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BAYLOR (2-3, 0-1) vs. IOWA STATE (2-3, 0-1)
Radio: Baylor/ISP Sports Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco)
Television: Fox College Sports (Check with your local provider for channel information)
Internet Audio: Live broadcast stream at BaylorBears.com
Internet Video: None
Live Stats: Live GameTracker stats at BaylorBears.com
GAME INFORMATIONWaco: Iowa State leads 2-1
Date: Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008
Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. CDT
Location: Waco, Texas
Stadium: Floyd Casey Stadium
Series: Iowa State leads 4-3
Ames: tied 2-2
Neutral: Never Met
First Meeting: Baylor 35-0 [Sept. 17, 1988]
Last Meeting: Baylor 23-13 [Oct. 8, 2005]
BAYLOR BEARSCareer Record: 36-31 (6th season)
Record: 2-3, 0-1 Big 12
Head Coach: Art Briles
Baylor Record: 2-3 (1st season)
vs. Iowa State: 0-0
Rushing: Robert Griffin [76-436-7]
Passing: Robert Griffin [58-104-0-831-7]
Receiving: Kendall Wright [19-201-1]
Tackles: Joe Pawelek [15-46-61]
IOWA STATE CYCLONESCareer Record: 3-9 (2nd season)
Record: 2-3, 0-1 Big 12
Head Coach: Gene Chizik
Iowa State Record: 3-9 (2nd season)
vs. Baylor: 0-0
Rushing: Alexander Robinson [53-198-1]
Passing: Austen Arnaud [81-128-3-911-7]
Receiving: R.J. Sumrall [25-390-5]
Tackles: James Smith [19-16-35]
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Oct. 11, hosting Iowa State in a Big 12 Conference inter-division game. Kickoff between the Bears and Cyclones is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Floyd Casey Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on Fox College Sports. This is Baylor's fourth consecutive televised game and fifth in six games this season.
The Bears (2-3, 0-1 Big 12) look to stop a two-game skid after dropping a 49-17 decision to top-ranked Oklahoma at home last Saturday. Baylor also hopes to end a 13-game losing streak in Big 12 play that dates back to the Bears' memorable 36-35 comeback victory over Kansas in 2006.
The Cyclones (2-3, 0-1 Big 12) have lost three straight after opening the season with wins over South Dakota State and Kent State. Iowa State's last two losses have come in heart-breaking fashion. The Cylones lost 34-31 in overtime to UNLV three weeks ago. After an open date, Iowa State squandered a 20-0 lead in a 35-33 loss to then-No. 16 Kansas last Saturday. Iowa State has lost nine consecutive Big 12 road games, dating back to a 42-14 victory at Texas A&M in 2005.
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. Saturday's game also will be carried on Sirius Radio 161. 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-IOWA STATE SERIES
Saturday is the eighth meeting between Baylor and Iowa State in football, the seventh as Big 12 Conference opponents. The first meeting was a 35-0 Baylor victory at Ames, Iowa, in 1988. The Bears also won the first meeting as Big 12 foes, a 49-21 decision Oct. 26, 1996, in Waco. However, the Cyclones have won the next four meetings: 24-17 at Ames in 1997, 31-17 at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2000, 41-0 at Ames in 2001 and 26-25 at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2004. The Bears snapped that streak with a 23-13 victory at Ames in 2005. Baylor has played Iowa State fewer times than any other Big 12 team.
SERIES NOTES: Baylor's 2005 victory was its first-ever Big 12 road victory and one of only two such wins in the program's history (at Colorado, 2006). The 2005 win snapped Baylor's 38-game conference losing streak, which included its final game as a member of the Southwest Confernece. ... Baylor's 1988 victory was the third of three consecutive victories to open the season; the Bears lost the following week at Texas Tech and finished the year 6-5 overall. In that game, Baylor out-gained Iowa State 380-160 and ran 27 more plays than the Cyclones. The game was televised regionally on Raycom. The Bears held Iowa State to 51 yards rushing on 36 carries and 53 yards on 7-of-17 passing. It was the last time Baylor held an opponent to fewer than 60 yards both rushing and passing. ... The 1996 victory was Baylor's first as a Big 12 member. Baylor tallied a season-high 624 yards of offense, including 397 on the ground (tied for third in school history), with four rushing TDs and three passing TDs. Baylor's 49 points still stand as the most by the Bears in a Big 12 game. The game featured a 69-yard run by Jerod Douglas, tied for the 16th-longest in school history. Douglas finished with 19 carries for 154 yards, the 18th-best single-game total in school history and the third-best single-game total in a Big 12 contest. ... The Bears held Iowa State to 257 yards of total offense last season, the best defensive outing ever by a Baylor team in a Big 12 game.
The NCAA ranks the Bears' schedule as the nation's fifth-toughest. Baylor's Division I FBS opponents currently have a 39-15 combined record against Division I FBS opponents.
All three Baylor losses this season have come against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches' Poll at some point this season, including two on the day of the game.
Baylor currently is in a six-game stretch with four games against teams ranked No. 17 nationally or higher.
Baylor is 8-28 against Big 12 North opponents since the league's inception.
Baylor is 38-76-2 all-time in televised games.
Baylor is 8-0 in takeaways-turnovers over the last two games.
Baylor has not committed a turnover in three straight games. No Baylor team has gone turnover-free in four straight games in the program's modern history (since 1946).
Baylor quarterbacks have not thrown an interception in four straight games, the program's longest run since the final five games of the 1990 season.
Baylor already has rushed for more yards than in either of the last two seasons and nearly as many yards as in the last two seasons combined.
Baylor is one rushing touchdown shy of equaling its total from the last two seasons combined.
Baylor ranks 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 in rushing (218.0 ypg)
Baylor is 10th nationally and third in the Big 12 in net punting (39.4 ypp).
Baylor is tied for 12th nationally and ranks second in the Big 12 in turnover margin (plus-1.2 tpg).
QB Robert Griffin ranks third in the Big 12 and 42nd nationally in rushing (87.2 ypg). He also ranks 30th nationally in passing efficiency (145.10), and he is 30th nationally in total offense (253.4 ypg).
Griffin ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game among quarterbacks, fourth among freshmen, second among true freshmen and first among freshmen quarterbacks.
Griffin has scored at least one rushing touchdown in five consecutive games, the longest such streak by a Baylor player since Jerod Douglas had a six-game run in 1995.
RB Jay Finley ranks seventh in the Big 12 and 67th nationally in rushing (73.0 ypg).
Baylor and Oklahoma State are the only Big 12 teams with two players in the league's rushing yardage top 10.
LB Joe Pawelek ranks fourth nationally and first in the Big 12 in tackles (12.2 tpg). He also is tied for 35th nationally and tied for fourth in the league in interceptions (0.4 ipg).
Pawelek has recorded at least 10 tackles in all five games this season.
LB Antonio Johnson is tied for seventh in the Big 12 and 74th nationally in tackles (8.0 tpg).
Baylor's three starting linebackers have combined for 136 tackles this season, 30.0 percent of the team's total tackles.
P Derek Epperson ranks 27th nationally and second in the Big 12 in punting (42.3 ypp).
DE Leon Freeman is tied for 43rd nationally and tied for fifth in the conference with 1.2 tackles for loss per game.
Four Bears have started at least 20 consecutive games: RT Dan Gay (27), Pawelek (26), DT Vincent Rhodes (25) and DE Jason Lamb (23).
Three Baylor true freshmen are listed first at their respective positions: Griffin, PK Ben Parks and WR Kendall Wright.
BAYLOR-OKLAHOMA STATE GAME TIME SET
Kickoff for Baylor's Oct. 18 game at Oklahoma State has been scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. The game will not be televised, ending a streak of four consecutive televised games for the Bears.
LAST TIME vs. IOWA STATE
BAYLOR 23, IOWA STATE 13
OCT. 8, 2005 JACK TRICE STADIUM AMES, IOWA
Paul Mosley's 1-yard TD run with one minute, 36 seconds remaining iced Baylor's first ever Big 12 Conference road victory as the Bears defeated Iowa State 23-13.
Ryan Havens' 36-yard field goal put Baylor ahead to stay at 16-13 with 12:19 left. Havens earlier had true placements from 21 yards and 49 yards, the longest Baylor field goal since 2001. He established a career high with three field goals made on the day.
ISU led 13-10 at halftime but was doomed by two fumbles in the second half. Baylor followed the second fumble with a 12-play, 81-yard drive that ended in Mosley's game-clinching TD run.
A critical play came in the third quarter with Iowa State leading by three and in position to take control. Jamaal Harper got a helmet on the ball as Cyclone RB Greg Coleman reached the Baylor 1-yard line; Coleman fumbled into the end zone, where the Bears' Maurice Lane recovered for a touchback.
After an exchange of punts, Willie Andrews' 15-yard return gave Baylor the ball at the Iowa State 35; five plays later, Havens kicked a 21-yard field goal to knot the score 13-13.
Iowa State responded to Havens' go-ahead field goal with another drive, marching from its 20 to a first down at the Baylor 25. But Tyler Lindstrom forced R.J. Sumrall to fumble and Josh Bell recovered for Baylor at the 19.
The Bears then drove to their game-clinching touchdown, helped by quarterback Shawn Bell's 16-yard run on third-and-14 from his 31 and a later personal foul on Iowa State.
Baylor set the tone early. Andrews sacked Brett Meyer for a 7-yard loss on the game's second play. The Bears quickly forced an ISU punt, which Andrews returned 16 yards to the Cyclones' 28.
After a holding penalty pushed the Bears back to the 38, Bell hit Dominique Zeigler sprinting straight down the field for a TD.
BAYLOR vs. BIG 12 NORTH
Most of Baylor's success in the Big 12 Conference has come against teams from the North Division. The Bears are 8-28 against teams from the North with only three victories (Texas, 1997; Texas A&M, 2004; Oklahoma State, 2005) against teams from the South.
Baylor's eight victories are as follows: Iowa State (1996), Kansas (1998), Kansas (2002), Colorado (2003), Iowa State (2005), Kansas State (2006), Colorado (2006) and Kansas (2006). Baylor has won four of its last nine against Big 12 North opponents, including a 3-0 mark against North teams in 2006.
BEARS MAKE TURNOVERS SCARCE
After committing five turnovers in the season opener against Wake Forest, the Bears have all but eliminated turnovers in four games since. Baylor lost one fumble against Northwestern State in the season's second game and have not committed a turnover since.
The current three-game stretch without committing a turnover is the longest stretch by a Baylor team since a three-game span that covered the final two games of the 1999 season and the 2000 opener. Baylor had not gone turnover-free in three consecutive games within the same season since a three-game run in 1994. The Bears have not remained turnover-free in four consecutive games in the program's modern history (since 1946).
Furthermore, Baylor quarterbacks have gone four consecutive games without an interception for the first time since a four-game stretch to open the 1993 season. The Bears have not gone five straight games withouth throwing an interception since the final six games of the 1990 season.
Meanwhile, Baylor's defense has forced its fair share of turnovers. The Bears have forced 12 turnovers this season (six interceptions, six fumble recoveries). Baylor has forced eight turnovers during its current three-game streak of not committing a turnover. The Bears are tied for 12th nationally and rank second in the Big 12 with a plus-1.20 turnover margin per game.
RUSHING GAME VASTLY IMPROVED
Baylor has rushed for 1,090 yards this season, easily eclipsing its 12-game season total from last year (934) and almost as much as its rushing total from the last two seasons combined (1,416). The Bears have not rushed for 1,500 yards in a season since 1997 (2,039). Baylor ranks 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 218.0 yards rushing per game, a far cry from last season when the Bears ranked 113th nationally and 11th in the Big 12 with just 77.8 yards rushing per game.
Furthermore, Baylor has 13 rushing touchdowns this season, already eclipsing last year's season total (5) and two shy of its total from the last two seasons combined (15). The Bears' rushing touchdown total is the best by a Baylor team since the 2002 squad had 16 rushing scores; that is the only other season in which the Bears have reached double figures in rushing touchdowns since 1998. Baylor has not tallied 20 rushing touchdowns in a season since 1995 (25).
GRIFFIN NEARING SEASON RUSHING CHARTS
Five games into the season, QB Robert Griffin already is knocking on the door of several Baylor single-season rushing top 10 lists.
With seven rushing touchdowns, he is one shy of tying five others for seventh place on Baylor's single-season list; he would be the first Bear to score eight rushing touchdowns in a season since 2002 when Jonathan Golden tallied eight, thanks largely to a five-touchdown game against Samford. Griffin has scored at least one rushing touchdown in each game this season. His five-game run is Baylor's longest since 1995 when Jerod Douglas scored a rushing touchdown in six straight games. Griffin's seven rushing touchdowns already is a school record for a quarterback.
Griffin also is on pace to crack Baylor's top 10 lists in rushing yardage, yards per game, yards per attempt and 100-yard games. In fact, he already has joined Mike Brannan (1979-82) as the only Baylor quarterbacks to record two career 100-yard rushing games. Griffin established a school record with 217 yards against Washington State and then tallied 102 yards against Oklahoma. Coincidentally, Brannan also logged his 100-yard games as a freshman. He had 120 yards at SMU and 101 yards against Rice in the sixth and 10th games of his career, respectively, but never again reached the century mark.
However, Griffin passes, too. With seven touchdown passes, he is on pace to crack Baylor's single-season top 10 list in that category, as well. Griffin is responsible for 14 touchdowns this season, one shy of tying three others for ninth place on Baylor's single-season list.
Baylor rushed for 426 yards on 42 carries against Washington State. It was Baylor's third 400-yard rushing game ever and its first since the Bears rushed for a school-record 482 yards at SMU in 1993, a game in which Baylor did not throw a pass. The Bears rushed for 207 yards against Northwestern State the previous week. It marked the first time Baylor had rushed for 200-plus yards in consecutive games since 1997 (Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri). In fact, it was the first back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for Baylor since 2005 (Texas Tech, Texas).
The Bears continued the rushing success in their next game at Connecticut, gaining 169 yards on 43 carries, and against top-ranked Oklahoma, gaining 194 yards on 41 carries. It marked Baylor's first four consecutive 100-yard rushing games since a five-game span to open the 2005 season (the Bears reached the plateau only twice in their final six games that year).
The Bears' five rushing touchdowns against Washington State were their most in a game since scoring five against Samford in 2002. It was Baylor's most rushing touchdowns against a Division I FBS opponent since a five-touchdown game against SMU in 1995.
BAYLOR IN TELEVISED GAMES
Saturday's game is the 117th televised game in Baylor football history; the Bears are 38-76-2 all-time in televised games. Baylor snapped a 16-game losing streak in televised games with its 45-17 victory over Washington State earlier this season.
This is Baylor's fourth consecutive televised game and fifth in six games this season; the Bears are 1-3 in the previous four games. Baylor has played at least four nationally televised games each of the last four seasons.
Baylor is 3-28 all-time on FSN, including its subsidiaries Fox College Sports and FSN-PayPerView. The Bears are 1-2 on FSN this season.
LINEBACKER CORPS RACKS UP TACKLES
Baylor's three starting linebackers -- Antonio Johnson, Antonio Jones and Joe Pawelek -- have combined for 136 tackles this season, averaging 27.2 tackles per game (30.0 percent of the Bears' total tackles). Pawelek leads the team 61 tackles, followed by Johnson (40) and Jones (35).
Pawelek led the Bears with 86 tackles in 2006; that was the only time a linebacker has led Baylor in tackles since Kris Micheaux accomplished the feat with 96 stops in 2000. The last Baylor linebacker with at least 100 tackles in a season was Dean Jackson, who had 114 in 1996.
Johnson has established his single-game career high for tackles in each of the last two games, collecting 12 last week against Oklahoma. He is tied for 74th nationally and seventh in the Big 12 with 8.0 tackles per game.
With 35 tackles, Jones is nine stops shy of his career season high of 44 established as a redshirt freshman in 2006. He is tied for 14th in the Big 12 with 7.0 tackles per game. Jones also is tied for the team lead with 2.0 sacks and ranks third on the squad with 3.0 tackles for loss.
PAWELEK CONTINUES TO CLIMB TACKLES LIST
With nine tackle assists against Oklahoma, LB Joe Pawelek climbed five spots on Baylor's career list in that category. He now has 145 career tackle assists, tying Tommy Tabor (1978-81) for fifth on Baylor's all-time list.
Further ascention up the list should come quickly for Pawelek. He needs two tackle assists to move into fourth place, five to move into third place and 22 to move into second place. However, the school record still is distant; Mike Singletary (1977-80) tallied 311 in his career.
This season, Pawelek ranks fourth nationally and first in the Big 12 Conference with 12.2 tackles per game. He has recorded at least 10 tackles in all five games this season, giving him 10 double-digit tackle performances in his career. Pawelek also is tied for 35th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 with 0.4 interceptions per game.
GRIFFIN MAKES NAME FOR HIMSELF
Attention on Baylor freshman QB Robert Griffin has not been confined to Central Texas or even the Central U.S. ESPN.com columnist Bruce Feldman called Griffin the nation's sixth-biggest surprise through the first third of the season.
Griffin leads the nation in starts at quarterback as a true freshman, and his 7-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio is best nationally among quarterbacks with at least 75 pass attempts. In fact, Griffin is the nation's only quarterback to have thrown at least five touchdown passes this season without throwing an interception.
Furthermore, Griffin is one of only nine quarterbacks nationally who leads his team in both passing yardage and rushing yardage. He was named Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week following his performance against Washington State.
SCHEDULE AMONG NATION'S TOUGHEST
Baylor's 2008 schedule currently ranks as the nation's fifth-most difficult by the NCAA as the Bears face eight opponents who participated in bowl games last season.
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 were ranked nationally to start the season: Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Texas Tech and Wake Forest; two others -- Connecticut and Oklahoma State -- have since joined that quintet in the national rankings. 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 opponents currently tout a 39-15 (.722) combined record against Division I FBS competition. That ranks as the fifth-toughest schedule nationally behind only Kansas (40-12, .769), Georgia (44-14, .759), Nebraska (42-14, .750) and Duke (42-16, .724).
NOTES FROM THE OKLAHOMA GAMEBaylor dropped to 0-11-1 all-time against top-ranked opponents.
Most first-quarter points allowed by Baylor since Aug. 30, 2002 (35 at California).
First time Baylor allowed at least three first-quarter touchdowns since Sept. 4, 2004 (at UAB).
Most first-half points allowed by Baylor since Nov. 11, 2006 (38 at Oklahoma State).
Baylor was held to fewer than 100 yards passing for the first since Texas held the Bears to 89 yards passing in 2005.
Baylor was held to its lowest passing yardage total since the Bears were limited to 62 yards passing at New Mexico in 2002.
Baylor produced its second-highest rushing total in 18 games against Oklahoma (207, 1997).
QB Robert Griffin became the first Baylor quarterback to ever rush for 100 yards against Oklahoma. He joined Brandon Whitaker (149, 2007) and Jerod Douglas (135, 1996) as the only Bears to rush for 100 yards in a game against the Sooners.
LB Antonio Johnson established a career high with 12 tackles. It was the second consecutive game in which he has established a career high.
CB Antareis Bryan established career highs with five solo tackles and seven total tackles.
BEARS MAKE GOOD USE OF COMPLETIONS
Baylor has completed 67 passes this season, 43 of which have resulted in first downs (64.2 percent). Earlier this season at Connecticut, 12 of the Bears' 14 completions moved the chains (85.7 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 11.9 percent of the time this season (8-of-67). Last season, only 7.5 percent the Bears' completions resulted in touchdowns (21-of-280).
BEARS IN MIDST OF TOUGH STRETCH
Last Saturday's game against top-ranked Oklahoma began a six-game stretch in which four of Baylor's opponents are nationally ranked. In fact, three of the four are against teams ranked in the top 10. After facing Iowa State this week, Baylor travels to No. 17 Oklahoma State. The Bears then travel to Nebraska before hosting No. 3/2 Missouri and traveling to No. 5 Texas.
WHITE CRACKS TOUCHDOWN RECPTION CHART
WR Thomas White's third-quarter touchdown reception against Northwestern State earlier this season 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 seven 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.
MILESTONE WATCHQB Robert Griffin needs one rushing touchdown to move into an eighth-place tie on Baylor's single-season list.
Griffin needs one touchdown (rushing or passing) to move into a ninth-place tie on Baylor's single-season list for touchdown responsibility.
Griffin needs four passing touchdowns to move into an eighth-place tie on Baylor's single-season list.
WR Thomas White needs two touchdown receptions to move into a sixth-place tie on Baylor's career chart.
White also needs 59 yards to become Baylor's 24th 1,000-yard receiver.
WR David Gettis needs three kickoff return yards to crack Baylor's career top 10 list.
QB Blake Szymanski needs 16 pass attempts to move into eighth place on Baylor's career list.
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.
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 95 career starts; LT Jason Smith leads the way with 32 career starts, followed by RT Dan Gay with 27 starts. Meanwhile, the Bears four starting defensive linemen have combined for 75 career starts; DT Vincent Rhodes leads the way with 27 career starts, while DE Jason Lamb has 25 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. Five 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).
Here are some other nickname tidbits:
- RB Jeremy Sanders' pre-Baylor nickname was "J-Mo." Briles morphed J-Mo into "Motown."
- QB Robert Griffin, whose teammates call him "Rambo," is called "Cream" by Briles (as in "rises to the top").
- CB Dwain Crawford is called "Fish," as in crawfish.
- Briles calls true freshman WR Kendall Wright "My Dubbie," which came from "K-Dub."
- DT Vincent Rhodes is called "Big Vin."
- DE Jason Lamb is called "Lambo."
HOME SWEET HOME
Baylor plays seven home games this season for only the sixth time since Floyd Casey Stadium opened in 1950. The Bears opened with three straight home games for the first time since 1992 and only the second time since 1945.
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.
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 13th nationally along with Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Syracuse and UCF. Miami-FL leads all schools with 13 such players, followed by Boston College and Virginia Tech -- each with 10 such players. Maryland has nine, while Auburn, Clemson and Pittsburgh each have eight. Arizona State, Memphis, Ohio State and Penn State each have seven, and 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.
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).
SEVERAL BEARS EARN PRESEASON ACCOLADES
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.
EPPERSON ON RAY GUY AWARD WATCH LIST
P Derek Epperson is one of 46 student-athletes on the 2008 Ray Guy Award Watch List. The Ray Guy Award is given annually to the nation's top collegiate punter. Baylor's Daniel Sepulveda is the award's only two-time winner, picking up the hardware in 2004 and 2006.
Epperson is one of only 11 sophomores and one of seven punters from the Big 12 Conference on the list. He ranks second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally with a 45.4-yard average on 11 punts with five inside the opponent's 20, four punts of 50-plus yards and two punts of 60-plus yards. As a team, Baylor ranks third in the Big 12 and fifth nationally in net punting (41.8 average).
Three of Epperson's last five punts have been 50-plus yards, and the other two were downed inside the opponent's 10. Through only three games of his sophomore season, Epperson already ranks 10th in Baylor history with 12 career punts of 50-plus yards and ninth with three career punts of 60-plus yards. A product of Keller [Texas] High School, Epperson earned freshman All-Big 12 and honorable mention Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News last season.
LAKE ON THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST
FS 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.
PAWELEK ON BUTKUS AWARD WATCH LIST
LB Joe Pawelek is on 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
C 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 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 plays its first Big 12 Conference road game of the season, traveling to Stillwater, Okla., for a intra-division game against Oklahoma State. Kickoff between the Bears and Cowboys is schedule for 2 p.m. CDT at Boone Pickens Stadium. The game will not be televised.
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 14-12; the Cowboys have won 11 of 12 since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. Baylor is 5-8 all-time at Stillwater.