oklahoma State game and then missing the Oklahoma contest.

                In his 17-game Baylor career, Bell has thrown just one interception in 211 attempts with seven touchdown strikes to his credit. He enters the 2005 season having thrown a school-record 159 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to the second quarter of Baylor's 2003 game at then-No. 1 Oklahoma, a string that ranks first among active Big 12 quarterbacks and that is just 20 attempts shy of second-place on the Big 12's all-time list. The Academic All-America candidate posted a 4.00 grade-point average in the classroom for the spring 2005 semester.

 

BAYLOR QUARTERBACKS ON TARGET

                Despite having three different starting quarterbacks in 2004, Baylor signal callers broke the school's single-season completion percentage record (.595) for the second consecutive season and threw more touchdowns (17) than interceptions (11) for the first time since the 1996 season. In addition, Baylor set a new school single-season standard for completions with 235.

                The 2004 Bears also improved their total offense output (311.8 ypg) by some 30 yards over their 2003 mark (281.4 ypg) and their scoring average (20.4 ppg) was the program's highest since 1996.

 

MOSLEY, WHITAKER SOLIDIFY BACKFIELD

                Baylor's running back duo of junior Paul Mosley and sophomore Brandon Whitaker became known to teammates as Thunder and Lightning by the time spring practice had concluded in Waco. Throw in redshirt freshman Jacoby Jones and the Bears should have an explosive three-back attack.

                An All-Big 12 candidate, Mosley rushed for 582 yards as a sophomore, scored a team-high four touchdowns and posted the highest per-carry mark (4.6 ypc) for a Baylor rushing leader since 1997. He was also the team's sixth-leading receiver with 14 receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown.

                Whitaker, who lettered as a true freshman in 2003 but sat out the 2004 campaign as a medical redshirt while recovering from a knee injury, drew rave reviews from the Baylor coaches after a nine-tote, 115-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Bears' spring game. Jones ended his prep career at Bangs (Texas) High School as one of the Lone Star's most prolific prep runners ever with totals of 818 carries, 7,611 yards and 99 touchdowns.

 

ZEIGLER, SHELTON ANCHOR DEEP RECEIVING CORPS

                Despite the loss of Marques Roberts, BU's sixth-leading receiver all-time with 91 catches, the Bears' 2005 receiving corps, headlined by a pair of juniors in All-Big 12 candidates Dominique Zeigler and Trent Shelton, may well be the strength of Morriss' 2005 offense.

                An honorable mention All-Big 12 performer as a sophomore, Zeigler caught a team-high 55 passes for 536 yards and five touchdowns. His 55 receptions ranked as the sixth-best one-year total in school history as he recorded at least two catches in each of his 10 appearances.

                Shelton hauled in 38 passes for 426 yards and four scores to rank third on the squad, while recording both the Bears' season-long rush (71 yards) and reception (55 yards). He heads into 2005 having caught at least one pass in 22 consecutive games, the longest such string for a Bear since Reggie Newhouse ended his career with a 34-game streak (2000-2002). Here is a look at the longest such active streaks nationally:

                                33 - Chris Francies, WR, UTEP

                                29 - Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State

                                28 - Mark Philmore, WR, Northwestern

                                27 - Garrett Mills, TE, Tulsa

                                25 - Steve Odom, WR, Toledo

                                24 - Vincent Marshall, WR, Houston

                                23 - Jason Avant, WR, Michigan

                                22 - Trent Shelton, WR, BAYLOR

                                22 - Antwon Courington, WR, Southern Mississippi

                                21 - Jeff Webb, WR, San Diego State

 

Maurice Lane: TACKLE MACHINE

                Senior FS Maurice Lane should contend for All-Big 12 and All-America honors as well as the Thorpe Award in his final season at Baylor after leading the Bears in tackles for the second straight year as a junior. A member of the Thorpe Award's 2005 Preseason Watch List, Lane is listed as the nation's ninth-best free safety according to The Sporting News' preseason magazine.

                A second-team 2004 All-Big 12 selection, Lane has started all 34 games he has played in at Baylor and already ranks among the school's all-time leaders in solo tackles. With 205 career solos, he stands No. 4 on BU's career list and needs just 95 more to join College and Pro Hall of Famer Mike Singletary as the only Bears to record 300 or more career solos. Lane, who has 281 career tackles, is just 23 stops shy of the school's all-time top 10 and 100 away from moving into the No. 2 position behind Singletary's career mark of 662 stops.

                In 2004, he led the Bears and ranked No. 3 among all Big 12 performers (tops among league defensive backs) in tackles with 104 (9.5 tpg). Lane paced the Big 12 and ranked No. 3 nationally in solo tackles with 7.0 per game, as his 77 solos ranked as the eighth-best one-season total in school history. He ended the season with four straight double-figure tackle games, one of which was a season-high 16-tackle effort at Oklahoma State.

 

ANDREWS MAKES MARK IN MULTIPLE AREAS

                One of Baylor's most versatile players, senior OS Willie Andrews again figures to be a busy man in the secondary and on special teams for the 2005 Bears. On the field for 854 snaps as a junior, the 2005 All-America and All-Big 12 candidate has started 23 consecutive games in the secondary entering his final Green and Gold campaign.

                Andrews led the 2004 Bears in sacks (three), ranked No. 2 in both tackles for loss (10) and quarterback hurries (seven) and was No. 3 in total tackles with 67. A near consensus 2004 first-team All-Big 12 honoree as a return specialist, he also garnered a first-team award from The Dallas Morning News for his standout defensive play. Andrews ranks as the school's all-time leader in total kick return yards (kickoff and punt returns) with 2,057 yards and is poised to own nearly every school return record before his career ends.

 

SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS

                The strongest facet of Baylor's squad in Guy Morriss' two seasons on the sideline has arguably been its special teams play. After recording four scores in 2003, the Bears' 2004 special team units tallied two more scores and featured the 2004 Ray Guy Award winner in Daniel Sepulveda and consensus first-team All-Big 12 return specialist Willie Andrews.

                The 2004 Bears, who ranked No. 5 nationally in net punting (40.6 ypp), No. 35 in kickoff returns (21.7 ypr) and No. 36 in punt returns (11.1 ypr), were the only Big 12 team to rank among the nation's top 36 in all three of those statistical categories a year ago. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that in the year prior to Mark Nelson's arrival as Baylor's special teams coordinator the program ranked 91st nationally in punt returns, 115th in kickoff returns and 117th in net punting.

                Sepulveda captured the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top collegiate punter after ranking No. 3 nationally with his 46.0 yard average and Andrews led the league and ranked 24th nationally in kickoff returns with his 24.7 yard mark.

                A senior outside safety who will again contend for All-Big 12 and All-America honors, Andrews ranked No. 6 in the Big 12 and No. 65 nationally in 2004 with 107.6 all-purpose yards per game despite not taking a snap on the offensive side of the ball. He also led the Big 12 and ranked 24th nationally in kickoff returns (24.7 ypr) while standing No. 3 in the league and No. 43 nationally in punt returns (10.8 ypr).

 

SEPULVEDA AIMS FOR GUY REPEAT

                Junior Daniel Sepulveda, who received the 2004 Ray Guy Award as the nation's top collegiate punter, has his sights set on becoming the trophy's first-ever two-time winner and only the sixth two-time All-American in school history over his final two seasons as a Bear. In its preseason annual, The Sporting News tabbed him as a preseason first-team All-American and rates him as the nation's No. 1 punter.

                A consensus 2004 first-team All-Big 12 performer, Sepulveda ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally in punting (46.0 ypp). His 44.3 ypp career average ranks No. 4 among active Division I-A punters and is the best-ever by a Bear. Sepulveda placed 41.9 percent of his punts (26 of 62) inside the opponent's 20-yard line a year ago and his net average of 42.5 ypp ranked No. 2 nationally.

                The former walk-on, who did not punt in high school, improved his net average from 37.4 ypp in 2003 to 42.5 ypp in 2004. Sepulveda's 2004 average of 46.0 ypp was the second-best single-season mark in school history and he boomed 24 punts 50 or more yards for the year.

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

                Baylor has recorded nine non-offensive scores in head coach Guy Morriss' first two seasons. Here is a look at those non-offensive scores:

                • 2003 vs. UAB -- James Todd blocked punt for safety

                • 2003 vs. Colorado -- Jamaal Harper 7-yard fumble return (forced by Derrick Cash)

                • 2003 at Kansas -- James Todd blocked punt recovery in end zone (blocked by Michael Boyd)

                • 2003 at Kansas State -- Robert Quiroga 98-yard kickoff return

                • 2003 vs. Texas Tech -- Robert Quiroga 100-yard kickoff return

                • 2003 vs. Oklahoma State -- Willie Andrews 30-yard fumble return (forced by John Garrett)

                • 2004 vs. Texas State -- Justin Crooks 9-yard fumble return (forced by Montez Murphy)

                • 2004 vs. North Texas -- Braelon Davis blocked punt recovery in end zone (blocked by Davis)

                • 2004 vs. Iowa State -- Braelon Davis defensive PAT (interception return)

 

BEARS GROWING UP

                After fielding the nation's second-youngest team a year ago (only SMU at 76.1 percent had a higher percentage of underclassmen on its 2004 roster than Baylor, whose roster was 71.1 percent underclassmen) third-year coach Guy Morriss' 2005 Baylor squad will arguably be the most-seasoned of his tenure in Waco.

                Baylor's 105-man 2005 preseason camp roster includes 17 seniors, 30 juniors, 17 sophomores and 41 freshmen. The Bears' 2004 roster, by comparison, included some 96 underclassmen among the 135 players listed.

 

IMPROVEMENT STARTING TO SHOW

                While Baylor's 2004 (3-8) and 2003 (3-9) records look nearly identical, it is quickly becoming evident that the Bears have made tremendous strides in Guy Morriss' first two seasons at the helm.

                A review of 14 major NCAA statistical categories (six offense, five defense and three special teams) showed that the 2004 Bears improved their national standing in nine areas from the 2003 campaign and in eight instances that improvement resulted in a double-digit jump in the rankings.

                In the year prior to Morriss' arrival, the Bears lost five games by at least 40 points, but his teams have combined for just four such defeats the past two years, and three of those came in his first season.

 

BEARS SHOW DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT, TOO

                In Bill Bradley's first season as the Bears' defensive coordinator, his defense produced four All-Big 12 performers and allowed an average of nearly 30 yards per game fewer (421.1 ypg) than it did in 2003 (450.0 ypg). The Bears' pass defense, which ranked 101st among all NCAA I-A programs in 2003 prior to Bradley's arrival, was rated No. 62 at the end of his first season in Waco.

                Baylor returns eight starters on the defensive side of the ball for the 2005 season, including its entire first-team secondary, and seven of its top 10 tacklers from a year ago.

 

BAYLOR AGAIN LEADS BIG 12 IN GRADUATION RATES

                For the fifth time in the Big 12 Conference's nine-year history, Baylor University posted the highest student-athlete graduation rate of any league institution, according to figures released by the NCAA last fall.

                The Bears' most-recent graduation rates, for the freshman class of 1997-98, is 78 percent, a school record by four points over the previous high of 74 percent in 2000. That figure is also 8 points higher than Baylor's general student population and 16 points better than the NCAA Division I national average of 62 percent.

                Baylor also graduated a Big 12-best 76 percent of its male student-athletes and a league-high 82 percent of its female student-athletes. The Baylor football program produced a Big 12-leading 88 percent graduation rate, marking the fifth time in the league's history it set the standard for classroom excellence.

                Among Division I-A institutions, Baylor's overall student-athlete graduation rate ranked as the nation's 10th-highest mark according to the most-recent NCAA figures.

                In addition to leading the Big 12 in graduation rates five times, Baylor ranked second on three other occasions. All-told, 88 percent of Baylor student-athletes who exhausted their eligibility and entered school from 1988-89 through 1997-98 left with degree in hand according to the NCAA study.

 

LONE STAR TIES

                The Bears' 105-man fall camp roster features 94 players who played their high school football in the Lone Star state. The other 11 players on the Baylor's camp roster hail from Louisiana (2), Oklahoma (2), California (1), Arizona (1), Nebraska (1), Missouri (1), Mississippi (1), Illinois (1) and Virginia (1).

                Of the 72 players listed on Baylor's 2005 preseason depth chart, 66 are Texans, including 21 of the 24 projected starters (includes No. 1 place-kicker and punter) for the Bears.

 

BAND OF BROTHERS

                Baylor's 2005 roster features three sets of brothers:  the Boatners (junior Yancy and true freshman Thad), Jenkins (junior Quincy and redshirt freshman Desmond) and McDonalds (senior Lequalan and true freshman LeQuantum).

 

TRANSFERS FIND HOME AT BAYLOR

                Baylor's 2005 depth chart features six players who began their collegiate careers at other Division I-A programs but have since found their way to Waco. All six are former Texas high school preps.

                Tulane transfer Will Blaylock missed nearly all of Baylor's spring drills with an ankle injury, but the junior is listed as the Bears' top center. Sophomore Jordan Adams stands No. 2 at tight end after joining the program from New Mexico.

                On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Nick Moore, who lettered at Georgia Tech as a true freshman in 2003, is No. 2 at linebacker behind senior Jamaal Harper and another Tulane transfer, sophomore Alton Widemon, is No. 2 at cornerback.

                Junior Paul Howard, the Bears' No. 3 defensive end, began his collegiate career at Texas Tech and played there as a redshirt freshman, and DT Klayton Shoals redshirted as a true freshman at Iowa State before joining the Baylor program.

                Howard and Shoals both lettered for the Bears in 2004 while the other four were in the program but sat out due to NCAA transfer rules.

 

OVER THE AIR

                Bear football games can be heard live on the Baylor Radio Network. The network includes 10 affiliates across Texas, including flagship stations ESPN KRZI-AM (1660) in Waco. All Baylor games are broadcast by the "Voice of the Bears" John Morris, a veteran broadcaster in his ninth season as the signature voice of Baylor Athletics. Former Baylor football standouts J.J. Joe (color analyst) and Ricky Thompson (sideline reporter) complete the broadcast team.

 

BAYLORBEARS.COM

                Baylor's official athletic web site can be found at www.BaylorBears.com. The comprehensive site, which includes releases, photos, biographical sketches and audio broadcasts, is part of the College Sports TV network. CSTV currently hosts sites for more than 100 universities, including four Big 12 schools and the conference office.

 

BAYLOR GAMES ON THE INTERNET

                The radio call from all of Baylor's games can be heard free of charge live on the Internet at www.BaylorBears.com.

 

INSIDE BAYLOR SPORTS TV SHOW

                Inside Baylor Sports, a half-hour look at the world of Baylor athletics, will air weekly throughout Central Texas and other outlets. The program, co-hosted by John Morris and Lori Scott Fogleman, airs on KCEN-TV Channel 6 (Sunday, 10:30 p.m. CT), Fox Sports Southwest (Wednesday, 1 p.m. CT), College Sports Television (Friday, 3:30 p.m. CT) and the College Channel (Waco cable 18).

 

NEXT UP...

                Baylor plays its first of five home games and its lone home game until mid-October, hosting Samford for a 6 p.m. CDT game at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears and the Bulldogs have met just once before, a 50-12 Baylor victory in 2002.

 


 

 

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