Nov. 3, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
BAYLOR (3-6, 1-4) at #5 TEXAS (8-1, 4-1)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008
Kickoff: 11:10 a.m. CST
Location: Austin, Texas
Stadium: Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Series: Texas leads 71-22-4
Waco: Texas leads 28-14-2
Austin: Texas leads 42-8-2
Neutral: Texas leads 1-0
First Meeting: Texas 23-0 [Oct. 29, 1901]
Last Meeting: Texas 31-10 [Oct. 20, 2007]
Record: 3-6, 1-4 Big 12
Head Coach: Art Briles
Career Record: 37-34 (6th season)
Baylor Record: 3-6 (1st season)
vs. Texas: 0-0
Rushing: Jay Finely [101-599-5]
Passing: Robert Griffin [129-210-1-1688-11]
Receiving: Kendall Wright [40-514-3]
Tackles: Joe Pawelek [41-64-105]
Record: 8-1, 4-1 Big 12
Head Coach: Mack Brown
Career Record: 197-100 (25th season)
Texas Record: 111-26 (11th season)
vs. Baylor: 10-0
Rushing: Colt McCoy [93-428-7]
Passing: Colt McCoy [218-276-5-2579-23]
Receiving: Jordan Shipley [64-779-10]
Tackles: Roddrick Muckelroy [57-30-87]
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Nov. 8, traveling to Austin, Texas, to face fifth-ranked Texas. Kickoff between the Bears and Longhorns is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. CST at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on the Texas campus. The game will be televised nationally on FSN. This is the Bears’ seventh televised game this season.
The Bears (3-6, 1-4 Big 12) have lost three straight after a 31-28 loss to then-No. 14 Missouri at home last Saturday. Baylor is 0-3 on the road this season; the Bears have lost seven straight on the road overall and nine straight road games in Big 12 play.
The Longhorns (8-1, 4-1 Big 12) suffered their first loss of the season last Saturday, falling 39-33 on a last-second touchdown at then-No. 6 Texas Tech. Texas is 5-0 at home this season with wins over Florida Atlantic (52-10), Rice (52-10), Arkansas (52-10), Missouri (56-31) and Oklahoma State (28-24). The Horns are ranked fifth nationally in this week’s Associated Press Top 25, seventh in the USA Today Coaches Poll and fourth in the BCS standings.
Baylor and Texas have played three common opponents this season: Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Bears lost to all three of those teams, while the Longhorns defeated all three.
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 and Texas meet for the 98th time Saturday, the third-most played rivalry in Baylor football history behind TCU (105 meetings) and Texas A&M (104 meetings).
Texas leads the all-time series 71-22-4, and the Longhorns have won the last 10 meetings since a 23-21 Baylor victory Nov. 1, 1997, in Waco. The Bears are 8-42-2 all-time at Austin, where they have not won since 1991. Of note, Texas made coaching changes at the conclusion of both the 1991 and 1997 seasons.
The Horns’ current 10-game winning streak against Baylor is Texas’ longest since a 15-game run from 1958 to 1973 that ended with Baylor’s 34-24 victory at Floyd Casey Stadium in 1974, dubbed the “Miracle on the Brazos.”
The series dates back to a 23-0 Texas victory Oct. 29, 1901, in Waco. The programs have played every year since 1923, making this Baylor’s longest continually running rivalry.
SERIES NOTES: In 1941, Baylor tied top-ranked Texas 7-7 in a game later deemed to be the greatest upset in Southwest Conference history by Texas sportswriters. The Bears, at 3-3, dented the Longhorns’ perfect 6-0 mark, snapping a 10-game UT winning streak that dated back to the previous season. ... In 1989, Baylor defeated Texas 50-7, the most lopsided Bears’ victory in the series. That also marks the fifth-most points scored by a Baylor team in a conference game and the fifth-largest margin of victory in a conference game. ... Texas has posted a shutout in four of the last nine meetings. ... Baylor plays a ranked Texas team for the 10th straight year. All-told, the Bears are 5-35-1 against ranked Texas teams with victories in 1951, 1974, 1978, 1980 and 1984. Baylor has lost 11 straight to ranked Texas teams since a 24-10 victory in 1984.
• The NCAA ranks the Bears’ schedule as the nation’s 11th-toughest. Baylor’s remaining schedule is tied for the nation’s third toughest.
• Five of Baylor’s six losses this season have come against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at some point this season, including four on the day of the game and three currently ranked.
• 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 was listed as the Big 12’s “Biggest Midseason Surprise” by CollegeFootballNews.com.
• Baylor is 18-2 when scoring 30-plus points since 2001, going 9-61 when scoring less than 30.
• Baylor is 14-3 in takeaways-turnovers over the last seven games.
• Baylor has at least one rushing touchdown in nine consecutive games, the Bears’ longest such streak since a 14-game run over the 1997 and 1998 seasons and the program’s longest streak within one season since a nine-game streak in 1991.
• Baylor has rushed for more yards (1,650) than in the last two seasons combined (1,416).
• Baylor has more than quadrupled its rushing touchdown total (21) from last season (5) and eclipsed its rushing touchdown total from the last two seasons combined (14) by 50 percent.
• Baylor’s 21 rushing touchdowns are the most by a Bears’ squad since the 1995 squad had 25.
• Baylor ranks 33rd nationally and second in the Big 12 in rushing (183.3 ypg)
• Baylor is seventh nationally and third in the Big 12 in net punting (39.7 ypp).
• Baylor is 14th nationally and third in the Big 12 in turnover margin (plus-1.0 per game).
• Baylor is 24th nationally and sixth in the Big 12 in kickoff returns (23.7 ypr).
• Baylor ranks 27th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 in fourth-down conversion percentage (61.1).
• 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.
• Smith is projected 16th in The Sporting News’ mock NFL Draft.
• Sports Illustrated (SI.com) lists Smith among 15 players with rising NFL Draft stock; he is 19th on the media outlets “Top Prospects” list.
• QB Robert Griffin was named midseason freshman All-America by Rivals.com, midseason Big 12 “Best Newcomer” by the Austin American-Statesman, midseason Big 12 “Top Freshman” by CollegeFootballNews.com 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 established an NCAA Bowl Subdivision record for consecutive passes without an interception to start a career regardless of class (209). The streak also was Baylor’s overall record and was four attempts shy of tying the overall Big 12 record.
• Griffin ranks ninth in the Big 12 and 75th nationally in rushing (65.2 ypg). He also ranks 22nd nationally in passing efficiency (145.28), and he is 28th nationally in total offense (252.8 ypg).
• 10 of the nation’s top 30 quarterbacks in passing efficiency play in the Big 12, including all six in the conference’s South Division.
• Griffin ranks sixth nationally in rushing yards per game among quarterbacks, eighth among freshmen, fourth among true freshmen and first among freshman quarterbacks.
• Griffin ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing among freshmen.
• RB Jay Finley ranks seventh in the Big 12 and 72nd nationally in rushing (66.6 ypg).
• IR Mikail Baker ranks 24th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 in kickoff returns (26.7 ypr).
• WR Thomas White has caught at least one pass in 14 consecutive games.
• IR Kendall Wright is one of eight freshmen nationally with at least 40 receptions (one of three in the Big 12). He ranks 10th nationally and third in the Big 12 among freshmen with 57.1 receiving yards per game.
• Wright has established Baylor freshman records for receptions (40) and receiving yards (514).
• LB Joe Pawelek ranks third nationally and first in the Big 12 in tackles (11.7 tpg). He also is tied for fourth in the league with 0.33 interceptions per game.
• Three of Pawelek’s five career interceptions have come in the opponent’s end zone. Another such interception (this season vs. Oklahoma) was negated by pass interference called on another player.
• Pawelek has recorded at least 10 tackles in eight of nine games this season, including each of the last three contests.
• Pawelek’s 105 tackles this season are six more than his season total from last year; he is the first Baylor linebacker with at least 100 tackles in a season since Dean Jackson had 114 in 1996.
• FS Jordan Lake is tied for sixth in the league and 44th nationally with 8.7 tackles per game. He leads all Big 12 defensive backs in tackles per game.
• Lake is averagaing 10.6 tackles per game in Big 12 play, fourth in the league and first among defensive backs.
• LB Antonio Jones is 15th in the Big 12 in tackles (7.1 tpg).
• Baylor’s three starting linebackers have combined for 223 tackles, 30.2 percent of the team’s total tackles.
• P Derek Epperson ranks 13th nationally and second in the Big 12 in punting (44.0 ypp).
• Eight Bears have started at least 20 consecutive games: RT Dan Gay (31); Pawelek (30); DT Vincent Rhodes (29); DE Jason Lamb (27); RG James Barnard, NG Trey Bryant, FS Jordan Lake and C J.D. Walton (21).
• Three Baylor true freshmen are listed first at their respectitve positions: Griffin, PK Ben Parks and Wright.
LAST TIME vs. TEXAS
No. 19 TEXAS 31, BAYLOR 10
OCT. 20, 2007 • FLOYD CASEY STADIUM • WACO, TEXAS
Baylor had the ball and trailed by only seven points midway through the fourth quarter; however, two late Texas touchdowns, including Marcus Griffin’s 91-yard interception return, allowed the 19th-ranked Longhorns to pull away from the Bears for a 31-10 victory.
Caleb Allen’s 35-yard field goal cut Texas’ lead to 17-10 with 12:21 remaining in the game. After forcing Texas into a three-and-out, Baylor regained possession at its own 29 with 10:08 to play. However, Texas’ Deon Beasley intercepted Michael Machen’s third-and-two pass at the Bears’ 43. Five plays later, the Longhorns scored on Vondrell McGee’s 4-yard run.
Baylor again began driving and had a first-and-10 at the Texas 27 with just under six minutes to play. Griffin thwarted the Bears’ comeback hopes, though, stepping in front of Machen’s pass and returning it down the right sideline for a touchdown.
Machen, making his first start as a Bear, finished 25-of-44 for 231 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown. John David Weed spelled Machen after Griffin’s interception return for a touchdown; Weed was 7-of-12 for 53 yards and was intercepted in the Texas end zone by Griffin with eight seconds remaining in the game.
Texas took the game’s first lead on Ryan Bailey’s 46-yard field goal at the 3:31 mark in the first quarter. The Horns had a chance to push their lead to 10-0 midway through the second quarter, but Baylor’s defense made an impressive goal-line stand.
After Colt McCoy missed an open receiver in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 1, Texas went for it on fourth down. However, Brandon Stiggers got into the UT backfield, disrupted a pitch, picked up the loose ball and returned it 60 yards to the Texas 32. A personal foul face mask penalty on McCoy gave the Bears possession at the Texas 17. On the next play, Machen connected with Thomas White on an inside screen; White raced past four Texas defenders and into the end zone to give Baylor a 7-3 lead.
Texas answered quickly, driving 66 yards on five plays for a touchdown on its ensuing possession. The drive was capped by McCoy’s 27-yard pass to Nate Jones. The Longhorns never trailed again, getting a 3-yard Chris Ogbonnaya touchdown run late in the third quarter to build a 17-7 lead.
Baylor was held to eight yards rushing on 18 attempts; the Bears lost eight yards on a sack and another 24 yards due to an errant snap late in the game.
Jordan Lake and Joe Pawelek led Baylor with 11 tackles each; Pawelek forced a fumble and had an interception. Stiggers finished with eight tackles, including two for loss, and had an interception to go along with his fumble force/recovery. Leon Freeman had career highs with three tackles for loss and two sacks.
BAYLOR IN TELEVISED GAMES
Saturday’s game is the 119th televised game in Baylor football history; the Bears are 39-77-2 all-time in televised games, including a 2-4 mark this season. 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 seventh televised game this season, a regular-season program record. The Bears also played seven televised games in 1986, the last of which was the Bluebonnet Bowl.
Baylor is 4-28 all-time on FSN, including its subsidiaries Fox College Sports and FSN-PayPerView. The Bears are 2-2 on FSN this season with wins over Washington State and Iowa State and losses to Wake Forest and Oklahoma.
BAYLOR vs. RANKED OPPONENTS
Baylor is 41-156-6 all-time against ranked opponents, 26-137-5 when unranked and playing a ranked opponent. The Bears are 2-42 against ranked opponents since the inception of the Big 12 Conference (33-30 vs. 20th-ranked North Carolina State in 1998, and 35-34 in overtime vs. 16th-ranked Texas A&M in 2004). Baylor has lost 16 straight to ranked foes since the 2004 victory over Texas A&M, including four such losses this year.
Since the Associated Press began conducting weekly polls in 1936, Baylor has played at least one ranked opponent every season except 1987. Baylor has played at least one top-10 team every season since 1993.
Texas is Baylor’s fifth ranked opponent this season, the most the Bears have faced in one season since the 1998 squad also faced five ranked opponents. If Texas Tech still is ranked when Baylor travels to Lubbock at the end of November, it would mark the first time the Bears have played six ranked opponents in one season since 1977 when Baylor was 5-6 with all six losses coming against ranked teams.
SCHEDULE AMONG NATION’S TOUGHEST
Baylor’s 2008 currently is tied for the 11th nationally in strength of schedule (61-35, .635); that ranks second among Big 12 teams behind only Texas. In fact, Baylor’s remaining schedule is tied with five other teams — including Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — as the nation’s third-toughest (21-6, .778).
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 (Connecticut has since exited). 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; that changes this week when Baylor faces Texas, its fifth ranked opponent this season.
The Bears play eight opponents this season who participated in bowl games last year. 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).
GRIFFIN REWRITES NCAA RECORD BOOK
QB Robert Griffin was intercepted for the first time in his career on the Bears’ final offensive play last week against Missouri. That snapped a streak of 209 consecutive passes without an interception for Griffin. His 209-attempt streak was the longest in NCAA Bowl Subdivision history to start a career, regardless of class. Brad Otton of Southern California previously held the mark of 202 attempts, established over the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
Griffin also established Baylor’s overall record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception, breaking Shawn Bell’s previous mark (161) established from 2003 to 2005. Griffin was four attempts shy of tying the overall Big 12 Conference of 213 consecutive attempts without an interception, held by Texas A&M’s Reggie McNeal (2003-2004) and Kansas’ Todd Reesing (2007).
PROGRAM-RECORD NO-INTERCEPTION STREAK ENDS
Baylor quarterbacks established a modern program record (since 1946) by not throwing an interception in seven consecutive games, a streak that ended on the Bears’ final offensive play last week against Missouri. It was Baylor’s first interception since the season opener. The previous mark was a six-game run to end the 1990 season.
The Bears’ record-setting streak covered 200 pass attempts, also a modern program record. That previous mark was 119 passes set in 2004 over a four-game span.
RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS STREAK CONTINUES
Baylor has scored at least one rushing touchdown in each game this season. That nine-game streak is the program’s longest since a 14-game stretch that covered the final seven games of the 1997 season and the first seven games of the 1998 season. The Bears’ current streak is the program’s longest within one regular season since a nine-game streak to close the 1991 season.
The last season in which Baylor scored at least one rushing touchdown in each game was 1986. Baylor had at least one rushing touchdown in 10 of 11 games during the 1995 season; the only game in which the Bears did not score a rushing touchdown was in a three-field goal, 9-7 victory at home against Texas Tech. In 1990, the Bears scored at least one rushing touchdown in the season’s final 10 games after a 13-0 loss at Nebraska.
30 POINTS KEY FOR BEARS
Since 2001, Baylor is 18-2 (.900) when scoring at least 30 points and 9-61 (.129) 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.
BEARS HAVE 20/20 VISION
Baylor has followed a vicenary rule this season, going 3-3 when scoring at least 20 points and 0-3 when scoring less than 20 points. Furthermore, the Bears are 3-2 when recording at least 20 first downs, compared to 0-4 when gaining fewer than 20 first downs.
BEARS STINGY WITH TURNOVERS
Baylor has committed only nine turnovers this season, more than one-fourth its 2007 total (37). The Bears have committed at least 20 turnovers each season since 1997 (19). The modern program record (since 1946) for fewest turnovers in a season is 17, established in 1949 and matched in 1993. In fact, Baylor has committed fewer than 20 turnovers in a season only five times since 1946.
Earlier this season, Baylor established a moder program record by not committing a turnover in four consecutive games. The Bears have committed more than one turnover only twice in nine games this season (five vs. Wake Forest and two vs. Missouri).
Baylor has committed only three turnovers in its last seven games and only four in eight games since the season opener against Wake Forest. The Bears rank 14th nationally and third in the Big 12 Conference in turnover margin (plus-1.00 per game).
Meanwhile, Baylor’s defense has forced its fair share of turnovers. The Bears have forced 18 turnovers this season (nine interceptions, nine fumble recoveries). Baylor forced nine turnovers during its four-game streak of not committing a turnover.
RUSHING GAME VASTLY IMPROVED
Baylor has rushed for 1,650 yards this season, easily eclipsing its 12-game season total from last year (934) and its rushing total from the last two seasons combined (1,416). The Bears had not rushed for 1,500 yards in a season since 1997 (2,039). Baylor ranks 33rd nationally and second in the Big 12 with 183.3 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.
The Bears rushed for 216 yards earlier this season at Nebraska. It was Baylor’s first 200-yard rushing game against a Big 12 team since 2003 (202 vs. Colorado) and its first in a Big 12 road game since 1998 (258 at Texas A&M). In fact, it was Baylor’s third-best rushing yardage total ever in a Big 12 game.
Furthermore, Baylor has 21 rushing touchdowns this season, more than quadrupling last year’s season total (5) and 50 percent more than its total from the last two seasons combined (14). The Bears’ rushing touchdown total is the best by a Baylor team since the 1995 squad had 25 rushing scores. Baylor has two players with at least five rushing touchdowns (QB Robert Griffin, 10; RB Jay Finley, 5) for the first time since 1996 (RB Jerod Douglas, 8; FB Shawn Washington, 7).
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 9 357 1650 4.6 21 183.3 33rd/2nd
BEARS MAKE GOOD USE OF COMPLETIONS
Baylor has completed 139 passes this season, 81 of which have resulted in first downs (58.3 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 8.6 percent of the time this season (12-of-139). Last season, 7.5 percent the Bears’ completions resulted in touchdowns (21-of-280).
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, earlier this season against Oklahoma State, including a career-best 13 solo stops.
Pawelek has recorded at least 10 tackles in eight of Baylor’s nine games this season, including each of the Bears’ first five contests and each of the last three games. He now has 105 tackles on the season, six more than his 2007 season total. Pawelek is the first Baylor linebacker with at least 100 tackles in a season since Dean Jackson had 114 in 1996.
With 64 assisted tackles this year, Pawelek tied for the sixth-best season total in Baylor history. He needs 11 assisted tackles to climb into third place and 20 to reach second place. Mike Singletary owns the school record with 105 in 1978.
Pawelek ranks third all-time at Baylor with 164 career assisted tackles. He needs three to pass Doak Field (1977-80) for second on Baylor’s all-time list. However, the school record still is distant; Mike Singletary (1977-80) tallied 311 in his career.
EPPERSON NAMED RAY GUY AWARD SEMIFINALIST
P Derek Epperson was named a semifinalist for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, the Greater Augusta Sports Council announced last week. Epperson is one of 10 student-athletes under consideration for the award that is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter. Nominees were evaluated on their statistics and contribution to the team with particular emphasis placed on net average, percentage of total punts inside the opponents’ 20 yard line, average return yardage and percentage of punts not returned.
A product of Keller [Texas] High School, Epperson is 13th nationally and second in the Big 12 Conference with a 43.95-yard punting average. His punting has helped Baylor to a No. 7 national ranking in team net punting (39.68 yards), which ranks third in the Big 12. Epperson has 14 punts of 50-plus yards this season and three of 60-plus yards, including a career-long 65-yard boot at Nebraska. Of his 41 punts, 12 pinned the opponent inside the 20 yard line (29.3 percent), and another five resulted in touchbacks. All told, 68.3 percent of his punts have not been returned.
Epperson is one of two punters from the Big 12 on the 10-man semifinalists list, joining Matt Fodge of Oklahoma State. Others on the list are: Bryan Anger (California), Ryan Donahue (Iowa), Chas Henry (Florida), Kevin Huber (Cincinnati), Pat McAfee (West Virginia), Zoltan Mesko (Michigan), Louie Sakoda (Utah) and A.J. Trapsso (Ohio State).
SMITH’S STOCK SMOOTHLY RISING
LT Jason Smith, known to teammates and coaches as “Smooth,” has seen NFL Draft stock soar as the season has progressed. Smith is projected as the 16th pick in The Sporting News’ latest mock NFL Draft, sixth among offensive linemen and third among tackles. Sports Illustrated lists Smith among 15 players with rising NFL Draft stock; the publication ranks him 19th on its “Top Prospects” list.
GRIFFIN BAYLOR’S TOP RUSHING QUARTERBACK
QB Robert Griffin has rewritten Baylor’s records book for quarterback rushing. He has established program season records for a quarterback in rushing yards (587) and rushing touchdowns (10). He has three 100-yard rushing games this year, establishing Baylor career and season records for quarterbacks.
However, Griffin’s rushing numbers rank high in Baylor history among all players, not just quarterbacks. He is one of only five players in school history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in one season, the first to accomplish the feat since John Henry had 10 in 1993. Griffin is three rushing touchdowns shy of Steve Beaird’s 1973 school record. Earlier this season, Griffin scored at least one rushing touchdown in six consecutive games, tying Jerod Douglas’ 1995 school record.
Griffin also is on pace to crack Baylor’s overall top 10 lists in 100-yard games, and he has an outside shot at cracking the top 10 list for rushing yards. His 217 rushing yards against Washington State is an overall single-game school record regardless of position.
HE PASSES, TOO
With 11 touchdown passes, QB Robert Griffin needs one touchdown pass to tie four others for eighth place on Baylor’s single-season list. He is the first player in Baylor history to record 10 rushing touchdowns and 10 passing touchdowns in the same season. Griffin needs 105 yards passing and seven passing completions to move into 10th place on Baylor’s single-season lists in those categories. He has completed 61.4 percent of his passes, currently the second-best season percentage in Baylor history.
Griffin is responsible for 21 touchdowns this season, third in school history and two shy of Blake Szymanski’s record established last season. He has amassed 2,275 total yards, fifth on Baylor’s single-season list; Szymanski established the school record with 2,942 yards last season. Griffin’s 6.69-yard average per play currently ranks third on Baylor’s single-season chart.
Furthermore, Griffin will move into a tie for ninth place on Baylor’s single-season points scored list with his next touchdown scored.
WRIGHT BECOMES BAYLOR’S ALL-TIME FRESHMAN RECEPTIONS LEADER
IR Kendall Wright has established a Baylor record for receptions (40) and receiving yards (514) by a freshman. He leads the Bears in both categories; no Baylor freshman has ever led the team in either category.
Wright ranks 19th in the Big 12 and is tied for 87th nationally with 4.4 receptions per game. He also ranks 20th in the league and is tied for 93rd nationally with 57.1 receiving yards per game. He is one of eight freshmen nationally with at least 40 receptions, one of five true freshmen. Wright ranks 10th nationally in receiving yards per game among freshmen, seventh among true freshmen.
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 against Iowa State. He is tied for 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 50
DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi 49
*Patrick Edwards, Houston 46
A.J. Green, Georgia 44
*Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M 44
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M 42
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame 41
Kendall Wright, BAYLOR 40
*Martavious Odoms, Michigan 36
NCAA FBS FRESHMAN RECEIVING YARDS PER GAME LEADERS
DeAndre Brown, Southern Mississippi 93.78
A.J. Green, Georgia 83.67
*Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M 82.88
*Patrick Edwards, Houston 79.25
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame 79.13
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International 72.25
*Tyron Carrier, Houston 67.63
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M 59.44
Malcolm Beyah, Middle Tennessee 57.75
Kendall Wright, BAYLOR 59.11
Julio Jones, Alabama 56.22
* - redshirt freshman
NO REST FOR THE WEARY
Life in the Big 12 Conference is not for the weak of heart. Baylor’s eight-game conference slate features five nationally ranked opponents. In fact, all five have been ranked in the top 10 at some point this season. Baylor already has played then-No. 1 Oklahoma, then-No. 8 Oklahoma State and then-No. 14 Missouri. After this week’s game against fifth-ranked Texas (ranked as high as No. 1 this season), the Bears play unranked Texas A&M and conclude the season at second-ranked Texas Tech.
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. The five-game streak was the Bears’ longest since a five-game run to open the 2005 season.
Baylor has rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of nine games this season, the most since the Bears reached the century plateau nine times in 11 games during the 1997 season.
LINEBACKER CORPS RACKS UP TACKLES
Baylor’s three starting linebackers — Antonio Johnson, Antonio Jones and Joe Pawelek — have combined for 223 tackles this season, averaging 24.8 tackles per game (30.2 percent of the Bears’ total tackles). Pawelek leads the team with 105 tackles; Johnson (64) is third, while Jones (54) is fourth.
Pawelek, who leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally with 11.7 tackles per game, led the Bears with 86 tackles in 2006; that was the first time a linebacker led Baylor in tackles since Kris Micheaux accomplished the feat with 96 stops in 2000. Pawelek’s 105 tackles are the most by a Baylor linebacker since Dean Jackson had 114 in 1996. Johnson is tied 15th in the Big 12 with 7.1 tackles per game.
• QB Robert Griffin needs 105 passing yards to move into 10th place on Baylor’s single-season list. He needs 166 yards to move into ninth place, 210 yards to move into eighth place, 276 yards to move into seventh place and 299 yards move into sixth place.
• Griffin needs seven passing completions to move into 10th place on Baylor’s single-season list. He needs 15 completions to move into ninth place and 22 completions to move into eighth place.
• Griffin needs one passing touchdowns to move into an eight-place tie on Baylor’s single-season list.
• Griffin needs one rushing touchdown to move into sole possession of second place on Baylor’s single-season list. He needs three rushing touchdowns to match Steve Beaird’s 1974 school record.
• Griffin needs two total yards to move into fourth place on Baylor’s all-time, single-season list. He needs 171 yards to move into third place and 364 yards to move into second place.
• Griffin needs one touchdown (rushing or passing) to tie Don Trull (1963) for second place on Baylor’s single-season list for touchdown responsibility. He needs two touchdowns to match Blake Szymanski’s school record, established last season.
• Griffin needs one touchdown (rushing or receiving) to move into a ninth-place tie on Baylor’s single-season points scored list. Doing so would tie Griffin for fourth place on Baylor’s single-season touchdowns scored chart.
• WR Thomas White needs two TD receptions to move into a sixth-place tie on Baylor’s career chart.
• WR David Gettis needs three kickoff return yards to crack Baylor’s career top-10 list.
• LB Joe Pawelek needs three assisted tackles to move into second place on Baylor’s career chart.
• Pawelek needs three assisted tackles to move into fifth place on Baylor’s single-season list. He needs eight to move into fourth place, 11 to move into third place and 20 to move into second.
• IR Mikail Baker will move into sole possession of eighth place on Baylor’s career list with his next kickoff return. He needs three kickoff returns to move into seventh place.
• Baker needs 40 kickoff return yards to move into fifth place on Baylor’s career list. He needs 177 yards to move into fourth place.
• P Derek Epperson needs one punt of 50-plus yards to move into a ninth-place tie on Baylor’s career list. He needs four such punts to tie for eighth place.
• Epperson needs one punt of 60-plus yards to move into sole possession of sixth place on Baylor’s career list. He needs two such punts to tie for fifth place and three such punts to tie for fourth.
• Epperson needs one punt of 60-plus yards to move into sole possession of seventh place on Baylor’s single-season list and two such punts to tie two others for fifth place.
NOTES FROM THE MISSOURI GAME
• QB Robert Griffin established single-game career highs in pass attempts (35) and pass completions (26).
• RB Ray Sims’ third-quarter touchdown was the first of his career.
• LB Joe Pawelek’s second-quarter interception was the fifth of his career, the third of which came in the opponent’s end zone.
• CB Trenston Hill established career highs for tackles (9) and solo tackles (6).
• LG Chris Griesenbeck and CB Tim Atchison both made their first career starts.
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.
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.
WHITE AMONG BAYLOR’S ALL-TIME TOP RECEIVERS
With three catches for 35 yards two weeks ago at Oklahoma State, WR Thomas White became the 24th player in Baylor history to eclipse 1,000 career receiving yards. White, who has 21 receptions for 218 yards and one touchdown this season, has 78 career receptions for 1,027 yards and 11 touchdowns. White also has at least one reception in each of the last 13 games.
A former walk-on, White recorded his 11th career touchdown reception against Washington State earlier this season. 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.
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 114 career starts; LT Jason Smith leads the way with 36 career starts, followed by RT Dan Gay with 31 starts (consecutively). Meanwhile, the Bears four starting defensive linemen have combined for 90 career starts; DT Vincent Rhodes leads the way with 31 career starts, while DE Jason Lamb has 29 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.
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.
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.
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), 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.”
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).
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.
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.
SEVERAL BEARS EARN PRESEASON ACCOLADES
Four Baylor student-athletes were named preseason All-Big 12 Conference by various outlets: WR David Gettis, FS Jordan Lake, LB Joe Pawelek and LT 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.
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 returns home for the 105th rendition of the Battle of the Brazos, hosting Texas A&M. Kickoff between the Bears and Aggies is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST at Floyd Casey Stadium. This is Baylor’s final home game this season.
Texas A&M holds a 65-30-9 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to a 33-0 Aggies’ victory in 1899. With next Saturday’s game, the Texas A&M series will tie the TCU series as the most-played series in Baylor football history.