Sept. 24, 2007
BAYLOR (3-1, 0-0) at
SATURDAY, SEPT. 29, 2007 11:30 A.M. CDT
KYLE FIELD (82,500)
Texas A&M leads 64-30-9
BAYLOR: Guy Morriss (TCU, 1973)
Record at Baylor: 18-32 (5th season)
Career Record: 27-46 (7th season)
Record at Texas A&M: 28-24 (5th season)
Career Record: 183-97-2 (25th season)
Record vs. Baylor: 3-1
BAYLOR/ISP RADIO NETWORK
John Morris, play-by-play
J.J. Joe, color analyst
Ricky Thompson, sideline
Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 161
VERSUS NETWORK TELEVISION
Ron Thulin, play-by-play
Kelly Stouffer, color analyst
Lewis Johnson, sideline reporter
BAYLOR OPENS BIG 12 PLAY
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Sept. 29, traveling to
The Bears (3-1) have won three straight after a 34-21 victory at
The Aggies (3-1) saw their three-game winning streak snapped last Thursday night, falling 34-17 at
Saturday's game will be televised nationally on the Versus Network. Fans in
BAYLOR-TEXAS A&M SERIES
Saturday is the 104th meeting between Baylor and Texas A&M in football, the second most-played series in Baylor football history behind only TCU (105 meetings). The Aggies hold a 64-30-9 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to a 33-0 A&M victory in 1899. Texas A&M also leads the series 29-10-3 in games played at
Baylor and Texas A&M have played every season since 1931 save the 1943 and 1944 seasons when Baylor did not field a team due to World War II.
BAYLOR IN CONFERENCE OPENERS
Baylor is 45-41-4 (.522) all-time in conference openers. The Bears are 3-8 in Big 12 Conference openers; however, Baylor has won two of its four Big 12 openers under head coach Guy Morriss. Baylor won its Big 12 opener in 2002 (def.
This is only the second time Baylor has played Texas A&M in its Big 12 opener; the Bears suffered a 16-13 overtime loss at Kyle Field in 2005. Baylor faced Texas A&M to open Southwest Conference play only once -- a 17-7 Bears' victory at Floyd Casey Stadium in 1979.
In 79 seasons as a member of the Southwest Conference, Baylor was 42-33-4 (.557) in league openers. The Bears won six of their last seven, 10 of their last 12 and 14 of their last 17 such SWC games.
Baylor is 3-1 for the first time since 2005 when the Bears started 4-1.
Baylor currently rides a three-game winning streak, its first since the 2005 season (first three games) and its third three-game winning streak under head coach Guy Morriss (2003). ... A win Saturday against Texas A&M would give Baylor its first four-game winning streak since opening the 1991 season with a five-game run.
Baylor is 14-11-1 all-time when 3-1; the Bears are 6-3 in such games since 1985.
Baylor is 10-7-1 all-time when 3-1 following a win; the Bears are 4-1 in such games since 1985.
This is only the fourth time Baylor has been 3-1 with a three-game winning streak. Baylor is 2-1 all-time in such situations, winning in 1910 (TCU), winning in 1976 (SMU) and losing 1981 (at
Baylor is 120-61-2 all-time in September, including a 12-6 mark under Morriss.
Baylor is 19-6-0 all-time on the fifth Saturday of September, including an 8-3 mark on Sept. 29.
Baylor has forced at least one turnover in 24 of the last 27 games, including 16 games with at least two turnovers forced in that time.
Baylor's defense has held the opposing offense without a first-quarter touchdown in 17 of the last 26 games, including 14 first-quarter shutouts in that time.
Baylor has out-scored its opponents 38-7 in the first quarter through four games this season.
Baylor has scored 110 points in its last three games, its most in a three-game span since scoring 113 against
Baylor has scored 34-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time since accomplishing the feat against
Baylor has won 16 consecutive games when scoring at least 34 points, dating back to a 49-42 triple-overtime loss to
Baylor has been flagged 22 times for 179 yards through this season's first four games. Last year, the Bears were penalized 37 times for 367 yards through the first four games.
Baylor's defense has logged 12 quarterback sacks through the first four games of the 2007 season after recording only 11 sacks in 12 games last year.
BAYLOR-TEXAS A&M SERIES
Since Start of Big 12: Texas A&M leads 10-1
Most Points Scored, Baylor: 47 (1901)
Most Points Scored,
Most Points Scored, both teams: 83 (2003, TAMU 73-10)
Largest Margin of Victory, Baylor: 47-0 (1901)
Largest Margin of Victory,
OCT. 28, 2006 FLOYD CASEY STADIUM
Mike Goodson rumbled 64 yards on a third-and-four with 2:15 remaining to seal 22nd-ranked Texas A&M's 31-21 victory over the Bears in front of a stadium-record crowd of 51,385.
The Bears suffered more than just the loss of the game as senior quarterback Shawn Bell sustained a career-ending knee injury during the fourth quarter.
Texas A&M snapped a 21-21 tie on Layne Neumann's 22-yard field goal with 6:32 remaining. Baylor managed one first down on its ensuing possession, but the Bears were forced to punt the ball away with 4:14 to play.
The Aggies picked up one first down and then essentially put the game away with Bennett's TD run.
Baylor had one final chance as Dominique Zeigler tried to connect with a wide open Trent Shelton on a flanker pass; however, the ball just tipped off
Zeigler caught five passes for 180 yards and a TD; he had 166 yards on four snags in the first half.
Texas A&M took the game's first lead on a 3-yard Martellus Bennett TD reception from Stephen McGee with 8:13 remaining in the first quarter; however, the Aggies missed the extra point.
Baylor answered 78 seconds later on a 79-yard
The Aggies recaptured the lead on the first half's final score with 7:12 remaining before the break. On third-and-five, McGee connected with Bennett, who bounced off a would-be tackler and raced 75 yards for a TD.
Baylor pulled even again at 21-21 on the first possession of the third quarter. Paul Mosley capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run at the 10:19 mark.
BAYLOR-COLORADO GAME TIME SET
Baylor's Oct. 6 home game against
FS Jordan Lake was named Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, while Jeremy Maclin (
A product of
Lake spearheaded Baylor's defensive effort in a 34-21 victory at
The first Baylor player with a multiple-interception game since Crawford had two picks in last season's
BAYLOR IN TELEVISED GAMES
Saturday's game is the 108th televised game in Baylor football history; the Bears are 37-68-2 all-time in televised games. Baylor is 2-15 in televised games under head coach Guy Morriss, including an 0-1 mark this season. Baylor has lost 10 consecutive televised games; the Bears last victory in a televised game was their 20-10 triumph at Army on ESPN Classic in 2005. This is Baylor's first-ever sporting event televised on Versus.
Baylor opens its Big 12 Conference season on television for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The Bears are 10-6 all-time in televised conference openers. Baylor is 0-8-1 all-time against Texas A&M in televised games.
BEARS HISTORICALLY SUCCESSFUL IN SEPTEMBER
Baylor is 120-61-2 all-time in September, including a 12-6 mark under head coach Guy Morriss. The Bears are assured of an above-.500 record in September this season, accomplishing the feat for the fourth time in Morriss' five-year tenure.
The Bears have played at least one game within the year's ninth month each season since 1933. Baylor's first September game was a 17-5 loss to
Baylor has played at least three September games and gone winless only twice, going 0-3 in 1978 and going 0-4 in 1999. Interestingly, the Bears' two September ties came in consecutive weeks during the 1975 season -- a 10-10 draw at home against
SEVERAL KEY BEARS RETURN TO ACTION
Baylor expects four players who missed last Saturday's game at
Jones and Nelson missed only the
SZYMANSKI ALREADY NEARING SEASON TOUCHDOWNS LIST
With 14 touchdown passes through the season's first four games, QB Blake Szymanski already is nearing Baylor's all-time, single-season touchdown passes list. He enters Saturday's game at Texas A&M tied with Adrian Burk (1949) and J.J. Joe (1992) for fourth place on Baylor's all-time single-season touchdowns passing list. Szymanski needs one touchdown pass to tie Larry Isbell (1950) for third place and two touchdown passes to tie Terry Southall (1966) for second place. Shawn Bell established Baylor's single-season record last season with 19 touchdown passes.
Szymanski established a Baylor record for touchdown passes by a sophomore in the season's third game. With three touchdown passes last Saturday at
Through the season's first four games, Szymanski is on pace for 312 completions, 3,633 passing yards and 42 touchdown passes, all of which would shatter Baylor's single-season records.
BEARS HAVE 20/20 VISION
In four-plus seasons under head coach Guy Morriss, Baylor has established a bit of a vicenary rule on the scoreboard. The Bears are 16-11 when scoring at least 20 points and 2-21 when scoring less than 20 points since the start of the 2003 season. Likewise, the Bears are 10-3 when holding the opponent to fewer than 20 points and 8-29 when allowing 20 or more points in that time.
WHITAKER EYES RECEPTIONS MARK
RB Brandon Whitaker enters the Texas A&M game three receptions shy of cracking Baylor's career receptions top 10 list; he has 73 career catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
Whitaker also needs four receptions to tie Jeffrey Murray's school record for career receptions by a non-receiver.
INSIDE RECEIVERS FEAST
Inside and and slot receivers have accounted for 45.4 percent of Baylor's receptions this season (49 of 108), 47.9 percent of Baylor's receiving yards (593 of 1,237) and 35.7 percent of Baylor's touchdown receptions (5 of 14).
Baylor's top two receivers in all three categories are inside receivers. Justin Akers leads the team in receptions (19) and yards (230), while Brad Taylor ranks second both in receptions (13) and in yards (210). Akers leads the team with three touchdown receptions, while
MORRISS COACHES 50TH GAME AT BAYLOR
Last Saturday's 34-21 victory at
Baylor earned just 17 total victories in its first seven seasons as a member of the Big 12 Conference (1996-2002), including only four conference wins. The Bears have won 18 total games and seven Big 12 games during Morriss' tenure.
FIRST-QUARTER DEFENSIVE SUCCESS CONTINUES
Baylor's defense allowed just 57 first-quarter points in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points per game allowed in the opening period. Two of the seven first-quarter touchdowns allowed by the Bears last season were scores by the opponent's defense, meaning Baylor's defense allowed only 3.6 first-quarter points per game. The Bears' defense allowed only six first-quarter touchdowns (two of which were followed by missed extra points) and one field goal. No team scored more than one offensive touchdown, only two scored more than once -- Texas Tech (offensive touchdown and field goal) and
That success has carried over to the 2007 season as the Bears have allowed only one first-quarter score through the first four games. Baylor held TCU,
In 26 games since the 2005 season opener at SMU, Baylor has held the opponent without a first-quarter offensive touchdown 17 times with 14 first-quarter shutouts. Texas Tech last season is the only opponent to record more than one first-quarter offensive score during that time. Baylor has not allowed multiple first-quarter offensive touchdowns since UAB scored three first-quarter touchdowns in the 2004 season opener, a span of 37 games. The Bears have held the opponent without a first-quarter offensive touchdown 21 times and scoreless 16 times in those 37 games.
NOTES FROM THE
Baylor improved to 2-0 all-time against current Mid-American Conference members.
Baylor improved to 26-40-2 all-time in games played east of the Mississippi River, including a 4-1 mark in games played in
Baylor improved to 16-11 under head coach Guy Morriss when scoring at least 20-plus points and 10-2 when scoring 30-plus points.
Baylor snapped a four-game losing streak in road games.
Baylor eclipsed the 100-yard rushing plateau for the first time since rushing for 110 yards at
Baylor eclipsed the 200-yard rushing plateau for the first time since rushing for 215 yards at SMU in the 2005 season opener.
Baylor's rushing total was its highest since rushing for 280 yards against Samford in 2002.
Baylor's five turnovers forced were a season high; the Bears forced five turnovers on three different occasions last season.
Baylor tallied more rushing yards (229) than passing yards (172) for the first time since the 2005 game against
FS Jordan Lake's first-quarter interception was his first since the play on which he sustained a broken collarbone that ended his season last year against
Finley established a career high with 80 yards rushing; his previous high was 28 yards against Rice.
Szymanski established a career high with 91 yards rushing, the best single-game rushing effort by a Baylor quarterback since Odell James had 92 yards rushing against
Szymanski became the first Baylor quarterback to lead the team in rushing since Aaron Karas accomplished the feat against
Szymanski's 39-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run was the longest rush of his career.
Szymanski saw his streak of four consecutive games with at least 200 yards passing end.
Szyamanski has thrown for three-plus touchdowns in three consecutive games; he has accounted for four-plus touchdowns in three straight games.
IR Joe Bennett's 43-yard, third-quarter punt return was the longest of his career.
IR Justin Akers tied his career high with seven receptions.
Baylor has recorded 14 non-offensive scores in 50 games under head coach Guy Morriss, notching at least one such score in each of Morriss' four seasons.
2003 vs. UAB -- James Todd blocked punt for safety
2003 vs. Texas Tech -- Robert Quiroga 100-yard kickoff return
2004 vs. North Texas -- Braelon Davis blocked punt recovery in end zone (blocked by
2005 vs. Samford -- Shaun Rochon 85-yard punt return
BAYLOR TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF
Baylor ranked 113th nationally in turnover margin and forced just nine opponent miscues over the 11-game 2004 campaign, but the last three seasons it has reversed that trend. The Bears' defense has forced 65 turnovers (36 interceptions, 29 fumble recoveries) since the start of the 2005 season to tie for second in the Big 12 and tie for eighth nationally among Division I-A teams in that span. Baylor has come up with at least one turnover in 24 of 27 games since the start of the 2005 season, including 16 games with two or more.
Baylor forced 34 turnovers over 23 games in Guy Morriss' first two seasons, compared to the 65 it has totaled over the last 27 outings. Here's a look at the teams with most turnovers forced over the last three seasons:
TURNOVERS GAINED 2005 2006 2007 TOTAL
1. TCU 40 26 9 75
8. BAYLOR 29 27 9 65
11. Louisiana-Monroe 26 34 3 63
FORMER WALK-ONS EARN SCHOLARSHIPS
Six senior walk-on members of the Baylor football team were awarded scholarships for the 2007-08 academic year: OG Ricky Hasoon, LB Daniel Lopez, CB Ralph Rodriguez, OL Ted Tanner, SS Zach Jones and FB Keegan Vann.
At the end of spring practice, the Baylor staff also placed junior WR Thomas White on scholarship. Including the seniors receiving scholarships prior to the start of the season, Baylor's 2007 roster features eight walk-ons who have earned scholarships.
Since Morriss' arrival in 2003, 30 Bears have gone from walk-on to scholarship status.
BAYLOR AMONG NATION'S BEST COLLEGES
Other Big 12 schools ranked were:
AFCA SALUTES BAYLOR FOR GRADUATION RATE
Baylor was one of 34 NCAA Division I-A schools to have its football program honored with the 2007 Academic Achievement Award by the American Football Coaches Association.
In the most-recent AFCA survey, four institutions registered graduation rates of 90 percent or more for their 2001-02 freshman football class, including Northwestern and Notre Dame, which earned top honors from the Touchdown Club of Memphis with their 95 percent marks.
Baylor joined Big 12 schools
2007 SCHEDULE FEATURES EIGHT 2006 BOWL TEAMS
After playing seven of 12 games a year ago against teams that went on to earn bowl invitations, Baylor will face eight 2006 bowl teams this season, including six of its eight Big 12 opponents. But, that's nothing new for coach Guy Morriss' program, as 28 times in his first 46 games (including 25 of 32 Big 12 contests) along the Baylor sideline he's faced an opponent who ended the season in a bowl game.
The Bears' 2007 opponents combined for an 85-67 (.559) record a year ago and eight earned bowl bids -- TCU (Poinsettia champion), Rice (New Orleans), Texas (Alamo champion), Kansas State (Texas), Texas A&M (Holiday), Texas Tech (Insight champion), Oklahoma (Fiesta) and Oklahoma State (Independence champion). Baylor's eight 2007 Big 12 foes went 60-43 (.583) a year ago and recorded all three of the league's bowl wins.
Six of Baylor's eight losses in 2006 came at the hands of eventual bowl-bound teams while it knocked off Texas Bowl participant
Over Morriss' four seasons in
FOOTBALL OPERATIONS HEADED TO CAMPUS IN 2008
Ground was broken May 10, 2007, on the Alwin O. and Dorothy Highers Athletics Complex and the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center, a $34 million complex that will integrate the Baylor athletics department and football program into the campus environment for the first time since the late 1950s.
The lead gift for the privately funded project and the largest single gift in school history is from the estate of Alwin O. Highers Jr. of Alexandria, La. A native Texan and a 1939 Baylor business graduate, Mr. Highers was well known as the owner of
The focal point of the Highers Athletics Complex will be the 96,300-square-foot Simpson Athletics and
Simpson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance, with magna cum laude honors, in 1970 and his MBA in 1971.
The first floor of the Simpson Athletics and
The Highers Athletics Complex will include three football practice fields, two with a natural surface and the other with artificial turf. Construction will take approximately 18 months and is expected to be completed by July 2008.
The Bears' 2007 roster includes the sons of six former Baylor football standouts, three of whom were All-Americans during their Baylor careers. True freshmen Matt Singletary, V.J. McElroy and Chris Francis join three other sons of Baylor legacies already in the program--sophomore offensive guard Sam Sledge, redshirt freshman receiver Ben Randle and sophomore running back Tony Anderson, who must sit out the season as a transfer from
Singletary's father, Mike, was a three-time All-American and two-time Davey O'Brien Award winner who is enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame after standout playing careers at Baylor and with the NFL's Chicago Bears. McElroy's father, Vann, was a two-time All-America defensive back at Baylor who went on to play in two Pro Bowls with the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders. The younger Francis' father, James, earned 1989 All-America and Southwest Conference Player of the Year honors and was a first-round NFL Draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
David Sledge was an All-Southwest Conference performer for the Bears in 1978. Alfred Anderson, the third-leading rusher in school history, and Ervin Randle, an eight-year NFL veteran with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, were Baylor teammates in the early 1980s.
BAYLOR CONTINUES TO IMPROVE UNDER MORRISS
Introduced as Baylor's 24th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2002, Guy Morriss inherited a proud program that had fallen on hard times and produced just 13 victories in the six seasons (1997-2002) prior to his arrival. He and his staff have already posted more wins both overall (18) and in Big 12 play (seven) in five years than the Bears registered in the seven previous years (17 overall/four Big 12) before Morriss' Central Texas arrival.
Morriss has directed Baylor to seven of its 11 all-time Big 12 Conference victories and its only two conference road wins, while improving the Bears' league win total in each of the last three seasons. He owns a 18-32 record in four-plus seasons at Baylor and is 27-46 in six-plus seasons as a head coach overall.
COACHING STAFF FEATURES FIVE NEW FACES
In the off-season, Baylor's coaching staff underwent a makeover as five new faces were added, and the dean of the Bears' staff, Larry Hoefer, was promoted to defensive coordinator.
After spending the past three seasons as running backs coach at the
Cornell Jackson, who coached running backs at the
Hoefer, the only remaining member of Morriss' original staff, was named the Bears' defensive coordinator in late February when Bill Bradley was hired as secondary coach of the NFL's San Diego Chargers.
Lee Hays returns for his second season as Baylor's offensive coordinator and will also tutor the Baylor signal callers in 2007, while Gary Kinne (linebackers) and Don Wnek (defensive line) are back for their second and third seasons, respectively, in the Baylor program.
The 2007 Baylor coaching staff boasts more than 160 years of experience at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. Seven members of Baylor's staff played NCAA Division I football and five played professional football.
OVER THE AIR
Bear football games can be heard live on the Baylor/ISP Sports Radio Network. The network includes nine affiliates across
BAYLOR/ISP SPORTS FOOTBALL RADIO NETWORK
Dallas/Fort Worth WBAP-AM 820
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
UP NEXT ...
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Oct. 6, hosting