Nov. 5, 2007
Complete Release in PDF Format
BAYLOR (3-7, 0-6) vs. No. 4 OKLAHOMA (8-1, 4-1)
SATURDAY, NOV. 10, 2007 5:30 P.M. CST
GAYLORD FAMILY OKLAHOMA MEMORIAL STADIUM (85,000)
Oklahoma leads 16-0-0
BAYLOR: Guy Morriss (TCU, 1973)
Record at Baylor: 18-38 (5th season)
Career Record: 27-52 (7th season)
Record vs. Oklahoma: 0-4
OKLAHOMA: Bob Stoops (Iowa, 1983)
Record at Oklahoma: 94-20 (9th season)
Career Record: 94-20 (9th season)
Record vs. Baylor: 8-0
BAYLOR/ISP RADIO NETWORK
John Morris, play-by-play
J.J. Joe, color analyst
Ricky Thompson, sideline
Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 161
Bill Land, play-by-play
Gary Reasons, color analyst
Emily Jones, sideline reporter
BAYLOR TRAVELS TO OKLAHOMA
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Nov. 10, traveling to Norman, Okla., for a Big 12 Conference South Division matchup at Oklahoma. Kickoff between the Bears and the Sooners is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CST at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on the Oklahoma campus. This is Baylor's final road game of the 2007 season.
The Bears (3-7, 0-6) have dropped six straight following a 38-7 loss at home against Texas Tech last Saturday. Baylor is 1-4 on the road this season, winning at Buffalo and losing at TCU, at Texas A&M, at Kansas and at Kansas State. The Bears have lost six consecutive Big 12 road games since a 34-31, triple-overtime victory at Colorado last season.
The Sooners (8-1, 4-1) have won four consecutive games since a loss Sept. 29 at Colorado, including a 42-14 victory at home against Texas A&M last Saturday. Oklahoma is ranked fourth in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll; the Sooners are ranked fifth in the latest BCS Standings. The Sooners are 5-0 at home this season with wins over North Texas, Miami, Utah State, Missouri and Texas A&M.
Saturday's game will be televised nationally on FSN. This is Baylor's fifth televised game this season; the Bears are 0-4 on television in 2007.
This is the 17th meeting between Baylor and Oklahoma; the Sooners have dominated the series, winning each of the first 16 meetings. Oklahoma's 37-30 double-overtime win at Norman in 2005 was the closest game in the series since the Sooners' 24-23 victory at Norman in 1997.
While Oklahoma has won every game in the series, not all have been handily. In fact, the first three meetings as Big 12 foes were decided by a total of 17 points, including scores of 28-24 and 24-23 in the first two meetings.
Baylor and Oklahoma first met Oct. 26, 1901; the Sooners left Waco that day with a 17-6 victory. The teams did not play again until 1973.
SERIES NOTES: Oklahoma is the only Big 12 team Baylor has never defeated. In fact, Oklahoma is the only team Baylor has played at least five times without at least one win. ... This is the seventhe time in the last eight meetings that Oklahoma has been ranked when playing Baylor. ... When Baylor faced top-ranked Oklahoma in 2000, it was the Bears' second game against the nation's top-ranked team in a 15-day span. Two weeks prior, Baylor played then-No. 1 Nebraska. ... Baylor held Oklahoma to 56 yards rushing in the 2003 meeting, a season low for the Sooners and the fewest yards rushing allowed by a Baylor team since 1995. In fact, Oklahoma had negative rushing yards until late in the third quarter. ... In the 1989 season opener for both teams, then-No. 8 Oklahoma ran the ball on 70 of 72 plays en route to a 33-7 victory at Norman. The Sooners were 0-of-2 passing, the fourth and most recent time a Baylor opponent did not complete a pass. ... ... Randy Davis returned a kickoff 93 yards for a TD against the Sooners in 2001. That still stands as the eighth-longest kickoff return in Baylor history. ... Pete Rutter's 81-yard punt against Oklahoma in 1989 still ranks fifth all-time at Baylor.
Overall: Oklahoma leads 16-0
Waco: Oklahoma leads 8-0
Norman: Oklahoma leads 8-0
Neutral Site: Never Met
Since Start of Big 12: Oklahoma leads 11-0
Most Points Scored, Baylor: 30 (2005)
Most Points Scored, Oklahoma: 56 (2000)
Most Points Scored, both teams: 67 (2005, OU 37-30)
Largest Margin of Victory, Baylor: none
Largest Margin of Victory, Oklahoma: 56-7 (2000)
OKLAHOMA 36, BAYLOR 10
NOV. 18, 2006 FLOYD CASEY STADIUM WACO, TEXAS
No. 16 Oklahoma scored 23 third-quarter points to pull away from Baylor en route to a 36-10 victory at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Reggie Smith returned one of his two interceptions 42 yards for a TD and set up another score with his other, and third-string tailback Chris Brown ran 24 times for 169 yards and a score.
Oklahoma overcame five turnovers, including fumbles by Smith and Brown that led to Baylor's only scores.
Malcolm Kelly fumbled at the end of a 57-yard gain while the sophomore was running down the sideline toward the end zone in the first quarter. That was one of three turnovers by the Sooners in the first half, when their only two touchdowns came only 69 seconds apart.
The next catch for Kelly was his 21-yard TD on the opening possession after halftime as Oklahoma scored 23 points in less than 10 minutes. Kelly finished with five catches for 115 yards, a week after he tied the school record with 11 catches.
After Alonzo Dotson sacked Blake Szymanski for a safety, Juaquin Iglesias returned the ensuing free kick 88 yards for a TD to make it 36-3 with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
Brown had a 35-yard run on the play before Kelly's touchdown, and had a 27-yard gain on the Sooners' first scoring drive.
Paul Thompson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Joe Jon Finley with 5:23 left in the first quarter, on the drive that Kelly had two third-down catches. After a 15-yard grab for one first down, Kelly was cutting across the middle on another third down when he reached back to make a one-handed grab of a pass thrown behind him.
Baylor then had only two plays before Smith's interception return made it 13-0.
Smith also set up Baylor's only offensive score on the ensuing possession, when he botched a punt that was recovered by Braelon Davis at the Oklahoma 24. Ryan Havens kicked a 38-yard field goal.
Davis also recovered the fumble by Kelly, when he dropped the ball at the Baylor 10 trying to fend off another defender, and returned a fumble by Brown in the fourth quarter 56 yards for a touchdown.
Szymanski was 22-of-45 for 188 yards and the two interceptions. He was sacked five times.
OKLAHOMA STATE GAME TIME SET
Game time for Baylor's Nov. 17 game at Oklahoma State has been scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT at Floyd Casey Stadium; the game will be televised nationally on FSN.
Oklahoma State holds a slim 13-12 advantage in the all-time series, including a 66-24 victory at Stillwater last season. Baylor won the teams' last meeting at Floyd Casey Stadium 44-34 in the 2005 season finale.
Baylor is 0-3 all-time when 3-7. In all three occasions (2002, 2003, 2004), Baylor lost to Oklahoma. The Bears entered that game with a five-game losing streak in 2002 and in 2003.
Baylor has lost 10 straight Big 12 games since its 36-35 comeback victory over Kansas (Oct. 22, 2006).
Baylor is 161-223-20 all-time in November, including a 1-13 mark under head coach Guy Morriss and a 3-36 record since the inception of the Big 12 Conference (1996).
Baylor is 29-61-5 all-time on the second Saturday of November, including a 4-10-1 mark on Nov. 10.
Baylor is 3-0 this season when scoring first and when leading at halftime; the Bears are 0-7 this season in both situations. Baylor has lost 11 straight games in both situations.
Baylor has not scored a first-quarter touchdown in six consecutive games and has been out-scored 53-3 in the first quarter in those six games. The Bears have not scored in the first quarter of three straight games.
Baylor has been out-scored 79-14 in the third quarter in Big 12 play this season.
Baylor has received the kickoff to open the second half in all six Big 12 games this season; those drives have produced two first downs (one rushing at Kansas and one by penalty against Texas Tech).
Baylor has forced at least one turnover in 29 of the last 33 games, including 19 games with at least two.
Baylor's defense has held the opposing offense without a first-quarter touchdown in 20 of the last 32 games, including 14 first-quarter shutouts in that time.
Baylor's defense has 21 sacks through 10 games this season after only 11 sacks in 12 games last year.
WR Krys Buerck needs three catches to break Trent Shelton's 2003 Baylor freshman receptions record (25).
One year after losing 32 seniors, including 24 fifth-year players, Baylor's 2007 roster features 71 underclassmen -- 45 of whom are either true (25) or redshirt (20) freshmen -- and just 17 seniors.
Baylor is one of nine Division I-A schools with at least 40 underclassmen on roster.
BAYLOR vs. RANKED OPPONENTS
Baylor is 41-151-6 all-time against ranked opponents, 26-132-5 when unranked and playing a ranked opponent. The Bears are 2-37 against ranked opponents since the inception of the Big 12 Conference (33-30 against 20th-ranked North Carolina State in 1998, and 35-34 in overtime against 16th-ranked Texas A&M in 2004). Baylor has lost 11 straight to ranked foes since the 2004 victory over Texas A&M. The Bears have not defeated a ranked opponent on the road since a 9-7 victory at 24th-ranked Arkansas in 1991.
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.
BEARS IN TELEVISED GAMES
Saturday's game is the 111th televised game in Baylor football history; the Bears are 37-71-2 all-time in televised games. Baylor is 2-18 in televised games under head coach Guy Morriss, including an 0-4 mark this season. Baylor has lost 13 consecutive televised games; the Bears last victory in a televised game was their 20-10 triumph at Army on ESPN Classic in 2005. Baylor is 2-24 all-time on FSN, including its subsidiaries Fox College Sports and FSN-PayPerView.
BAYLOR FACES TALL TASK AT OKLAHOMA
Not only is Baylor 0-16 all-time against Oklahoma, the Bears will attempt Saturday to accomplish something only two schools have done since the start of the 1999 season -- defeat Oklahoma in Norman. Since Bob Stoops became Oklahoma's head coach in 1999, the Sooners are 52-2 at Memorial Stadium; the only losses in that time were against Oklahoma State in 2001 (16-13) and against TCU in the 2005 season-opener (17-10). The Sooners, who have won 16 consecutive home games, are 29-1 at home in Big 12 games under Stoops. Oklahoma has a .967 winning percentage (29-1) at home since the start of the 2003 season, tied with Boise State for the nation's best home winning percentage in that time.
BEARS IN MIDST OF TOUGH STRETCH
Saturday's game at Oklahoma is Baylor's fifth consecutive game and seventh this year against a team ranked at some point during the season. In fact, six of Baylor's eight Big 12 opponents have been ranked nationally in either the Associated Press Top 25 or the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. Only Colorado and Oklahoma State have not been ranked nationally this season; however, both have been among teams also receiving votes as late as last week. Baylor's strength of schedule ranks 21st nationally.
LAKE, PAWELEK TACKLE ISSUES
FS Jordan Lake eclipsed the 100-tackle plateau for the season during the Texas Tech game. He enters the Oklahoma game with 102 stops on the season, becoming the first Bear with at least 100 tackles in a season since Maurice Lane had 104 tackles in 2004. Lake averages 10.2 tackles per game this season, third in the Big 12 and tied for 27th nationally. He ranks first in the Big 12 and third nationally among defensive backs; he leads the Big 12 with 12.0 tackles per game in league action. Lake is on pace to finish the season with 122 stops; that would rank 11th in school history and would be the best season total by a Baylor player since Lane's 129-tackle 2003 season.
Meanwhile, LB Joe Pawelek has tallied 91 tackles on the season. His 9.1 tackles-per-game average ranks sixth in the Big 12 and tied for 56th nationally. His total is the most by a Baylor linebacker since Chris Micheaux had 96 stops in the 11-game 2000 season. Pawelek needs nine tackles to become the first Baylor linebacker to record at least 100 tackles in a season since Dean Jackson had 114 tackles in the 11-game 1996 season.
Furthermore, Lake and Pawelek would be the first Baylor duo with at least 100 tackles each since Samir AL-AMIN (109) and Derrick Cash (106) in 2001 and the eighth Baylor duo to accomplish the feat since 1980. It would be the first time Baylor has accomplished the feat with at least one of the two players being a linebacker since 1991 when Le'Shai Maston (110) and Curtis Hafford (102), both linebackers, accomplished the feat. It would be the first time Baylor has accomplished the feat with one linebacker and one defensive back since FS Mike Welch (131) and LB James Francis (102) did so in 1987.
SZYMANSKI NEARS SEASON PASSING MARKS
QB Blake Szymanski enters Saturday's game at fourth-ranked Oklahoma within earshot of Baylor's four main single-season passing records. He needs 32 completions, four attempts, 245 yards and two touchdowns to break Shawn Bell's 2006 school records in each category. Szymanski has played in nine of Baylor's 10 games this season, while Bell played in nine games last season before a career-ending knee injury.
A sophomore from Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas, Szymanski has been responsible for 19 touchdowns this season (18 passing, one rushing); he needs four more touchdowns to break Don Trull's 1963 Baylor single-season record. Szymanski, who already has established a Baylor single-season record for total plays with 427, needs 179 total yards to break Cody Carlson's 1986 single-season record (2,640 yards).
Szymanski is nearing Baylor's all-time career leaders lists in those four categories. He needs 25 completions, 37 attempts, 772 yards and three touchdowns to crack the top 10 in each category. Szymanski also has been responsible for 25 career touchdowns (22 passing, three rushing) and needs three touchdowns to enter that top 10 list, as well.
PAWELEK NAMED TO GOOD WORKS TEAM
LB Joe Pawelek was named to the Big 12 Conference Fall Sports Good Works Team in recognition of community service efforts, the league office announced last week. Each member institution selected a student-athlete for recognition based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in a Big 12-sponsored sport.
The Big 12 names a 12-person Good Works Team for the fall (cross country, football, soccer, volleyball), winter (basketball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, wrestling) and spring (baseball, golf, softball, tennis, track and field).
TURNOVERS COSTLY FOR BEARS
Baylor has committed 33 turnovers through 10 games (3.3 per game), and the Bears' opponents have turned those into 109 points (31.4 percent of total points allowed) for an average of 3.3 points per turnover. Meanwhile, Baylor has forced 18 turnovers (1.8 per game) and turned those into 58 points (31.7 percent of total points scored) for an average of 3.2 points per turnover.
In Big 12 Conference play, Baylor has committed 24 turnovers in six games (4.0 per game); the Bears' opponents have scored 92 points off those turnovers (36.1 percent of total points allowed) for an average of 3.8 points per turnover. Interestingly, a higher percentage of Baylor's points in Big 12 play have come from the opponents' turnovers. The Bears have forced nine turnovers in six league games (1.5 per game) and scored 31 points off those turnovers (42.5 percent of total points scored) for an average of 3.4 points per turnover.
Baylor ranks 118th out of 119 Division I-A teams with a turnover margin of minus-1.50 per game.
BAYLOR SPREADS THE WEALTH IN PASSING GAME
Through 10 games, 16 different players have recorded at least one reception this season. That total is tied for sixth nationally and tied for third among Big 12 Conference schools. Nebraska leads nationally with 20 different receivers, followed by Troy (19), TCU (18), Colorado (18) and Southern California (17); Baylor is tied for sixth along with Boise State, Georgia, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana State, Rice and Texas Tech.
Baylor's 16 players with at least one reception this season are: Justin Akers (40 receptions), Brandon Whitaker (39), Brad Taylor (30), David Gettis (26), Krys Buerck (23), Thomas White (23), Ernest Smith (17), Justin Fenty (15), Jay Finley (17), Jacoby Jones (nine), Mikail Baker (six), Kyle Mitchell (three), Eddy Newton (three), Luke La Mar (two), Joe Bennett (one) and Keegan Vann (one).
Furthermore, nine different Baylor players have at least one touchdown reception this season: Akers (four), White (four), Whitaker (three), Buerck (two), Taylor (two), Finley (one), Jones (one), Smith (one) and Vann (one). That total is tied for fourth nationally and is tied for first in the Big 12 along with Colorado. Troy (13 players) leads the nation, followed by Hawai'i (10) and Southern California (10).
GETTIS NEARS ALL-PURPOSE YARDAGE LIST
WR David Gettis enters the Oklahoma game with 998 all-purpose yards this season, gaining 365 yards on 26 receptions and 633 yards on 27 kickoff returns. Gettis had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Oct. 13 at Kansas, the eighth-longest in school history and Baylor's first since the 2005 season.
Over the last five games, Gettis has averaged 144.6 all-purpose yards per game. Against Colorado, Gettis established a career high with 225 all-purpose yards. That was the best single-game total by a Baylor player in the Guy Morriss era and the best by any Bear since Jerod Douglas' school-record, 257-yard performance at Oklahoma in 1997.
Gettis needs 187 all-purpose yards in Baylor's final two games to crack the Bears' all-time top-10 list. Currently, Reggie Newhouse (2002) and Willie Andrews (2004) are tied for 10th with 1,184 yards.
WHITAKER RECEIVES ATTENTION FROM BACKFIELD
RB Brandon Whitaker is second on the team with 39 receptions this season, already eclipsing his career high for catches in a season (30, established in each of the past two seasons). Whitaker has led the Bears in receptions twice this season but also has gone reception-less in two games. After not catching a pass against Texas A&M, he tallied 11 receptions against Colorado and averaged 7.7 receptions per game over a three-game span. With two catches against Texas Tech, Whitaker became the seventh player in Baylor history with at least 100 career receptions.
Whitaker established career highs in receptions and yards receivng (166) against Colorado, both Baylor single-game records for a non-receiver. He previously held the single-game receptions record for a non-receiver with nine catches at Washington State last season. Whitaker's receptions total tied for fifth in school history and was one shy of the overall school record. Meanwhile, his yardage total tied for eighth all-time at Baylor.
Whitaker also broke Baylor's career receptions mark for a non-receiver in the Colorado game. His third catch of the game was the 78th of his career, breaking the previous mark held by FB Jeffrey Murray (1986-89). Whitaker now has 98 career catches for 653 yards. He currently is tied with Kalief Muhammad (1993-96) for seventh on Baylor's overall career receptions list.
Entering the Oklahoma game, Whitaker needs 57 yards rushing to become the 28th 1,000-yard rusher in school history. One of three Bears with at least three touchdown receptions this season, Whitaker ranks fourth on the squad with 305 yards receiving.
OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY VASTLY IMPROVED
After giving up 36 sacks in 12 games last season, Baylor's offensive line has shown vast improvement in 2007. The Bears' quarterbacks have been sacked only 16 times in 10 games.
Baylor's offensive line did not allow a sack against Texas A&M nor against Colorado, marking the first time the Bears' did not allow a sack in consecutive games since a three-game run late in the 1995 season (at Miami, at SMU, Rice). The Texas A&M game was the first time a Baylor quarterback was not sacked since the 2004 North Texas game, snapping 35-game streak.
Kansas recorded a sack of Baylor's Ryan Roberts midway through the third quarter, snapping a streak of 114 consecutive pass plays without allowing a sack for Baylor's offensive line. The Bears allowed only one sack against Texas in 57 total pass plays.
From 1998 through 2006, Baylor quarterbacks were sacked 328 times in 113 games (2.9 per game), allowing at least 25 sacks each season and a high of 52 sacks in a 12-game 2002 schedule. This season, the Bears are allowing only 1.6 sacks per game. More impressively, the Bears' quarterbacks were sacked once every 11.3 pass attempts from 1998 through 2006; this season, they have been sacked once every 29.9 pass attempts.
BAYLOR TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF
Baylor ranked 113th nationally in turnover margin and forced just nine opponent miscues over the 11-game 2004 campaign, but the last three seasons it has reversed that trend. The Bears' defense has forced 74 turnovers (41 interceptions, 33 fumble recoveries) since the start of the 2005 season to tie for third in the Big 12 and tie for 17th nationally among Division I-A teams in that span. Baylor has come up with at least one turnover in 29 of 33 games since the start of the 2005 season, including 19 games with two or more.
Baylor forced 34 turnovers over 23 games (1.5 per game) in Guy Morriss' first two seasons, compared to the 74 it has totaled over the last 33 outings (2.3 per game). Here's a look at the teams with most turnovers forced over the last three seasons:
TURNOVERS GAINED 2005 2006 2007 TOTAL
1. TCU 40 26 17 83
2. South Florida 30 25 27 82
3. Louisiana Tech 31 29 21 81
4. Purdue 27 32 20 79
5. Boston College 18 37 23 78
Texas 27 32 19 78
7. Oregon State 26 28 23 77
Southern Mississippi 34 25 18 77
Western Michigan 25 34 18 77
West Virginia 31 24 22 77
11. Miami (Ohio) 35 22 19 76
Michigan 23 26 27 76
Oklahoma 23 32 21 76
Southern California 38 22 16 76
15. Oregon 32 22 21 75
UTEP 24 25 26 75
17. Baylor 29 27 18 74
Missouri 24 28 22 74
19. Louisiana-Monroe 26 34 13 73
Louisville 28 25 20 73
21. Florida 31 29 12 72
Georgia 29 30 12 72
Idaho 22 25 25 72
24. Boise State 26 31 14 71
Hawai'i 21 29 21 71
Nevada 23 37 11 71
BEARS HAVE 20/20 VISION
In five seasons under head coach Guy Morriss, Baylor has established a bit of a vicenary rule on the scoreboard. The Bears are 16-12 when scoring at least 20 points and 2-26 when scoring less than 20 points since the start of the 2003 season. Likewise, the Bears are 10-3 when holding the opponent to fewer than 20 points and 8-35 when allowing 20 or more points in that time.
Baylor has recorded 15 non-offensive scores in 56 games under head coach Guy Morriss, notching at least one such score in each of Morriss' five seasons.
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)
2004 vs. Iowa State -- Braelon Davis defensive PAT (interception return)
2005 vs. Samford -- Jamaal Harper 29-yard fumble return (forced by Colin Allred)
2005 vs. Samford -- Shaun Rochon 85-yard punt return
2005 at Oklahoma -- Shaun Rochon 98-yard kickoff return
2005 vs. Oklahoma State -- Colin Allred 25-yard interception return
2006 vs. Oklahoma -- Braelon Davis 56-yard fumble return (forced by Davis)
2007 at Kansas -- David Gettis 97-yard kickoff return
NOTES FROM THE TEXAS TECH GAME
Baylor was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since the season opener at TCU. The Bears were held scoreless in the first half at home for the first time since Texas in 2005.
Baylor's fourth-quarter touchdown broke a streak of 10 consecutive scoreless quarters at home against Texas Tech. The Bears' last score against the Red Raiders was in the first quarter of the 2003 meeting.
Three Bears made their first career starts: RB Jacoby Jones, ROV Jake La Mar and FS Marlon Price.
LB Nick Moore saw his consecutive games started streak end at 19 games.
P Derek Epperson's 63-yard, first-quarter punt was the first 60-plus-yard punt of his career.
RB Brandon Whitaker became the seventh player in Baylor history with at least 100 career receptions.
RB Jacoby Jones established career highs for rush attempts (21), yards rushing (83), receptions (six) and yards receiving (36).
FS Jordan Lake recorded double figures in tackles for the third consecutive game and the fifth time this season.
2007 SCHEDULE FEATURES EIGHT 2006 BOWL TEAMS
After playing seven of 12 games a year ago against teams that went on to earn bowl invitations, Baylor will face eight 2006 bowl teams this season, including six of its eight Big 12 opponents. But, that's nothing new for coach Guy Morriss' program, as 28 times in his first 46 games (including 25 of 32 Big 12 contests) along the Baylor sideline he's faced an opponent who ended the season in a bowl game.
The Bears' 2007 opponents combined for an 85-67 (.559) record a year ago and eight earned bowl bids -- TCU (Poinsettia champion), Rice (New Orleans), Texas (Alamo champion), Kansas State (Texas), Texas A&M (Holiday), Texas Tech (Insight champion), Oklahoma (Fiesta) and Oklahoma State (Independence champion). Baylor's eight 2007 Big 12 foes went 60-43 (.583) a year ago and recorded all three of the league's bowl wins.
Six of Baylor's eight losses in 2006 came at the hands of eventual bowl-bound teams while it knocked off Texas Bowl participant Kansas State, 17-3, and bowl-eligible Kansas, 36-35.
Over Morriss' four seasons in Waco, his teams have tackled the nation's 55th- (2003), sixth- (2004), 28th- (2005) and 49th- (2006) most-difficult schedules according to the NCAA.
BAYLOR AMONG NATION'S BEST COLLEGES
Baylor University ranks as the nation's 75th-best institute for higher learning, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2008 "America's Best Colleges" edition. Baylor is ranked third among Big 12 Conference schools, trailing only Texas (44th) and Texas A&M (62nd). Last year, Baylor was the fourth-ranked Big 12 school but leap-frogged Colorado (79th) in this year's rankings.
Other Big 12 schools ranked were: Iowa State (t-85th), Kansas (t-85th), Missouri (t-91st), Nebraska (t-91st), Oklahoma (108th) and Kansas State (124th). Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were considered "third tier" schools and were, therefore, not ranked numerically.
FORMER WALK-ONS EARN SCHOLARSHIPS
Six senior walk-on members of the Baylor football team were awarded scholarships for the 2007-08 academic year: OG Ricky Hasoon, LB Daniel Lopez, CB Ralph Rodriguez, OL Ted Tanner, SS Zach Jones and FB Keegan Vann.
At the end of spring practice, the Baylor staff also placed junior WR Thomas White on scholarship. Including the seniors receiving scholarships prior to the start of the season, Baylor's 2007 roster features eight walk-ons who have earned scholarships.
Since Morriss' arrival in 2003, 30 Bears have gone from walk-on to scholarship status.
AFCA SALUTES BAYLOR FOR GRADUATION RATE
Baylor was one of 34 NCAA Division I-A schools to have its football program honored with the 2007 Academic Achievement Award by the American Football Coaches Association.
In the most-recent AFCA survey, four institutions registered graduation rates of 90 percent or more for their 2001-02 freshman football class, including Northwestern and Notre Dame, which earned top honors from the Touchdown Club of Memphis with their 95 percent marks.
Baylor joined Big 12 schools Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech among the 32 institutions who received honorable mention recognition with a graduation rate of 70 to 90 percent. Baylor also was recognized in the AFCA's 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006 surveys.
FOOTBALL OPERATIONS HEADED TO CAMPUS IN 2008
Ground was broken May 10, 2007, on the Alwin O. and Dorothy Highers Athletics Complex and the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center, a $34 million complex that will integrate the Baylor athletics department and football program into the campus environment for the first time since the late 1950s.
The lead gift for the privately funded project and the largest single gift in school history is from the estate of Alwin O. Highers Jr. of Alexandria, La. A native Texan and a 1939 Baylor business graduate, Mr. Highers was well known as the owner of Alexandria's Dr Pepper Bottling Co. He also was a dedicated supporter of Baylor athletics and in particular its football program, until his death in 2003. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, who still resides in Alexandria.
The focal point of the Highers Athletics Complex will be the 96,300-square-foot Simpson Athletics and Academic Center, which will be built on University Parks Drive adjacent to Baylor's Mayborn Museum Complex and the university's other athletic facilities that are part of the Julie and Jim Turner Riverfront Athletic Complex on the Brazos River.
A Baylor University graduate and generous Baylor supporter, Bob R. Simpson is a co-founder, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of XTO Energy Inc. of Fort Worth. His leadership at XTO has been recognized by numerous publications, including Barron's ("30 most respected CEO's in the world," March 27, 2006), Oil & Gas Explorer ("Executive of the Year," March 2006), Institutional Investor ("Best CEOs," January 2006), BusinessWeek ("The BusinessWeek Top 50 Performers," April 2006) and Forbes ("2,000 Leading Companies in the World," April 17, 2006).
Simpson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance, with magna cum laude honors, in 1970 and his MBA in 1971.
The first floor of the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center will include functions that are currently housed at Floyd Casey Stadium, such as a main athletics training room, equipment room, football team locker room, coaches' locker room and weight room. Floor two will hold administrative offices, the football office and meeting rooms, as well as an academic center which will benefit all Baylor student-athletes.
The Highers Athletics Complex will include three football practice fields, two with a natural surface and the other with artificial turf. Construction will take approximately 18 months and is expected to be completed by July 2008.
The Bears' 2007 roster includes the sons of six former Baylor football standouts, three of whom were All-Americans during their Baylor careers. True freshmen Matt Singletary, V.J. McElroy and Chris Francis join three other sons of Baylor legacies already in the program--sophomore offensive guard Sam Sledge, redshirt freshman receiver Ben Randle and sophomore running back Tony Anderson, who must sit out the season as a transfer from I-AA Southeast Missouri State.
Singletary's father, Mike, was a three-time All-American and two-time Davey O'Brien Award winner who is enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame after standout playing careers at Baylor and with the NFL's Chicago Bears. McElroy's father, Vann, was a two-time All-America defensive back at Baylor who went on to play in two Pro Bowls with the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders. The younger Francis' father, James, earned 1989 All-America and Southwest Conference Player of the Year honors and was a first-round NFL Draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
David Sledge was an All-Southwest Conference performer for the Bears in 1978. Alfred Anderson, the third-leading rusher in school history, and Ervin Randle, an eight-year NFL veteran with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, were Baylor teammates in the early 1980s.
COACHING STAFF FEATURES FOUR NEW FACES
In the off-season, Baylor's coaching staff underwent a makeover as four new faces were added, and the dean of the Bears' staff, Larry Hoefer, was promoted to defensive coordinator.
After spending the past three seasons as running backs coach at the University of Arizona, Kasey Dunn is Baylor's new assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach. Former University of Houston All-America wide receiver Jason Phillips will coach the Bears' inside receivers and serve as recruiting coordinator after helping his alma mater to three bowl games in four seasons. Morriss also hired former University of Houston safeties coach Clay Jennings, a graduate of Waco's La Vega High School, as Baylor's cornerbacks coach.
Cornell Jackson, who coached running backs at the University of New Mexico the past two years and has 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, is the Bears' new running backs coach.
Hoefer, the only remaining member of Morriss' original staff, was named the Bears' defensive coordinator in late February when Bill Bradley was hired as secondary coach of the NFL's San Diego Chargers.
Lee Hays returns for his second season as Baylor's offensive coordinator and will also tutor the Baylor signal callers in 2007, while Gary Kinne (linebackers) and Don Wnek (defensive line) are back for their second and third seasons, respectively, in the Baylor program.
The 2007 Baylor coaching staff boasts more than 160 years of experience at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. Six members of Baylor's staff played NCAA Division I football and four played professional football.
BAYLOR CONTINUES TO IMPROVE UNDER MORRISS
Introduced as Baylor's 24th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2002, Guy Morriss inherited a proud program that had fallen on hard times and produced just 13 victories in the six seasons (1997-2002) prior to his arrival. He and his staff have already posted more wins both overall (18) and in Big 12 play (seven) in five years than the Bears registered in the seven previous years (17 overall/four Big 12) before Morriss' Central Texas arrival.
Morriss has directed Baylor to seven of its 11 all-time Big 12 Conference victories and its only two conference road wins, while improving the Bears' league win total in each of the last three seasons. He owns a 18-37 record in five seasons at Baylor and is 27-51 in seven seasons as a head coach overall.
OVER THE AIR
Bear football games can be heard live on the Baylor/ISP Sports Radio Network. The network includes nine affiliates across Texas, including flagship stations ESPN KRZI-AM (1660) in Waco. All Baylor games are broadcast by the "Voice of the Bears" John Morris, a veteran broadcaster with 21 years' experience in the Baylor broadcast booth and in his 13th season as the signature voice of Baylor Athletics. Former Baylor football standouts J.J. Joe (color analyst) and Ricky Thompson (sideline reporter) complete the broadcast team.
BAYLOR/ISP SPORTS FOOTBALL RADIO NETWORK
Abilene KYYW-AM 1470
Amarillo KIXZ-AM 940
Big Spring KBST-AM 1490
Houston KKHT-FM 100.7
Dallas/Fort Worth WBAP-AM 820
Jacksonville KXAL-FM 100.3
Lubbock KJAK-FM 92.7
Lufkin KYBI-FM 101.9
Waco (Flagship) KRZI-AM 1660 espn
Baylor's official athletic web site can be found at www.BaylorBears.com. The comprehensive site, which includes releases, photos, biographical sketches and audio broadcasts, is part of the College Sports TV network. CSTV currently hosts sites for more than 100 universities, including four Big 12 schools and the conference office.
BAYLOR GAMES ON THE INTERNET
The radio call from all of Baylor's games can be heard free of charge live on the Internet at www.BaylorBears.com.
INSIDE BAYLOR SPORTS TV SHOW
Inside Baylor Sports, a half-hour look at the world of Baylor athletics, will air weekly throughout Central Texas and other outlets. The program, co-hosted by John Morris and Lori Scott Fogleman, airs on KCEN-TV Channel 6 (Sunday, 11 p.m. CT), Fox Sports Southwest (Wednesday, 1 p.m. CT), College Sports Television (Friday, 4 p.m. CT) and the College Channel (Waco cable 18).
UP NEXT ...
Baylor concludes its 2007 season at home Saturday, Nov. 17, hosting Oklahoma State for a Big 12 Conference South Division game. Kickoff between the Bears and the Cowboys is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST at Floyd Casey Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on FSN.
Oklahoma State holds a slim 13-12 advantage in the all-time series, including a 66-24 victory at Stillwater last season. Baylor won the teams' last meeting at Floyd Casey Stadium 44-34 in the 2005 season finale.