Oct. 20, 2008
BAYLOR (3-4, 1-2) at NEBRASKA (4-3, 1-2)
Radio: Baylor/ISP Sports Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco) (Full list of radio affiliates)
Internet Audio: Live broadcast stream at BaylorBears.com
Internet Video: None
Date: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008
Kickoff: 11:35 a.m. CDT
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Series: Nebraska leads 9-1
Waco: Nebraska leads 3-0
Lincoln: Nebraska leads 6-1
Neutral: Never Met
First Meeting: NU 20-0 [Oct. 21, 1939]
Last Meeting: NU 23-14 [Oct. 15, 2005]
Record: 3-4, 1-2 Big 12
Head Coach: Art Briles
Career Record: 37-32 (6th season)
Baylor Record: 3-4 (1st season)
vs. Nebraska: 0-0
Rushing: Jay Finley [73-438-4]
Passing: Robert Griffin [94-155-0-1271-9]
Receiving: Kendall Wright [33-413-3]
Tackles: Joe Pawelek [30-52-82]
Record: 4-3, 1-2 Big 12
Head Coach: Bo Pelini
Career Record: 4-3 (1st season)
Nebraska Record: 4-3 (1st season)
vs. Baylor: 0-0
Rushing: Marlon Lucky [87-372-6]
Passing: Joe Ganz [157-224-6-1967-12]
Receiving: Todd Peterson [34-397-2]
Tackles: Cody Glenn [20-20-40]
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Oct. 25, traveling to Lincoln, Neb., for a Big 12 Conference inter-division contest at Nebraska. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. CDT at Memorial Stadium on the Nebraska campus. Saturday's game will be televised nationally on the Versus Network, available in Waco on Grande Cable channel 23 and Time Warner Cable channel 125, and nationally on DirecTV channel 603 (604 HDTV) and Dish Network channel 151 (9468 HDTV).
The Bears (3-4, 1-2 Big 12) dropped a 34-6 decision at then-No. 8 Oklahoma State last Saturday. Baylor is 0-2 on the road this season; the Bears have lost six straight on the road overall and eight straight road games in Big 12 play.
The Huskers (4-3, 1-2 Big 12) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 35-7 victory at Iowa State last Saturday. Nebraska is 3-2 at home this season with wins over Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State and losses to Virginia Tech and Missouri.
Baylor and Nebraska have played only one common opponent this season. Both teams defeated Iowa State by 28 points in consecutive weeks. The Bears defeated the Cyclones 38-10 in Waco 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. 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.
Saturday is the 11th meeting between Baylor and Nebraska in football, the seventh 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 six meetings as Big 12 foes, Nebraska has out-scored Baylor 277-69, scoring 48 or more points five times. However, the teams' last meeting was much closer as the Huskers left Waco with a 23-14 victory in 2005. In the Bears' last visit to Lincoln (2004), Baylor scored nearly as many points (27) as it had scored in the previous four Big 12 meetings with Nebraska combined but still lost 59-27. Saturday's game marks only the fourth time in the series' history that Baylor has faced an unranked Nebraska squad.
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. ... George Sauer, who led Baylor to a 38-21-3 record from 1950 to 1955, was an All-America fullback at Nebraska.
• The NCAA ranks the Bears' schedule as the nation's 18th-toughest. Baylor's remaining schedule ranks as the nation's ninth toughest.
• All four 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 three on the day of the game and three currently.
• Five of Baylor's eight Big 12 games this season are against nationally ranked opponents, including four against teams ranked in the top 10 (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech).
• Baylor is 18-2 when scoring 30-plus points since 2001, going 9-59 when scoring less than 30.
• Baylor is 10-1 in takeaways-turnovers over the last five games.
• Baylor quarterbacks have not thrown an interception in six straight games, tying the program's modern record -- a six-game streak to end the 1990 season.
• Baylor quarterbacks have set a program record with no interceptions in their last 146 pass attempts.
• Baylor already has rushed for more yards (1,279) than in either of the last two seasons and nearly as many yards as in the last two seasons combined.
• Baylor has tripled (16) its rushing touchdown total from last season (5) and eclipsed its rushing touchdown total from the last two seasons combined (14).
• Baylor's 16 rushing touchdowns are the most by a Bears' squad since the 2002 team also had 16.
• Baylor ranks 33rd nationally and third in the Big 12 in rushing (182.7 ypg)
• Baylor is seventh nationally and second in the Big 12 in net punting (40.0 ypp).
• Baylor is 12th nationally and second in the Big 12 in turnover margin (plus-1.0 tpg).
• Baylor is 15th nationally and second in the Big 12 in kickoff returns (24.8 ypr).
• LT Jason Smith was named first-team midseason All-America by SI.com. He also was named midseason honorable mention All-America by College Football News/Scout.com.
• QB Robert Griffin was named midseason freshman All-America by Rivals.com, midseason Big 12 "Best Newcomer" by the Austin American-Statesman and midseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year by ESPN.com.
• LB Joe Pawelek was named midseason honorable mention All-America by College Football News/Scout.com.
• Griffin has established an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision record for consecutive passes without an interception to start a career by a freshman (155).
• Griffin is six passes away from Shawn Bell's school record for consecutive passes without an interception.
• Griffin ranks ninth in the Big 12 and 85th nationally in rushing (61.9 ypg). He also ranks 22nd nationally in passing efficiency (148.69), and he is 35th nationally in total offense (243.4 ypg).
• Griffin ranks ninth nationally in rushing yards per game among quarterbacks, 12th among freshmen, fifth among true freshmen and first among freshmen quarterbacks.
• Griffin ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing among freshmen.
• RB Jay Finley ranks seventh in the Big 12 and 82nd nationally in rushing (62.6 ypg).
• IR Mikail Baker ranks 11th nationally and second in the Big 12 in kickoff returns (28.8 ypr).
• WR Thomas White has caught at least one pass in 12 consecutive games.
• IR Kendall Wright is one of only six freshmen nationally with at least 30 receptions (one of only two in the Big 12). He ranks ninth nationally and second in the Big 12 among freshmen with 59.0 receiving yards per game.
• LB Joe Pawelek ranks third nationally and first in the Big 12 in tackles (11.7 tpg). He also is tied for 85th nationally and tied for fourth in the league with 0.29 interceptions per game.
• Pawelek has recorded at least 10 tackles in six of seven games this season.
• Pawelek's 82 tackles this season are more than twice as many as Nebraska's leading tackler.
• FS Jordan Lake is averagaing 8.7 tackles per game in Big 12 play. He is tied for 11th in the league with 7.3 tackles per game overall.
• LB Antonio Jones is tied for 17th in the Big 12 in tackles (6.9 tpg).
• Baylor's three starting linebackers have combined for 171 tackles this season, 29.7 percent of the team's total tackles.
• P Derek Epperson ranks 18th nationally and second in the Big 12 in punting (43.3 ypp).
• DE Leon Freeman is tied for 17th in the Big 12 with 0.86 tackles for loss per game, while Pawelek is tied for 22nd in the league with 0.79 stops behind the line per game.
• Four Bears have started at least 20 consecutive games: RT Dan Gay (29), Pawelek (28), DT Vincent Rhodes (27) and DE Jason Lamb (25).
• Three Baylor true freshmen are listed first at their positions: Griffin, PK Ben Parks and Wright.
LAST TIME vs. NEBRASKA
NEBRASKA 23, BAYLOR 14
OCT. 15, 2005 • FLOYD CASEY STADIUM • WACO, TEXAS
Zac Taylor threw two touchdown passes and led Nebraska to scores on four of its first five drives, and the Huskers' defense made it hold up in a 23-14 victory over Baylor.
Nebraska's win was not easy, though. The Bears led 7-3 in the second quarter and were driving for a go-ahead score late in the third quarter after a wild touchdown got them within 20-14.
But Nebraska forced a punt, then got a 22-yard field goal from Jordan Congdon, his third of the game. That stretched the lead to nine points, meaning two scores, and Baylor could not recover.
Terrance Parks replaced Shawn Bell at quarterback and his first drive ended with a fumble by Dominique Zeigler. Parks threw interceptions the next two times the Bears had the ball.
Taylor was 18-of-32 for 168 yards, but he was extremely effective through the middle of the third quarter, when his first pass of the second half produced a 21-yard touchdown and a 20-7 lead.
At that point, Nebraska had scored on every possession except one that ended with a fumble inside Baylor's 10-yard line. He also threw a 4-yard touchdown to Terrence Nunn.
Cory Ross ran for 93 yards and Cody Glenn added 41 for the Cornhuskers, who were content with running most of the second half.
Bell drove Baylor 81 yards on the game's opening series, converting twice on third-and-long and overcoming another precarious situation when an interception was erased by a roughing penalty. He scrambled for a 5-yard touchdown on the next play for a 7-0 lead.
The Bears' only points after that came in a bizarre way. Trent Shelton broke two tackles on a 52-yard completion, then fumbled at the 1-foot line and Zeigler recovered in the end zone. Officials initially ruled him down at the 1, but changed the call after Baylor called timeout.
Bell was 15-of-24 for 180 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Parks was 2-of-6 for 22 no touchdowns and two picks. Brandon Whitaker led the Bears with 54 yards rushing.
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 9-28 against teams from the North with only three victories (Texas, 1997; Texas A&M, 2004; Oklahoma State, 2005) against teams from the South (3-59).
Baylor's eight victories are as follows: Iowa State (1996), Kansas (1998), Kansas (2002), Colorado (2003), Iowa State (2005), Kansas State (2006), Colorado (2006), Kansas (2006) and Iowa State (2008). Baylor has won five of its last 10 against Big 12 North opponents, including a 3-0 mark against North teams in 2006.
THREE BEARS EARN MIDSEASON HONORS
Three Baylor student-athletes earned midseason honors from various publications this week. LB Joe Pawelek and LT Jason Smith both were named midseason honorable mention All-America by College Football News/Scout.com, while Smith earned first-team midseason All-America honors from Sports Illustrated (SI.com). QB Robert Griffin was named midseason Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year by ESPN.com and midseason Freshman All-America by Rivals.com. He also was named midseason Big 12 "Best Newcomer" by the Austin American-Statesman.
GRIFFIN REWRITES NCAA RECORD BOOK
QB Robert Griffin established an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception to start a career by a freshman with 155. He broke the previous mark, which was established by Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy during the 1986 season (138 passes), during the second quarter of the Bears' game last weekend at Oklahoma State.
Griffin is approaching Baylor's overall record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception. The current mark of 161 passes was established by Shawn Bell from 2003 to 2005. Griffin's 155 passes are the most without an interception within one season in Baylor history.
The Big 12 Conference record for consecutive attempts without an interception is 213, established by Texas A&M's Reggie McNeil over the 2003 and 2004 seasons and tied by Kansas' Todd Reesing last year. The NCAA FBS record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career (any class) is 202, established by Southern California's Brad Otton over the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
TURNOVER DROUGHT ENDS ... BARELY
Baylor's modern program-record of four straight games without committing a turnover ended in the third quarter last Saturday when QB Robert Griffin was charged with a fumble that was recovered by Oklahoma State. The Bears' turnover streak lasted 19 quarters and 305 offensive plays.
Nonetheless, Baylor still has committed only one turnover in its last five games and only two in six games since a five-turnover game in the season opener against Wake Forest. The Bears rank 12th nationally and second in the Big 12 Conference in turnover margin (plus-1.0 per game).
Meanwhile, Baylor's defense has forced its fair share of turnovers. The Bears have forced 14 turnovers this season (seven interceptions, seven fumble recoveries). Baylor forced nine turnovers during its four-game streak of not committing a turnover.
NO-INTERCEPTION STREAK REMAINS INTACT
Baylor quarterbacks have not thrown an interception since the season's first game. The six-game streak ties for the longest in school history, equaling the Bears' six-game run to end the 1990 season. However, Baylor already has established a modern (since 1946) program record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception (146). The previous mark (119) was set in 2004 over a four-game span.
WRIGHT AMONG NATION'S TOP FRESHMAN RECEIVERS
IR Kendall Wright leads the Bears in receptions (33), receiving yards (413) and receiving touchdowns (3). He is tied for 15th in the Big 12 Conference with 4.71 receptions per game, and he is tied for 18th in the league with 59.0 receiving yards per game. Wright is one of only six freshmen nationally with at least 30 receptions this season. He and Texas A&M's DeAndre Brown lead all Big 12 freshmen in receptions with 33 each. Wright ranks ninth nationally and second in the Big 12 among freshmen in receiving yards per game.
No Baylor freshman has ever led the Bears in receptions. Brad Taylor established Baylor's freshman receptions record with 35 last season. Wright already has two 100-yard receiving games this season, going for 114 yards on six catches at Connecticut and 132 yards on seven catches last week against Iowa State. He already is tied 13th on Baylor's career 100-yard receiving games list, and he is the first Baylor freshman with two 100-yard receiving games.
NCAA FBS FRESHMAN RECEPTIONS LEADERS
*Tyron Carrier, Houston 44
*Patrick Edwards, Houston 42
DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi 38
A.J. Green, Georgia 36
Kendall Wright, BAYLOR 33
*Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M 33
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame 27
*Martavious Odoms, Michigan 26
NCAA FBS FRESHMAN RECEIVING YARDS PER GAME LEADERS
DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi 91.00
*Patrick Edwards, Houston 84.71
*Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M 84.17
A.J. Green, Georgia 81.86
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame 71.00
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International 68.86
Malcolm Beyah, Middle Tennessee 63.86
*Tyron Carrier, Houston 62.43
Kendall Wright, BAYLOR 59.00
* - redshirt freshman
WHITE REACHES 1,000-YARD PLATEAU
With three catches for 35 yards last Saturday at Oklahoma State, WR Thomas White became the 24th player in Baylor history to eclipse 1,000 career receiving yards. White, who has 18 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown this season, has 75 career receptions for 1,009 yards and 11 touchdowns. White also has at least one reception in each of the last 12 games.
PAWELEK CONTINUES TO PILE UP TACKLES
LB Joe Pawelek leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks third nationally with 11.7 tackles per game. He collected 14 tackles, one shy of his career high, last week against Oklahoma State, including a career-best 13 solo stops.
Pawelek has recorded at least 10 tackles in six of Baylor's seven games this season, including the Bears' first five contests. He now has 82 tackles on the season, more than twice as many as Nebraska's leading tackler. Pawelek needs seven assisted tackles to crack Baylor's single-season top-10 list.
Pawelek ranks fourth all-time at Baylor with 148 career assisted tackle assists. Further ascention up the list should come quickly for Pawelek. He needs two assisted tackles to move into third place and 19 to move into second place. However, the school record still is distant; Mike Singletary (1977-80) tallied 311 in his career.
RUSHING GAME VASTLY IMPROVED
Baylor has rushed for 1,279 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 33rd nationally and third in the Big 12 with 182.7 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 16 rushing touchdowns this season, more than tripling last year's season total (5) and one more than its total from the last two seasons combined. 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).
BAYLOR RUSHING LAST DECADE
SEASON G ATT YDS AVG TDS YPG NCAA/BIG 12
1999 11 385 1208 3.1 8 109.8 95th/11th
2000 11 360 802 2.2 5 72.9 110th/11th
2001 11 409 1053 2.6 8 95.7 108th/10th
2002 12 447 1241 2.8 16 103.4 105th/11th
2003 12 478 1320 2.8 8 110.0 102nd/10th
2004 11 366 1088 3.0 8 98.9 104th/10th
2005 11 385 1209 3.1 10 109.9 99th/10th
2006 12 235 482 2.1 9 40.2 119th/12th
2007 12 298 934 3.1 5 77.8 113th/11th
2008 7 280 1279 4.6 16 182.7 33rd/3rd
30 POINTS KEY FOR BEARS
Since 2001, Baylor is 18-2 (.900) when scoring at least 30 points and 9-59 (.132) when scoring less than 30 points. The only losses in that span when scoring 30 points were at Texas in 2006 (63-31) and at Oklahoma in 2005 (37-30 in double overtime). Baylor has won seven consecutive games when reaching the 30-point plateau.
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 went on to rush for 100-plus yards in five consecutive games before Oklahoma State held Baylor to 42 rushing yards last week. The five-game streak was the Bears' longest since a five-game run to open the 2005 season.
BAKER GIVES KICKOFF RETURN GAME SHOT IN THE ARM
IR Mikail Baker resumed his role as Baylor's primary kickoff return specialist three weeks ago against Oklahoma. In three games since, he has returned 12 kicks for 345 yards and one touchdown. His 28.75-yard average ranks 11th nationally and second in the Big 12. Baylor ranks 15th nationally and second in the Big 12 with a 24.79-yard kickoff return average.
Baker averaged 23.73 yards on 22 returns (522 yards) as Baylor's primary kickoff return specialist in 2006. Last season, Baker returned four kickoffs for 103 yards, but a broken collarbone in the season's second game forced him to miss the remainder of the season. His 25.52-yard career kickoff return average currently ranks second in Baylor history.
GRIFFIN NEARING SEASON RUSHING CHARTS
Halfway through the regular season, QB Robert Griffin already has cracked two Baylor single-season top 10 lists and is knocking on the door of several others.
With eight rushing touchdowns, Griffin has established a Baylor record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback; his total is tied with five others for seventh place on Baylor's overall single-season list. He is 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 scored at least one rushing touchdown in six straight games, tying Jerod Douglas' school record from the 1995 season.
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 nine touchdown passes, he is on pace to crack Baylor's single-season top 10 list in that category, as well. Griffin is responsible for 17 touchdowns this season, already tied for fifth place on Baylor's single-season list. He also is on pace to reach Baylor's single-season top 10 lists for total plays, total yards and yards per play.
LINEBACKER CORPS RACKS UP TACKLES
Baylor's three starting linebackers -- Antonio Johnson, Antonio Jones and Joe Pawelek -- have combined for 171 tackles this season, averaging 24.4 tackles per game (29.7 percent of the Bears' total tackles). Pawelek leads the team with 82 tackles; Johnson (48) is third, while Jones (41) is fourth.
Pawelek, who leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally with 11.71 tackles per game, 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 is tied 17th in the Big 12 with 6.86 tackles 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 9-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio is best nationally. 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 was named Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week following his performance against Washington State.
Baylor returns home for a Big 12 Conference inter-division game against Missouri. Kickoff between the Bears and Tigers is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CDT at Floyd Casey Stadium. The game, which is part of Baylor Homecoming festivities, will not be televised.
Missouri holds a 9-2 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to a 38-0 Tigers' victory at St. Louis to open the 1970 season. The Tigers have won all six meetings as Big 12 foes, including a 31-16 decision at Columbia in 2005. Missouri defeated Baylor 30-10 the previous season in the Tigers' last visit to Floyd Casey Stadium.