BAYLOR (1-1) vs. WASHINGTON STATE (0-2)
RADIO: Baylor/ISP Sports Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco)
INTERNET AUDIO: live broadcast stream at BaylorBears.com
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LIVE STATS: live GameTracker stats at BaylorBears.com
Date: Friday, Sept. 12, 2008
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Location: Waco, Texas
Stadium: Floyd Casey Stadium
Series: Baylor leads 3-2
Waco: Baylor leads 2-0
Pullman: Never Met
Neutral: Washington State leads 2-1
First Meeting: Baylor 31-7 [Oct. 4, 1952]
Last Meeting: WSU 17-15 [Sept. 16, 2006]
Record: 1-1, 0-0 Big 12
Career Record: 35-29 (6th season)
Baylor Record: 1-1 (1st season)
vs. Washington State: First Meeting
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
Record: 0-2, 0-1 Pac-10
Head Coach: Paul Wulff
Career Record: 53-42 (9th season)
WSU Record: 0-2 (1st season)
vs. Baylor: 0-0
Rushing: Dwight Tardy [32-79-0]
Passing: Gary Rogers [22-45-3-160-1]
Receiving: Brandon Gibson [9-83-1]
Tackles: Greg Trent [7-7-14]
Baylor returns to action Friday, Sept. 12, hosting Washington State for a 7:30 p.m. CDT kickoff at Floyd Casey Stadium. This is the third of four non-Big 12 Conference games for the Bears and the second of four non-Pacific 10 Conference games for Washington State. Friday's game will be televised regionally on FSN.
The Bears (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) look to continue their winning ways after snapping a nine-game losing streak with a 51-6 victory over Northwestern State last Saturday night. Baylor has won 14 of its last 18 non-conference home games, dating back to the 2000 season.
The Cougars (0-2, 0-1 Pac-10) dropped a 66-3 decision at home to California last Saturday. This is Washington State's second game this season against a Big 12 foe. The Cougars opened their season with a 39-13 loss to Oklahoma State in Seattle two weeks ago.
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 www.BaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CBS College Sports network.
BAYLOR-WASHINGTON STATE SERIES
Baylor and Washington State meet for the sixth time Friday, the fifth time in regular-season action. The Bears lead the series 3-2. The Cougars won each of the last two meeting, defeating Baylor 10-3 in the 1994 Alamo Bowl (Baylor's last bowl game) and 17-15 at Qwest Field in Seattle two years ago.
The teams first met Oct. 4, 1952, a 31-7 Baylor victory in Waco. The Bears posted a 20-14 win over the Cougars in 1966; the game was played at Spokane, Wash. Baylor topped Washington State 10-7 in Waco the following season.
1952 at Baylor 31, Washington State 7 Oct. 4 Waco, Texas
1966 Baylor 20, Washington State 14 Oct. 1 Spokane, Wash.
1967 at Baylor 10, Washington State 7 Oct. 7 Waco, Texas
1994 Washington State 10, Baylor 3 Dec. 31 San Antonio, Texas (Alamo Bowl)
2006 Washington State 17, BAYLOR 15 Sept. 16 Seattle, Wash.
BAYLOR vs. PAC-10 CONFERENCE FOES
Baylor is 12-11 all-time against teams currently playing football as members of the Pac-10 Conference; this is the Bears' first game against a Pac-10 team since the 2006 loss to Washington State.
Along with a 3-2 mark against Washington State, the Bears are 2-3 against Southern California, 3-1 against Washington, 1-3 against Oregon State, 2-1 against California, 1-0 against Arizona and 0-1 against Arizona State.
Baylor is 20-17-2 all-time when 1-1; however, the Bears are 6-10-1 when 1-1 following a win.
Baylor has won 14 of its last 18 non-conference home games.
Baylor is 121-62-2 all-time in September.
Baylor is 15-15 all-time on the second Saturday of September, including a 3-0 mark on Sept. 13.
This marks the second time in three seasons that Baylor has faced Northwestern State and Washington State in back-to-back games.
Baylor's 2008 opponents currently have a 20-4 combined record. One of those losses was to another Baylor opponent (Oklahoma State def. Washington State).
Griffin won the 400-meter hurdles title at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Washington State WR Jeshua Anderson finished third in that race.
White also needs 100 yards to become Baylor's 24th 1,000-yard receiver.
With his next touchdown pass, Szymanski will move into a seventh-place tie on Baylor's career list. He needs three scoring passes to move into a fifth-place tie.
Szymanski needs 234 yards to crack Baylor's career passing yardage top 10 chart.
Pawelek is tied for fifth nationally and tied for first in the Big 12 with 12.5 tackles per game.
Pawelek's final tackle last Saturday against Northwestern State was the 200th of his career.
LAST TIME vs. WASHINGTON STATE
WASHINGTON STATE 17, BAYLOR 15
SEPT. 16, 2006 QWEST FIELD SEATTLE, WASH.
Loren Langley's 17-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining capped a 14-play, 81-yard drive as Washington State defeated Baylor 17-15 at Seattle.
Baylor trailed 14-9 with less than six minutes to play when the Bears' defense silenced the crowd at Qwest Field. Nick Moore forced a fumble, which Anthony Arline picked up and returned 40 yards for a touchdown. That gave Baylor a 15-14 lead with 5:24 remaining in the game, but the Bears failed on a crucial two-point conversion attempt.
Washington State then converted on two third downs in the game-winning drive. Baylor kept the Cougars out of the end zone, denying WSU on three rushes from the 1. The Cougars fumbled on the first rush, but Washington State recoverd.
That set the stage for Langley's game-winning field goal.
Baylor build a 9-0 lead through the first quarter. The Bears got a safety when Washington State's first drive of the game ended with an errant snap on a punt that went through the back of the end zone. It was Baylor's first 2-0 lead since 1980 at Texas Tech.
On the ensuing drive, Baylor marched 59 yards on seven plays for a touchdown. Shawn Bell capped the drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Justin Fenty. It was Fenty's first career reception, and it came on his third career play from scrimmage.
Washington State got on the board with 4:25 remaining in the second quarter when Gary Rogers connected with Jason Hill from 13 yards out. It was the first first-half score allowed by Baylor in the 2006 season.
The Cougars captured the lead on their second possession of the third quarter on a 10-play, 82-yard drive. WSU used a trick play to take the lead as Dwight Tardy connected with quarterback Alex Brink on a halfback pass from 4 yards out.
Bell finished the day with 256 yards on 31-of-48 passing; however, he was intercepted twice for the first time in five games and only the fourth time in his career.
GRIFFIN DAZZLES IN STARTING DEBUT
QB Robert Griffin accounted for 336 yards and four touchdowns in his first career start last Saturday against Northwestern State. He was 15-of-19 passing for 294 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Griffin also rushed 10 times for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Griffin's 336 yards of total offense tied for the 13th-best, single-game total in school history, second all-time at Baylor by a freshman. Meanwhile, his passing yardage total ranked 21st in school history and third all-time by a Baylor freshman. He did all that despite not playing the fourth quarter.
Griffin's touchdown passes were for lengths of 49, 47 and 32 yards. Scoring summaries for Baylor football games are on file dating back to the 1946 season. Since then, no other Baylor quarterback has recorded three touchdown passes of at least 30 yards each in the same game. In fact, only one other time since 1946 has Baylor thrown three touchdown passes of at least 30 yards in a game as a team. That was in the 1979 victory at Army (55-0); however, each pass was by a different quarterback.
WHITE CRACKS TOUCHDOWN RECPTION CHART
WR Thomas White's third-quarter touchdown reception against Northwestern State last week was the 11th of his career. He moved into a an eighth-place tie on Baylor's career chart, matching Stanley Williams (1949-51), George Cheshire (1965-67) and Marques Roberts (2001-04). Seven of White's touchdown receptions have come in his last six games.
White needs two touchdown receptions to tie Bruce Davis (1980-83) and Dominique Zeigler (2003-06) for sixth all-time at Baylor. Lawrence Elkins (1962-64) and Melvin Bonner (1989-92) hold Baylor's career record; each had 19 touchdown receptions.
BEARS MAKE GOOD USE OF COMPLETIONS
Baylor has completed 35 passes this season, 22 of which have resulted in first downs (62.9 percent). Last week against Northwestern State, 14 of the Bears' 20 completions moved the chains (70.0 percent). Last season, Baylor established a school record with 280 completions; however, only 148 resulted in first downs (52.9 percent).
Furthermore, Baylor completions have resulted in touchdowns 11.4 percent of the time this season (4-of-35). Last season, only 7.5 percent the Bears' completions resulted in touchdowns (21-of-280).
BEARS LOOK TO SNAP NON-BIG 12 BCS CURSE
Baylor is 1-6 against non-conference BCS opponents since the inception of the BCS in 1998. The Bears' lone victory was its second such game, a 33-30 victory against North Carolina State in 1998. Baylor also defeated South Florida 28-13 in 2000; however, that was before USF joined the Big East Conference, thus becoming a BCS school.
The Bears' six losses to non-conference BCS opponents were at Oregon State in 1998, at Notre Dame in 1998, at Boston College in 1999, at home against Minnesota in 2000, at California in 2002 and against Washington State in Seattle in 2006.
RUSHING NUMBERS UP
Baylor rushed for 207 yards last week against Northwestern State. The Bears eclipsed the 200-yard plateau for only the second time in the last 34 games and the 100-yard plateau for only the fourth time in the last 28 games. Baylor has averaged 4.1 yards per rush this season, up from 3.1 yards per carry last year.
The Bears already have matched their rushing touchdown total from last season. Baylor's five rushing touchdowns last year were its fewest in a season since 2000 and tied for the team's lowest total since a two-touchdown campaign in 1967.
NOTES FROM THE NORTHWESTERN STATE GAME
Baylor snapped a nine-game losing streak with the victory. It was Baylor's longest skid since a 10-game streak that spanned the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
Baylor snapped a five-game losing streak at home with the victory. It was Baylor's longest such skid since a five-game streak that spanned the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
Baylor's 23-point first quarter was the 10th-highest-scoring period in Baylor history.
Most first-quarter points by a Baylor team since the Bears scored 35 points (school record) in a 54-20 victory at San Jose State in 1994.
Most first-half points by a Baylor team since the Bears scored 38 points in a 44-34 victory over Oklahoma State in the 2005 finale.
Most points by a Baylor team since a 56-point outing against Southern Illinois in 2001.
Most total yards by a Baylor team since the Bears compiled 546 yards against Samford in 2002.
Fewest total yards allowed by a Baylor team since the Bears held Arkansas State to 172 yards in 2001.
First time holding an opponent without a touchdown since a 17-3 victory over Kansas State in 2006.
First time holding an opponent scoreless in the second half since Kansas in 2006.
First time holding an opponent to less than 75 yards rushing since Kansas State in 2006 (45).
Largest margin of victory since the Bears defeated SMU 49-3 in 1989.
Fewest passing yards allowed since the Bears held Oklahoma State to 123 in 2006.
Finley's first-quarter, 40-yard touchdown run was a career-long rush.
Finley's third-quarter, 47-yard touchdown reception was a career-long play.
Griffin recorded the first touchdown pass of his career.
Griffin became the first Baylor player to account for four touchdowns since Szymanski accounted for four (three passing, one rushing) at Buffalo last season.
LB Anthony Johnson established a career high with seven tackles.
THOSE GOOD OLD BAYLOR LINES
For the first time in several years, Baylor fields veteran units on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Bears' five starting offensive linemen have combined for 81 career starts; LT Jason Smith leads the way with 29 career starts, followed by RT Dan Gay with 24 starts. Meanwhile, the Bears four starting defensive linemen have combined for 63 career starts; DT Vincent Rhodes leads the way with 24 career starts, while DE Jason Lamb has 22 career starts.
All nine of those players had started at least one game prior to this season. In fact, only DE Leon Freeman (one start prior to this season) and LG Jordan Hearvey (six starts prior to this season) had fewer than 12 starts under their belts entering the 2008 campaign. Six of Baylor's nine starting linemen have started every game since the start of last season.
Baylor head coach Art Briles has a penchant for giving his players nicknames. Virtually every player on the Bears' roster has a nickname. Some came to Baylor with their nickname, and some have been given nicknames by Briles. Some of the more commonly heard nicknames from Briles are Shazam (QB Blake Szymanski), Romeo (IR Romie Blaylock), All-Star (PK Ben Parks), Diego (BS Larry Washington), Motown (RB Jeremy Sanders), Swerve (LG Jordan Hearvey) J-Willy (S Jeremy Williams), Yosemite Sam or Yo-Yo (RB Ray Sims) and Marty Akins (TE Justin Akers).
TRANSFERS FIND HOME AT BAYLOR
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.
HOME SWEET HOME
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).
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).
SCHEDULE AMONG NATION'S TOUGHEST
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 ESPN.com, 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.
Furthermore, Baylor's 2008 opponents currently tout a 20-4 combined record. One of those losses was to another Baylor opponent as Oklahoma State defeated Washington State.
DEGREE IN HAND
Five members of Baylor's 2008 football squad already have received their undergraduate degrees: QB Kirby Freeman, LB Ben Hixson, DT Vincent Rhodes, QB Ryan Roberts and LT Jason Smith. That leads the Big 12 Conference and ties for 11th nationally along with Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and UCF. Boston College and Virginia Tech lead all schools, each with 10 such players. Auburn, Clemson and Maryland each have eight. Arizona State, Memphis, Ohio State and Penn State each have seven, while Northwestern has six.
FORMER SIGNAL CALLERS FIND NEW HOMES
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.
SEVERAL BEARS EARN PRESEASON ACCOLADES
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.
LAKE NAMED TO THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST
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.
PAWELEK ON BUTKUS AWARD WATCH LIST
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.
WALTON IN RUNNING FOR RIMINGTON TROPHY
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.
BAYLOR AMONG TOP UNIVERSITIES
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.
FORMER WALK-ONS EARN SCHOLARSHIPS
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.
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 CBS College Sports network. CBS College Sports currently hosts sites for more than 100 universities, including five Big 12 schools.
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," 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 www.BaylorTV.com. "Inside Baylor Sports" also may been seen nationally on CBS' College Sports Television.
Baylor returns to action Friday, Sept. 19, traveling to East Hartford, Conn., to face Connecticut. Kickoff between the Bears and the Huskies is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT at Rentschler Field. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
This is the first-ever meeting between Baylor and Connecticut and Baylor's first game against a Big East Conference member since facing Boston College in 1999. It also is Baylor's final non-Big 12 game this season.