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BAYLOR (2-3, 0-2) at NEBRASKA (3-2, 1-1)
Oct. 16, 2004 1:05 p.m. CDT
Memorial Stadium (73,918) Lincoln, Neb.
Baylor, the Big 12's youngest team, returns to action Saturday, Oct. 16, traveling to Lincoln, Neb., for an inter-division game at Nebraska. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CDT at Memorial Stadium where the Huskers are 103-7-0 (.936) since 1988. Saturday's game will be the 266th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium.
The Bears (2-3, 0-2) dropped a 30-10 decision last Saturday at home against Missouri, which climbed into the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 24 following the victory. The Huskers (3-2, 1-1) are coming off the worst loss in the program's storied history, a 70-10 defeat last Saturday at Texas Tech.
Baylor and Nebraska meet for the ninth time on the gridiron; the Huskers hold a 7-1 advantage in the series, which dates back to a 20-0 Nebraska victory Oct. 21, 1939, at Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska has won each of the previous four meetings as Big 12 foes, including a 48-7 decision in the teams' last meeting -- at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2001.
The Bears are in their second season under the direction of head coach Guy Morriss, who has compiled a four-year career record of 14-26 and a 5-12 mark in two seasons at Baylor. First-year Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan, a 1978 Illinois Benedictine graduate, is 3-2 with the Huskers. Callahan is in his first season as a collegiate head coach after nine seasons as a coach in the NFL, including serving as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003.
Saturday is the ninth meeting between Baylor and Nebraska in football, the fifth as Big 12 Conference opponents. The first meeting was a 20-0 Nebraska victory at Lincoln in 1939. The teams also met as non-conference opponents in 1956 (Baylor 26-7 at Lincoln), 1977 (Nebraska 31-10 at Lincoln) and 1990 (Nebraska 13-0 at Lincoln).
In four meetings as Big 12 foes, Nebraska has out-scored Baylor 205-28, scoring 48 or more points in every contest. However, Saturday's game marks the first time since 1956 and only the second time time in the series that Baylor has faced an unranked Nebraska squad; Baylor won that 1956 meeting. In fact, Nebraska has been ranked 14th or better in each of the Bears' last six games against the Huskers, including top-10 rankings in each of the last five meetings.
Baylor is no stranger to Lincoln and six of the eight games in the series have been played in the Nebraska capital. The Huskers are 5-1 against the Bears at Lincoln.
SERIES NOTES: Including Saturday, six of the nine games in this series have been played in October. This is the fourth time the teams have met on the second Saturday of the month. ... Nebraska tallied 641 rushing yards against the Bears in 2001. That total is the most rushing yards ever against a Baylor squad and the second-best rushing day in Nebraska history. The Huskers toted the ball 73 times that day, attempting just nine passes. ... Two of the five highest total offense outputs surrendered by Baylor were against Nebraska (688 in 2001 and 669 in 1996). ... The 1990 Baylor-Nebraska game featured just 16 passes, eight by each team. Nebraska out-gained the Bears 335-164 in total offense that day, but the game was not put away until a Huskers' TD with 22 seconds left. Until that point, the Bears held seventh-ranked Nebraska's high-powered option attack to just two field goals.
BAYLOR vs. BIG 12 NORTH
Nearly all of Baylor's success in the Big 12 Conference has come against teams from the North Division. The Bears are 4-20 against teams from the North with only one victory (Texas, 1997) against teams from the South.
QUICK SLANTS ...
Saturday marks the first time since 1956 and only the second time in the nine-game series that Baylor has faced an unranked Nebraska team. Baylor is 1-0 against the Huskers when the latter is unranked.
Starting with the North Texas game, Baylor plays seven of its last nine games against 2003 bowl participants. Baylor's eight Big 12 foes are a combined 31-10 (.756) heading into games this weekend.
Through five games, Baylor quarterbacks have completed 56.4 percent of their passes. The Bears established a school record last year, completing 56.7 percent of their pass attempts.
Baylor's 14 turnovers this season have led to 52 points for the opponent. Meanwhile, the Bears have scored just seven points off five opponent turnovers, all of which came on LB Justin Crooks 9-yard fumble return for a TD against Texas State and the ensuing PAT.
The Bears were flagged a season-low five times last Saturday against Missouri. That is the fewest yards penalized in a game by a Baylor team since the Bears surrendered 21 yards in penalties last season against Texas Tech. Over the past two games, Baylor has committed just 11 penalties for 70 yards.
Baylor was held to season lows of 10 first downs, 15 pass completions, 88 passing yards 60 total plays, 173 total yards, 13.3 percent third-down conversion (2-of-15) and time of possession (23:22) in the Missouri loss.
Baylor has thrown at least one TD in six consecutive games, dating back to the 2003 season-finale against Oklahoma State. That marks the longest such streak at Baylor since a six-game run spanning the final five games of the 1992 season and the first game of the 1993 campaign. The Bears have not completed a TD pass in seven consecutive games since a 10-game streak that encompassed the final three games of 1986 and the first seven games of 1987.
The Bears have gone 10 consecutive quarters without forcing a turnover. The last was Maurice Lane's interception of a North Texas pass on the final play of the first half (Sept. 25).
In his first career start, DE Marcus Foreman registered seven tackles and two behind the line against Missouri, both career bests. ... DB Nick Fellows (six) and DT Klayton Shoals (five) also posted career bests for tackles against Missouri.
RB Paul Mosley has 23 carries of five-plus yards on the year out of 49 total carries, including 11 that have gone for 10-plus yards.
P Daniel Sepulveda booted a career-long 69-yard punt last Saturday against Missouri, the longest this season in the Big 12. It was the longest by a Baylor punter since Kyle Atteberry's 73-yarder at Oklahoma State in 1998. It also was Sepulveda's sixth career punt of 60-plus yards, moving the sophomore left-footer into sole possession of fifth place on Baylor's career list.
OS Willie Andrews is fifth in the Big 12 and 41st nationally with 10.4 yards per punt return. He ranks second in the conference and 27th nationally with 25.6 yards per kickoff return. Andrews is the only player in the Big 12 to rank among the national top 40 in both categories. He also ranks eighth in the Big 12 and 56th nationally with 117.2 all-purpose yards per game.
PK Kenny Webb has converted 38 consecutive PAT attempts during his career. He has never missed a PAT attempt as a collegiate kicker.
As a team, Baylor has converted 43 consecutive PAT attempts dating back to the 2002 season. That streak ranks 12th nationally.
WR Trent Shelton has caught at least one pass in 16 consecutive games with at least two catches in nine consecutive contests. Shelton's consecutive games with a catch streak is the longest by a Bear since Reggie Newhouse closed his Baylor career with a 34-game stretch that spanned the entire 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons.
LB Justin Crooks is tied for seventh in the Big 12 with 7.6 tackles per game; he is tied for fourth in the conference among linebackers. Crooks also is tied for fourth in the conference with 0.4 fumbles forced per game. ... Crooks has recorded four or more tackles in 16 straight games and five or more tackles in 14 of last 15 games. He has started 18 straight games for the Bears.
WR Dominique Zeigler has 22 receptions in five games this season after only nine receptions last season. He has recorded four or more receptions in all five games this season and ranks eighth in the Big 12 and 71st nationally with 4.40 receptions per game.
WR Marques Roberts needs 12 receptions to crack Baylor's all-time top 10 list and 150 yards to become the school's 21st career 1,000-yard receiver.
14 different Bears have grabbed at least one pass this season. A year ago, 15 different players had at least one catch over the 12-game season.
OS Willie Andrews has been credited with five or more tackles in 13 of his last 14 outings and four or more tackles in eight straight games. He has started 17 consecutive games for Baylor.
OL Quintin Outland has started 31 consecutive games for the Bears along the offensive line and played in all 40 games of his BU career.
KOS Ryan Havens has 12 touchbacks in 22 kickoffs (54.5 percent) this season.
PK Kenny Webb has moved into sole possession of 10th place on Baylor's career PAT conversions chart with 38. Webb is 10th all-time at Baylor with 74 career points and 12 career field goals.
OS Willie Andrews needs one yard in kickoff returns to become the sixth player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau for a career. The last to do so was Randy Davis, who tallied 1,255 yards from 1999 to 2000.
HUSKER HOMECOMING FOR BAYLOR'S LINDSTROM
OS/LB Tyler Lindstrom returns to his home state Saturday when the Bears play at Nebraska. Lindstrom is a product of Millard West High School in Omaha, Neb., and he was born in Lincoln, Neb. His family consists of many former Nebraska football letterwinners: Dan Lindstrom (father, 1978-1980), Roger Lindstrom (uncle, 1983, 1985), Scott Lindstrom (uncle, 1978-1982) and Brett Lindstrom (brother, 2003). Tyler Lindstrom was a redshirt freshman at Baylor in 2001, the last time Baylor and Nebraska met.
In five games this season, Lindstrom has nine tackles, eight solo efforts, along with three tackles for loss and one sack.
BAYLOR SCHEDULE AMONG NATION'S TOUGHEST
Through games of Oct. 9, Baylor's schedule ranks third nationally behind only Notre Dame (35-14, .714) and North Carolina (29-12, .707). The Bears' Division I-A opponents' cumulative record is 32-14 (.696). Baylor's future opposition strength of schedule is tied for second nationally with UCLA (both 21-8, .724)), trailing only Notre Dame (18-4, .818).
Several Big 12 Conference schools rank high on the strength of schedule listing with three schools other than Baylor in the top 10: fourth-place Texas (36-16, .692), fifth-place Texas A&M (32-15, .681) and ninth-place Oklahoma State (31-18, .633).
Maurice Lane: TACKLE MACHINE
FS Maurice Lane has recorded five or more tackles in 12 consecutive games, including double-digit totals seven times in that span and 37 tackles in the last four contests. He has started every game (28) of his career in the Baylor secondary.
Lane is tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 8.4 tackles per game, tops in the conference among defensive backs. He had 12 solo tackles against North Texas, the most by a Big 12 player this season. He has now recorded double-digit tackles 10 times in his 28-game Baylor career. All of his double-figure tackle efforts have come over his last 17 starts.
OPPORTUNISTIC BEARS FIND WAYS TO SCORE
When Braelon Davis blocked a North Texas punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown, it marked the eighth time under the direction of head coach Guy Morriss (since the beginning of the 2003 season) the Bears have posted a non-offensive score:
2003 vs. UAB -- James Todd blocked punt for safety
2003 vs. Colorado -- Jamaal Harper 7-yard fumble return (forced by Derrick Cash)
2003 at Kansas -- James Todd blocked punt recovery in end zone (blocked by Michael Boyd)
2003 at Kansas State -- Robert Quiroga 98-yard kickoff return
2003 vs. Texas Tech -- Robert Quiroga 100-yard kickoff return
2003 vs. Oklahoma State -- Willie Andrews 30-yard fumble return (forced by John Garrett)
2004 vs. Texas State -- Justin Crooks 9-yard fumble return (forced by Montez Murphy)
2004 vs. North Texas -- Braelon Davis blocked punt recovery in end zone (blocked by Davis)
ANDREWS CLIMBS KICK, PUNT RETURN CHARTS
OS Willie Andrews continues to rapidly move up Baylor's career kick and punt return records charts. Andrews enters the Nebraska game with 51 career punt returns (seventh all-time at Baylor) for 460 yards (eighth all-time at Baylor). His average of 9.00 yards per return ranks eighth in school history. He also has tallied 40 career kickoff returns (tied for eighth all-time at Baylor) for 999 yards (seventh all-time at Baylor).
Last season, Andrews established school season records for total kick returns (55) and total kick return yards (873). He also set school single-game marks with eight kickoff returns for 196 yards against Texas A&M. In the season opener against UAB, Andrews tallied 171 yards on six kickoff returns, including a career-long 58-yard return. He also averaged 30.0 yards per return on four efforts against Missouri.
SEPULVEDA SECOND NATIONALLY IN PUNTING
Through games of Oct. 9, P Daniel Sepulveda is second in the NCAA statistical rankings with 47.97 yards per punt. A Ray Guy Award nominee, Sepulveda trails only Michigan State's Brandon Fields (49.45) and leads Wake Forest's Ryan Plackemeier (46.71). The next-highest-ranking Big 12 punter is Colorado's John Torp (ninth, 44.88).
Of Sepulveda's 29 punts this season, 14 have traveled at least 50 yards, three have traveled at least 60 yards, and another was kicked from the opponent's 40 and coffined at the 3. Sepulveda has placed 12 punts inside the opponent's 20 yard line and five punts inside the five with one coffin. Against Missouri, he placed five punts inside the Tigers' 20, a career best.
The Dallas, Texas, native is third in school history with 40 career punts of 50-plus yards, 34.5 percent of his punts and seven shy of Ron Stowe's school record. He is fifth in school history with six career punts of 60-plus yards, 5.2 percent of his punts and four shy of Kyle Atteberry's school record.
Sepulveda established the school single-season record with 26 punts of 50-plus yards last season, including three punts of 60-plus yards (tied for fourth at Baylor). He has at least one punt of 50 or more yards in each of his 17 career games.
PARKS RECEIVES TIME AWAY FROM QUARTERBACK
Redshirt freshman QB Terrance Parks is not waiting for his number to be called at signal caller to get on the field. Parks has played several snaps at receiver in the Bears' first five games. He has caught four passes for 39 yards and has rushed three times for five yards. He is among 10 quarterbacks nationally who are seeing time at other positions:
WR - Jabari Arthur, Akron
WR - Kendal Briles, Houston
WR - Damion Carter, Southern Miss
FB - Curt Dukes, Duke
SS - Matt Lane, La.-Lafayette
WR - Bernard Morris, Marshall
WR - Terrance Parks, Baylor
LS - Beau Pierce, San Jose State
WR - Michael Robinson, Penn State
WR - Antwan Smith, Kent State
BAYLOR AMONG NATION'S YOUNGEST TEAMS
With 96 underclassmen out of 135 players on its 2004 roster, Baylor ranks as the second-youngest team in Division I-A football behind only SMU. The Bears are 71.1 percent underclassmen, while SMU is 76.1 percent (86 of 113). Only one school has more underclassmen on its roster: Army, which lists 120 underclassmen on a roster of 178 players. North Carolina (92 of 135) is the only other team with at least 90 underclassmen.
Baylor's depth chart features 29 underclassmen out of 50 spots (two-deep at 25 positions). Seven underclassmen are listed as starters at their respective positions: WR Dominique Zeigler, DT Corey Ford, OS Maurice Linguist, CB James Todd, CB Anthony Arline, P Daniel Sepulveda and DS Jonathan Weeks.
FORMER WALK-ONS MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS
This season's roster features 11 players who joined the program as walk-ons and have since earned scholarships. The group features three starters -- C Joseph DeWoody, DT Michael Gary and TE Marcus Venus -- along with P Daniel Sepulveda and PK Kenny Webb. Four others rank second or third at their respective positions on the Baylor depth chart -- WRs Baylor Barbee and Shaun Rochon, and DT Quincy Jenkins, DL Julian Hill and OS/LB Tyler Lindstrom. DB David Schieck also has established himself as a key member of Baylor's special teams units and could see spot action in the secondary.
Justin Crooks NAMED TO NAGURSKI WATCH LIST
Baylor senior LB Justin Crooks was one of 60 players named to the Football Writers Association of America's 2004 Bronko Nagurski National Watch List, which is a compilation of college football's best defensive players regardless of position. He and P Daniel Sepulveda were also named to the FWAA 2004 Preseason All-America Checklist.
The Bears' second-leading tackler as a junior in 2003, Crooks was credited with 72 stops a year ago, including 45 solos. He also ranked second on the team in tackles for loss with 9.5 for 21 yards, and had a quarterback sack, six quarterback hurries, a team-high three fumble recoveries, two pass breakups and a forced fumble. In addition to being one of eight Big 12 players on the Nagurski Watch List, Crooks was a 2004 honorable mention preseason All-America selection by Street & Smith's magazine.
The winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, will be named on Dec. 6 at a banquet in Charlotte, N.C. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be the banquet's keynote speaker. The complete preseason watch list can be found at www.touchdownclub.com.
LANE, SEPULVEDA ALSO MAKE PRESEASON LISTS
Baylor junior FS Maurice Lane and sophomore P Daniel Sepulveda also earned preseason honorable mention All-America honors from Street & Smith's magazine.
Lane, an honorable mention All-Big 12 choice as a sophomore, led the 2003 Bears in tackles (129), solo tackles (89) and assisted stops (40). He ranked fifth in the Big 12 and 30th nationally with 10.75 tackles per game, while his 7.42 solo tackles per game led the Big 12 and ranked 13th nationally.
Rated as the nation's 15th-best free safety in The Sporting News' 2004 preseason magazine and a member of Street & Smith's Thorpe Award Watch List, Lane's 129 tackles equaled the seventh-best one-season total in school history (and were the most since James Francis' 129 total tackles in 1989), while his 89 solo tackles ranked as the third-best single-season total in school history behind Mike Singletary's performances in 1978 and 1979. He also earned 2004 preseason second-team All-Big 12 honors from The Sporting News and Rivals.com, and he was ranked as the 29th-best player (regardless of position) and the fifth-best defensive back by College Football News.com.
Sepulveda was rated as the nation's 11th-best punter by The Sporting News and earned 2004 preseason first-team All-Big 12 honors from Street & Smith's, College Football News.com and Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, and second-team All-Big 12 recognition from The Sporting News, Athlon and Rivals.com, College Football News.com also tabbed Sepulveda as the Big 12's best overall kicker.
A 2004 Ray Guy Award candidate, Sepulveda, despite not having any previous punting experience, earned 2003 first-team All-Big 12 honors from College Football News.com and second-team recognition from the league's coaches as a redshirt freshman. Baylor's 2003 special teams MVP, he also earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors and and was named to The Sporting News' freshman All-Big 12 squad while also earning honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition from Associated Press. Sepulveda ranked third in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally with his 43.1 yard punting average a year ago. He recorded a BU single-season record 26 punts of 50 or more yards and had at least one such punt in every game.
BAYLOR AGAIN RANKS HIGH IN GRADUATION RATES
According to the most-recent NCAA Graduation Report, the Baylor football program's 75 percent graduation rate again led the Big 12 Conference, marking the second consecutive year and the fourth time in the league's eight-year history that the program posted the league's best rate. BU also recorded the Big 12's top graduation rate for football student-athletes in 2002, 2000 and 1998.
Since the NCAA began tracking graduation data in 1991, the Baylor football program has averaged a graduation rate of nearly 65 percent. Over the last six seasons, however, more than 73 percent of the Bears have left with degree in hand.
Overall, Baylor owns a 72 percent rate for its student-athletes according to the most-recent NCAA s figures, which places it fourth in the Big 12 Conference. BU has led the Big 12 in overall student-athlete graduation rates four times and finished second on three occasions.
Four members of this year's team, fifth-year seniors FB Jonathan Evans, DE Khari Long and LB Michael Tolbert, and fifth-year junior WR John Martin have already earned their degrees.
COACHING STAFF BOASTS 186 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
The 2004 Baylor football coaching staff boasts a combined 186 years of coaching experience in the professional, collegiate and high school ranks. Seven members of this year's Baylor staff have worked for Guy Morriss since he first became a Division I-A head coach in 2001 at Kentucky.
Not only is the Baylor staff steeped in sideline experience, but it features three men, Morriss (one), defensive coordinator Bill Bradley (three) and receivers coach Harold Jackson (five), who combined to earn nine NFL All-Pro awards between them. Two others, Mark Nelson and Brent Pease, also enjoyed professional football playing careers.
All together, the Bears' staff features a combined 99 years of professional football experience, either as a coach or as a player. Morriss is one of two active Division I-A head coaches to have played in a Super Bowl.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Baylor's 2004 football roster includes the sons of five former Bears. Senior TE Luke Groth's father, Walter, lettered three years for the Bears from 1967-69; junior WR Ryan Jeffrey follows in the footsteps of his dad, Jay, who quarterbacked the Bears to the Southwest Conference title, uncle, Neal, the starting signal caller on BU's 1974 SWC title team, and his grandfather, James, a Baylor letterwinner in 1949 and 1950.
Redshirt freshman DB Braelon Davis' father, Bruce Davis (1981-83), was a standout wide receiver who earned four All-America awards as a sprinter and went on play in the NFL. Another redshirt freshman, walk-on DB Jason Reaux, is the son of Tommy Reaux (1967-69), a star defensive lineman for the Bears who was named to the school's 1960s All-Decade honor squad.
True freshman DB James Francis Jr. is the son of James Francis (1986-89), an All-America linebacker for the Bears in 1989 and a first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals who spent nine seasons in the NFL. The junior Francis' uncle, Ron Francis, was a four-year letterman (1982-86) and two-time All-SWC performer at Baylor who would become a second-round pick of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and play four seasons for that organization.
OVER THE AIR
Bear football games can be heard live on the Baylor Radio Network. The network includes 11 affiliates across Texas, including flagship stations KRZX-AM (1660/1580) in Waco. All Baylor games are broadcast by the "Voice of the Bears" John Morris, a veteran broadcaster in his 18th season. Former Baylor football standouts J.J. Joe (color analyst) and Ricky Thompson (sideline reporter) complete the broadcast team.
BAYLOR FOOTBALL RADIO NETWORK
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 Online network. CSO currently hosts sites for more than 100 universities, including five 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 Central Texas and other outlets. The program, co-hosted by John Morris and Lori Scott Fogleman, airs on KCEN-TV Channel 6, Fox Sports Southwest, College Sports Television and the College Channel (Waco cable 18).
Baylor returns home Oct. 23 for a 2:05 p.m. CDT kickoff against Iowa State at Floyd Casey Stadium. The game is part of homecoming festivities on the Baylor campus.