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Football Opens 2010 Season vs. SHSU

Baylor (0-0) vs. Sam Houston State (0-0)
Sept. 4, 2010 | 6 p.m. CDT
Waco, Texas
| Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000)
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Baylor leads 2-0
Baylor leads 2-0
    Huntsville: never met
    Neutral: never met
    First Meeting: Baylor, 13-9 [Sept. 22, 1990]
    Last Meeting: Baylor, 27-6 [Sept. 20, 2003]

0-0, 0-0 Big 12
Ranking: NR/NR/NR (AP/USA/BCS)
Head Coach: Art Briles
    Career Record: 42-44 (8th season)
    Baylor Record: 8-16 (3rd season)
    vs. SHSU: 1-0
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Jay Finley [79 att., 370 yards, 1 TD]
    Passing: Nick Florence [165-266, 1786 yards, 6 TD-9 INT]
    Receiving: Kendall Wright [66 rec., 740 yards, 4 TD)
    Tackles: Antonio Johnson [81 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks]

0-0, 0-0 SLC
Ranking: NR (FCS)
Head Coach: Willie Fritz
   Career Record: 136-52-1 (18th season)
  SHSU Record: 0-0 (1st season)
   vs. Baylor: 0-0
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
   Rushing: Bryan Randolph [16 att., 33 yards, 0 TD]
   Passing: Bryan Randolph [15-35, 97 yards, 0 TD-0 INT]
   Receiving: T.J. Jones [3 rec., 23 yards, 0 TD]
   Tackles: Kenneth Jenkins [87 tackles, 7.0 TFL]

Year three of the Art Briles era in Bear Country commences Saturday, Sept. 4, when Baylor hosts Division I FCS member Sam Houston State. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT at Floyd Casey Stadium. Saturday's home opener marks the 61st season of Floyd Casey Stadium as the home of Baylor football. It will also mark the return of sophomore QB Robert Griffin III, who missed the last nine games of the 2009 season with a knee injury. Griffin III is surrounded by an array of offensive weapons, including junior IR Kendall Wright and senior RB Jay Finley.

Nowhere is Baylor's steady improvement under Briles more evident than in the back-to-back recruiting classes his staff put together in 2009 and 2010 -- the school's highest-ranked signing classes in the Big 12 era. The 2010 signing class was ranked 39th nationally by, including a defensive backfield rated fifth nationally.

Baylor's roster includes 47 returning lettermen and 13 scholarship redshirts from 2009, six scholarship newcomers added in the spring and 18 signees reporting in the fall.

The Bears, which open the 2010 season with six straight games in the state of Texas, finished the 2009 season with their second consecutive 4-8 campaign under Briles. Baylor went 2-4 at home last season -- its 11th home losing record in the last 14 seasons.

After a 5-6 record in 2009, Sam Houston State enters 2010 under the guidance of first-year head coach Willie Fritz. The 14th head coach in Sam Houston State program history, Fritz posted a 97-47 record in 13 seasons as head coach at the University of Central Missouri.

The 2010 season will mark a comeback for Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III, who suffered a well-publicized, season-ending knee injury in the third game of 2009. The good news for Baylor's program came last November, when the Big 12 Conference approved Griffin's hardship waiver request, resulting in the 2009 season becoming a redshirt year and the retention of three seasons of eligibility. So RG3 is a redshirt sophomore in 2010 and ready to play this fall on a surgically repaired knee. The former freshman All-American (2008) went through fall drills, including scrimmage situations. "Robert is right on track to be where he needs to be," head coach Art Briles said following the spring. "We're excited about him being ready to go in the fall." The dual-threat quarterback is a former All-American track hurdler who has thrown for 2,572 yards and accounted for 34 touchdowns in 15 career games.

The 2010 season marks the 61st season of Floyd Casey Stadium as the home of Baylor Bears football. Baylor, which is 170-142-5 (.544) all-time at Floyd Casey Stadium, is 40-20 in FCS home openers -- 8-6 in the Big 12 era and 0-2 under third-year head coach Art Briles.

For the last two seasons, there was only one Robert Griffin on the Baylor football team -- QB Robert Griffin III. This season, there are two Robert Griffins -- RG3 and Robert T. Griffin (no relation). RTG, a right guard, enrolled at Baylor in January 2010, transferring from Navarro Junior College.

When Baylor opens the 2010 season against Sam Houston State, it will mark just its 26th game against NCAA Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA) competition. Baylor is 23-2 (.920) against FCS opponents, including a combined 17-1 (.944) record against current Southland Conference programs. Baylor has won 10 consecutive games against FCS teams. The Bears' last FCS loss came in 1981 against Lamar, which reinstated its football program in 2010 after a 21-year hiatus.

Sophomore QB Robert Griffin III has been electrifying in his first 15 games and he has posted rather impressive passing numbers in non-conference play. Griffin owns a flawless touchdown-to-interception ratio in seven career non-conference games, tossing 11 TDs without throwing an INT. Griffin III is 92-of-147 (62.6 percent) for 1,237 yards against non-conference foes.

Baylor's roster boasts six student-athletes who have earned their undergraduate degrees. The six graduate players are seniors Tim Atchison (FS), Mikail Baker (DB/KR), Chris Buford (DT), Derek Epperson (P), Jay Finley (RB) and Brad Taylor (TE). An additional four student-athletes are on pace to graduate in December; the quartet includes seniors Antareis Bryan (CB) and Phil Taylor (DT), junior Terrance Ganaway (RB) and sophomore Robert Griffin III (QB).

Baylor is tied for second among Big 12 schools and is tied for 11th nationally among Division I FBS programs with six graduates on its active roster. 

Baylor senior punter Derek Epperson is one of 30 NCAA football bowl subdivision student-athletes selected as a candidate for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in football.

Epperson, a Southlake, Texas native, is one of nine candidates on the list with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better. Just three years after enrolling at Baylor, Epperson graduated with a double major in management and management information systems in August. He is one of six student-athletes on the 2010 Baylor football team with an undergraduate degree.

A four-time member of the Dean's List, Epperson has also racked up quite a few awards on the field. He earned honorable mention All-America honors and was a consensus All-Big 12 pick after punting for a 44.8-yard average during the 2009 season. Additionally, Epperson has been named to the Ray Guy Award watch list in each of the last two seasons, including selection as a semifinalist in 2008. In his first season at Baylor, he earned freshman All-American honors in 2007.

To be considered for the Senior CLASS Award, student-athletes must have notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition. The award's name is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.

The candidate pool will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season. The 10 finalists will be placed on the official ballot that will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans. For more information on all 30 candidates, visit

Entering the 2010 season, Baylor sophomore QB Robert Griffin III is listed on three different award watch lists for the Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award. In July, he was listed among 30 quarterbacks on the watch list for the Davey O'Brien Award, which is presented annually to the best college quarterback by the Davey O'Brien Foundation.

In August, Griffin III was added to the watch lists for the Maxwell and Manning Awards. The Maxwell Award has been presented to the nation's most outstanding college football player since 1937. The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.



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