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Bears Host Northwestern State

Sept. 1, 2008


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Date:  Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008

Kickoff:  6:00 p.m. CDT

Location:  Waco, Texas

Stadium:  Floyd Casey Stadium

Capacity:  50,000

Series:  Baylor leads 1-0

            Waco:  Baylor leads 1-0

            Natchitoches:  Never Met

            Neutral:  Never Met

            First Meeting:  Baylor 47-10 [Sept. 9, 2006]

            Last Meeting:  Baylor 47-10 [Sept. 9, 2006]



Record:  0-1, 0-0 Big 12

Ranking:  NR/NR

Head Coach:  Art Briles

            Career Record:  34-29 (6th season)

            Baylor Record:  0-1 (1st season)

            vs. Northwestern:  First Meeting

Statistical Leaders:

            Rushing:  Robert Griffin [11-29-1]

            Passing:  Robert Griffin [11-19-0-125-0]

            Receiving:  David Gettis [5-46-0]

            Tackles:  Joe Pawelek [2-13-15]



Record:  1-0, 0-0 Southland

Ranking:  NR/NR

Head Coach:  Scott Stroker

            Career Record:  37-33 (7th season)

            NSU Record:  37-33 (7th season)

            vs. Baylor:  0-1

Statistical Leaders:

            Rushing:  John Hundley [14-83-1]

            Passing:  John Hundley [9-17-0-83-1]

            Receiving:  Dudley Guice [6-58-1]

            Tackles:  Gary Riggs [4-4-8]



Baylor returns to action Saturday, Sept. 6, hosting Northwestern State for an NCAA inter-division game. Kickoff between the Bears and the Demons is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT at Floyd Casey Stadium. This is the second of four non-Big 12 Conference games for the Bears; it also is the Bears' lone game this season against an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision member.

            The Bears (0-1, 0-0 Big 12) look to stop a nine-game losing streak that dates back to last season. It is the program's longest skid since a 10-game streak that spanned the 1998 and 1999 campaigns. Baylor also looks to snap a five-game losing streak at Floyd Casey Stadium.

            The Demons (1-0, 0-0 Southland) opened their season last Saturday with a 30-14 victory at home over NCAA Division II member Texas A&M-Commerce. This is Northwestern State's lone game against an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision member this season. It also is the Demon's last road game until Oct. 18.

            All Baylor football games are broadcast live on the Baylor/ISP Sports Radio Network; Waco's 1660 ESPN Radio is the network's flagship station. Live streaming audio and GameTracker also are available for all Baylor football games online at, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CBS College Sports network. Streaming video also is available on a delayed basis for Saturday's game.




            Despite being separated by less than 300 miles, Baylor and Northwestern State have played only once before in football. That was a 47-10 Baylor victory at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2006.




            In 1978, the NCAA split Division I football into two divisions -- Division I-A and Division I-AA (now called Football Championship Subdivision). Since then, Baylor is 13-0 against FCS opponents, including a 34-27 victory over Texas State in 2007. This is the ninth straight season in which Baylor has played a FCS opponent. Here is a list of Baylor's previous 13 games against FCS opponents:


            1982     Baylor 21, North Texas 17

            1986     Baylor 38, Louisiana Tech 7

            1987     Baylor 13, Louisiana Tech 3

            1988     Baylor 45, Texas State 7

            1990     Baylor 13, Sam Houston State 9

            2000     Baylor 20, South Florida 13

            2001     Baylor 56, Southern Illinois 12

            2002     Baylor 50, Samford 12

            2003     Baylor 27, Sam Houston State 6

            2004     Baylor 24, Texas State 17

            2005     Baylor 48, Samford 14

            2006     Baylor 47, Northwestern State 10

            2007     Baylor 34, Texas State 27




• Baylor has lost nine consecutive games, its longest losing streak since a 10-game skid that spanned the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

• The Bears opened their season with a loss for the third consecutive season and sixth time in the last seven years.

• Baylor has not started 0-2 since 2003 when the Bears lost to UAB and at North Texas. Only one other time (1999) have the Bears started 0-2 since 1993. The Bears started 0-2 four times in nine seasons from 1984 to 1992.

• Baylor is 120-62-2 all-time in September.

• Baylor is 15-8 all-time on the first Saturday of September, including a 3-1 mark on Sept. 6.

• This marks the first time in Baylor history that the Bears have faced an opponent with the word "demon" in its nickname in consecutive weeks.

• WR Thomas White needs one touchdown reception to move into an eighth-place tie on Baylor career chart.

• White also needs 159 yards to become Baylor's 24th 1,000-yard receiver.

• LB Joe Pawelek needs 20 tackle assists to crack Baylor's career top 10 list.

• Pawelek needs 10 tackles to reach 200 for his career.

• FS Jordan Lake has recorded at least five tackles in 14 consecutive games.






            In a game marred by penalties, Shawn Bell passed for 288 yards and four TD passes in a 47-10 Baylor victory. Bell's yardage total was a career high at the time, and his touchdown total tied what was at that time Baylor's single-game record.

            The game saw 31 total penalties, five shy of the NCAA record. Northwestern State was flagged 20 times, one shy of the NSU school record and three shy of the NCAA record. It was the most penalties ever incurred by a Baylor opponent.

            Bell connected on 24-of-41 passes, incluing nine passes for 158 yards and one touchdown to Trent Shelton. It was the first 100-yard game for Shelton, who recorded his 35th consecutive game with at least one catch. That broke Reggie Newhouse's Baylor record, established over the 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons. Shelton's yardage total was a career high, the best single-game effort by a Baylor player since 2001 at the time and still ranks 16th in school history.

            Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson snagged a pair of first-quarter interceptions, the second of which he returned 52 yards for a TD. One play after Wilson's first pick, Bell connected with Shelton for a 46-yard scoring strike.

            Baylor added a pair of Ryan Havens field goals in the second quarter to take a 20-0 halftime lead. Northwestern State scored 10 third-quarter points, but Bell answered with the first of two TD passes to Trey Payne.

            The Bears salted the game away with three TD passes in the fourth quarter; the last was Thomas White's second TD catch of the game and Blake Szymanski's first career TD pass.

            Bell connected with nine different receivers. Mario Price, who earned his first career start at tailback, caught five passes for 34 yards. Bell became the first Baylor quarterback to toss four TD passes in a non-overtime game since 1966 when Terry Southall accomplished the feat against Syracuse.




            Baylor is 13-0 all-time against schools currently playing as Southland Conference members. Most of that history has been against Texas State, against which the Bears are 7-0 all-time after a 34-27 victory over the Bobcats last season. Baylor also is 3-0 against Stephen F. Austin, but the programs have not met since 1947. The Bears are 2-0 against Sam Houston State; the Bears and the Bearkats last met in 2003.




• First time Baylor recorded a rushing touchdown in a season opener since registering three rushing touchdowns in the 2005 opener at SMU.

• Baylor's first rushing touchdown last season came in the season's fourth game (at Buffalo).

• Baylor's first rushing touchdown by a running back last season came in the fourth quarter of the season's fifth game (at Texas A&M).

• Baylor recorded multiple rushing touchdowns for only the second time in its last 15 games. The Bears' only such game last year was a two-TD game against Colorado.

• Two Bears made their first career starts:  QB Kirby Freeman and LB Antonio Johnson.

• QB Robert Griffin was the first true freshman to play quarterback for Baylor since Davon Vinson in 2001.

• RB Jacoby Jones' second-quarter touchdown run was the first rushing touchdown of his career.

• LB Antonio Jones established a career high with nine tackles; his previous high was six tackles on three different occasions.

• LB Antonio Jones' fumble recovery was the first of his career.

• LB Antonio Johnson established a career high with six tackles; his previous high was four tackles on two different occasions.

• CB Dwain Crawford forced and recovered a fumble; each was the first of his career.

• LB Joe Pawelek set a career high with 15 tackles; his previous high was 14 at Colorado in 2006.

• Pawelek's tackles total was the best single-game tally by a Baylor linebacker since Anthony Simmons had 17 stops against Minnesota in 2000.

• S Jeremy Williams tied a career high eight tackles, matching his total at Oklahoma in 2007.




            Baylor's 2008 roster features six student-athletes who began their collegiate careers at other NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision universities:  LS Casey Cooper (Alabama), QB Kirby Freeman (Miami-FL), DE Adam Geib (Air Force), CB Drew Kerr (Houston), DT Phillip Taylor (Penn State) and C J.D. Walton (Arizona State). Freeman and Walton both started in the Wake Forest game; it was Walton's 13th consecutive start for the Bears. Taylor will be eligible next season.




            Baylor plays seven home games this season for only the sixth time since Floyd Casey Stadium opened in 1950. The Bears open with three straight home games for the first time since 1992 and only the second time since 1945.

            In all, Baylor has played at least three straight home games to open a season 13 times:  1899 (all four games that season were at home), 1904 (first six and seven of eight games that season were at home), 1909 (first six and seven of eight games that season were at home), 1913 (three), 1918 (three), 1919 (three), 1923 (three), 1928 (three), 1929 (four), 1935 (three), 1945 (three), 1992 (three) and 2008 (three).




            During spring practice, 10 Baylor players changed positions from last season. An 11th player made a position change during preseason drills as Jeremy Sanders moved from quarterback to running back.

            Position changes made during the spring were as follows:  Mikail Baker (wide receiver to inside receiver), Krys Buerck (wide receiver to cornerback), Elliott Coffey (safety to linebacker), Dwain Crawford (rover to cornerback), Antonio Johnson (defensive end to linebacker), V.J. McElroy (cornerback to inside receiver), Ray Sims (outside safety to running back), Matt Singletary (defensive end to inside receiver), Sam Sledge (offensive line to defensive line) and John David Weed (quarterback to inside receiver).




            Baylor's 2008 schedule ranks among the nation's most difficult as the Bears face eight opponents who participated in bowl games last season. The Bears' schedule ranks as the nation's fifth-toughest, according to, and Phil Steele's College Football Preview magazine ranks the Bears' schedule as the nation's seventh-toughest. Both outlets have Baylor's slate as the Big 12 Conference's toughest.

            In fact, Baylor is one of only three schools from BCS conferences to play at least three non-conference games against other teams from BCS conferences. Coincidentally, the Bears play both of the other such teams -- Connecticut and Wake Forest (Washington State is the Bears' other BCS non-conference opponent).

            Five of Baylor's 12 opponents are ranked nationally to start the season:  Oklahoma (4th in the Associated Press Top 25/4th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll), Missouri (6th/7th), Texas (11th/10th), Texas Tech (12th/14th) and Wake Forest (23rd/23rd). Baylor has not played more than four opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at time of game in one season since facing five such teams in 1998.




            Baylor's 2008 roster features 10 student-athletes who were starting quarterbacks in high school, including two former signal callers who played quarterback beyond high school.

            Inside receiver John David Weed was on Baylor's depth chart at quarterback last fall and saw action in three games during the 2007 season; he also was the starting quarterback at Tyler [Texas] Junior College during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

            Another junior college transfer -- running back Jeremy Sanders -- made the move to another position after playing quarterback beyond high school. Sanders, a product of Marlin [Texas] High School, spent two seasons as the starting quarterback at Navarro [Texas] College before transferring to Baylor this season.

            The most interesting position change was that of Zac Scotton, who now plays defensive end. The six-foot-six, 255-pound Scotton made the switch away from quarterback prior to his junior season at Houston's Cypress Creek High School after out-growing the position.




            Four Baylor student-athletes were named preseason All-Big 12 Conference by various outlets -- wide receiver David Gettis, free safety Jordan Lake, linebacker Joe Pawelek and left tackle Jason Smith.

            Lake was the most highly decorated, also earning honorable mention All-America honors from The Sporting News. He was named all-conference by the league's coaches, and he was a first-team all-conference selection by Lindy's, The Sporting News, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and CollegeFootballNews. Lake also earned second-team all-Big 12 honors from Athlon and Phil Steele.

            Pawelek, who joined Lake on the coaches' preseason All-Big 12 team, was a first-team all-conference selection by Athlon, Lindy's, The Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews. He was tabbed second-team all-league by Phil Steele.

            Smith earned second-team all-Big 12 honors from Athlon and Lindy's, while he was a fourth-team all-conference pick by Phil Steele. Gettis was named third-team all-Big 12 by Phil Steele.




            Jordan Lake is one of 40 student-athletes included on the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. The award is given annually to the nation's best defensive back.

            A consensus second-team All-Big 12 honoree as a sophomore in 2007, Lake registered six double-digit tackle games a year ago and finished the season with 120 total tackles, the most by a Baylor player since 2003. He ranked third in the Big 12 (first among defensive backs) and 30th nationally with 10.0 tackles per game last season.

            A screening committee will meet Oct. 3 to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semifinalists. Three finalists will be selected Nov. 24. The names of these finalists will be submitted to a national panel of sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The winner will be announced at the ESPN College Football Awards Show.

            Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.




            Joe Pawelek was named to the 2008 Butkus Award Watch List; the award is given annually to the nation's top collegiate linebacker. Pawelek, a 2006 Freshman All-American, is one of 66 student-athletes on the initial watch list, including 2007 winner James Laurinaitis.

            A product of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas, Pawelek has been among Baylor's leaders in tackles each of the past two seasons. He led the Bears with 86 stops as a freshman in 2006 and was second on the team with 99 tackles last year. A 2007 All-Big 12 Conference selection, Pawelek tallied eight tackles for loss, including two sacks, forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had one interception last season.

            Pawelek is one of only four linebackers from the Big 12 on the Butkus Award Watch List, joining Joe Mortensen of Kansas, Ryan Reynolds of Oklahoma and Sean Witherspoon of Missouri.




            J.D. Walton is one of 42 players on the Rimington Trophy's 2008 watch list. He is one of seven Big 12 Conference student-athletes on the list. The Rimington Trophy annually recognizes the nation's top center.

            One of three Baylor offensive linemen to start every 2007 game, Walton was a key cog along a Bears' line which yielded just 21 sacks (on a school-record 561 pass attempts), the program's fewest since 1995. He shared the team's 2007 Best Offensive Lineman Award with tackle Jason Smith.

            Walton saw action on 65 or more plays in 10 games with a high of 97 at Buffalo. For the season, he played 911 snaps, most by a Baylor offensive performer in 2007, and second-most overall behind free safety Jordan Lake's 974.

            Included on the 2008 Spring Watch List are two finalists from the 2007 Watch List, as well as the award's 2007 winner in Arkansas' Jonathan Luigs. The 2008 winner will be honored at the Rimington Trophy presentation banquet Jan. 17 at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb.




            Seven former walk-ons have been awarded scholarships for the 2008-09 academic year:  Joe Bennett, Carter Brunelle, Ty Findley, Chris Greisenbeck, Ryan Roberts, Sam Sledge and Larry Washington. Baylor has awarded 37 former walk-ons with scholarships since 2003. Most notable of that group was punter Daniel Sepulveda, who was the first two-time winner of the Ray Guy Award and was drafted in fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.




            In a recent Forbes Magazine study, Baylor ranked as the nation's 34th-best university and the top university in the Big 12 Conference. The Forbes list ranked 127 universities. Baylor ranked as the third-best university in the state of Texas behind only SMU (13th) and Rice (24th). Baylor was the 19th-ranked non-Ivy League private university in the nation, sixth among schools with religious affiliations.

            Other Big 12 schools in the Forbes rankings were Texas (44th), Texas A&M (49th), Missouri (53rd), Colorado (62nd), Kansas (67th), Oklahoma (73rd), Kansas State (108th), Iowa State (120th) and Nebraska (123rd). Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were not ranked.

            U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Baylor at No. 76 -- only one point from tying five other universities at No. 71 -- among the nation's top national doctoral-granting universities. The ranking in the magazine's 2009 edition of "America's Best Colleges" represents Baylor's second-highest overall U.S. News ranking, just behind last year's ranking at No. 75. The magazine evaluated more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools.

            Universities in the state of Texas continue to lead the Big 12 among the publication's "Best National Universities." Among Big 12 schools, Baylor is the third highest-ranked university behind only Texas (47th) and Texas A&M (64th). Other Big 12 schools ranked were Colorado (77th); Iowa State, Kansas and Nebraska (tied for 89th); Missouri (96th); Oklahoma (108th); and Kansas State (130th). Oklahoma State and Texas Tech both are in the third tier.




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




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




            "Inside Baylor Sports," the award winning weekly TV show that covers all aspects of Baylor athletics, returns for its 10th season during the 2008-2009 academic year.

            Senior Producer Robert Shiekh and Producer Kyle Lewis provide viewers an inside look at Baylor athletics with thorough highlights, in-depth interviews and imaginative features on all 18 sports presented in a fast-paced, entertaining style. Co-hosts John Morris and Lori Fogleman guide viewers through the best coverage of Baylor athletics on television.

            "Inside Baylor Sports" airs Sundays, Aug. 24, 2008 through June 7, 2009, at 10:30 p.m. CT on KCEN-TV in Central Texas. The program also airs weekly throughout the region on FSN Southwest at 1 p.m. each Wednesday beginning Aug. 27 and is archived on the web at "Inside Baylor Sports" also may been seen nationally on CBS' College Sports Television.




            Baylor returns to action Sept. 13, hosting Washington State for an 11:30 a.m. CDT kickoff at Floyd Casey Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on FSN. Baylor and Washington State have met five times previously; the Bears hold a 3-2 edge in the series. However, the Cougars have won each of the last two meetings, including a 17-15 decision at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash., during the 2006 season.



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