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Football Takes on Illinois in Texas Bowl

Baylor (7-5) vs. Illinois (6-6)
Dec. 29, 2010 | 5 p.m. CST
Houston, Texas
| Reliant Stadium (71,500)

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Baylor/ISP Sports Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco; Sirius/FamilyNet Radio Ch. 161) | list of complete affiliates
John Morris (pxp), J.J. Joe (analyst), Ricky Thompson (sideline)
National Radio:
ESPN Radio Network
Todd Harris (pxp), David Diaz-Infante (color analyst), Shannon Spake (sideline)
Internet Audio:
Television: ESPN
Talent: Dave Pasch (pxp), Bob Griese (analyst), Chris Spielman (analyst), Holly Rowe (sideline)
Internet Video:
Live Stats:

Baylor leads 1-0
never met
    Champaign: Baylor leads 1-0
    Neutral: never met
    First Meeting: Baylor won 34-19 [Sept. 25, 1976]
    Last Meeting: Baylor won 34-19 [Sept. 25, 1976]

7-5, 4-4 Big 12
Ranking: NR/NR/-- (AP/USA/BCS)
Head Coach: Art Briles
    Career Record: 49-49 (8th season)
    Baylor Record: 15-21 (3rd season)
    vs. Illinois: 0-0
All-Time Bowl Record:
    Briles Bowl Record: 0-3
Statistical Leaders:
Jay Finley [183 att., 1155 yards, 11 TD]
    Passing: Robert Griffin III [274-413, 3195 yards, 21 TD, 8 INT]
    Receiving: Kendall Wright [66 rec., 825 yards, 6 TD]
Byron Landor [115 TT, 3.0 TFL, 1 INT, 5 PBU, 3 FR]

Record: 6-6, 4-4 Big Ten
Ranking: NR/NR/-- (AP/USA/BCS)
Head Coach: Ron Zook
   Career Record:
50-59 (9th season)
   Illinois Record: 27-45 (7th season)
   vs. Baylor: 0-0
Statistical Leaders:
Mikel Leshoure [252 att., 1513 yards, 14 TD]
Nathan Scheelhaase [137-241, 1583 yards, 17 TD, 8 INT]
A.J. Jenkins [50 rec., 694 yards, 7 TD]
Martez Wilson [105 TT, 10.5 TFL, 4.0 Sacks]

One of the nation's longest bowl droughts will come to a close Dec. 29 when Baylor squares off against Illinois in the 2010 Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. CST on ESPN. The storied Baylor football program, playing in its first bowl game since the 1994 Alamo Bowl, is making the 17th bowl appearance in school history. The 7-5 Bears will play their school-record 13th game in the Texas Bowl.

The fifth installment of the Texas Bowl will feature two of the nation's most dynamic quarterbacks -- Baylor sophomore Robert Griffin III and Illinois redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase. Griffin III, who has amassed nearly 4,000 yards of total offense, has thrown for a Baylor single-season record 3,195 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, while rushing for 591 yards and eight more scores. Scheelhaase has rushed for 815 yards and thrown for 1,583 passing yards.

The 2010 Texas Bowl will also feature two top-25 rushing offenses. Illinois ranks 13th nationally with 242.33 yards per game, while Baylor ranks 23rd overall (200.50 yards per game). The Fighting Illini are led by All-American RB Mikel Leshoure, who has rushed for 1,513 yards and 14 touchdowns. Baylor senior All-American Jay Finley is 34 yards shy of establishing Baylor's single-season rushing record (1,155 yards).

All Baylor football games are broadcast live on the Baylor/ISP Sports Radio Network; Waco's 1660 ESPN Radio (also simulcast on Killeen's 106.9 FM) is the network's flagship station. Live streaming audio and GameTracker also are available for all Baylor football games online at, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CBS College Sports network.

Baylor and Illinois will meet for only the second time when they face one another Dec. 29 in the 2010 Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium. In the only previous series meeting, Baylor upset then-No. 14 Illinois, 34-19, in Champaign, Ill., on Sept. 25, 1976. The Bears threw for just 28 yards on 3-of-15 passing, but rushed for 272 yards and four touchdowns for the win. Baylor finished the 1976 season with a 7-3-1 record under head coach Grant Teaff and tied for 19th in the final UPI poll, but did not receive a bowl invitation.

• Over the last year, Baylor is the only Division I school in the nation to have its men's basketball team advance to the Elite Eight, its women's basketball team advance to the Final Four and its football program earn a bowl bid in the same year.
• Baylor is 8-8 in 16 previous bowl appearances (last appearance - 1994 Alamo Bowl).
• The 2010 Texas Bowl marks Baylor's first bowl appearance in the Big 12 era.
• Baylor is 3-4 all-time in bowl games in the state of Texas, including a 2-1 mark in Houston (all in Bluebonnet Bowl).
• The 2010 Texas Bowl marks Baylor's seventh consecutive December bowl game. Baylor hasn't played a New Year's Day bowl game since the 1981 Cotton Bowl.
• Baylor is 17-12 all-time in the month of December and is playing its first December game since the 1994 Alamo Bowl.
• Baylor's coaching staff has a combined 43 games of bowl experience as a coach and nine games as a player.
• Head Coach Art Briles will make his fourth bowl appearance as head coach; he was 0-3 in three bowl trips as Houston head coach (2003 Hawai`i, 2005 Fort Worth, 2006 Liberty). His teams have earned five total bowl berths; in 2007, Houston earned a trip to the Texas Bowl, but he did not coach that game (left UH to become Baylor head coach).

• Baylor's high powered offense has broken 26 school records and several others are within reach.
• Baylor is 34-28-2 all-time in Houston, including a 2-1 mark in bowl games.
• Baylor posted its first winning season since 1995 (finished 7-4, but did not receive a bowl invite).
• Baylor is 2-9-1 all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference and has lost five straight. Baylor's last win against the Big Ten came against Illinois in 1976.
• Baylor is one of three NCAA Division I FBS schools to have five receivers with 35+ receptions (East Carolina and Hawai`i).
• Baylor is one of 14 NCAA Division I FBS schools which have played 20+ freshmen during the 2010 season. Baylor is tied for seventh nationally with 23 freshmen played, eight behind FBS leader Florida (31).
• Baylor will play 13 games in a season for the first time in program history.
• Baylor is one of only three NCAA Division I FBS teams among the nation's top 25 in both passing offense and rushing offense, joining Boise State and Tulsa.
• Baylor has 104 players on its 118-man roster than are from the Lone Star State (88.1 percent of its roster are Texans).
• Baylor is seeking its first eight-win season since 1991 (Baylor finished that season 8-4).
• Baylor's four conference wins are the most by the Bears in the Big 12 era.
• Baylor has scored 30+ in nine games this season -- a single-season school record.
• Baylor notable national stat rankings: 12th in total offense (478.50), 20th in passing offense (278.00), 23rd in rushing offense (200.50), 29th in scoring offense (32.58), 30th in sacks allowed (1.42) and 31st in passing efficiency (144.60).
• Baylor notable Big 12 stat rankings: 2nd in total offense (478.5), 2nd in passing efficiency (144.6), 2nd in sacks allowed (17), 3rd in rushing offense (200.5), 5th in passing offense (278.0), 5th in scoring offense (32.6), 5th in first downs (285), 5th in fourth-down conversions (55.0 pct), 6th in turnover margin (+0.17).
• Baylor is 35-for-44 in redzone opportunities this season -- 22 TDs, 13 FGs.
• Three BU receivers made catches in all 12 regular-season games -- Lanear Sampson, Terrance Williams Kendall Wright.
• 18 different players have caught passes in 2010.
• Six true freshmen and 17 redshirt freshmen have played this season (not as many as last year's 10 true and 15 redshirt freshmen that saw action): Ahmad Dixon, Sam Holl, Dominique Jones, Prince Kent, Tevin Reese and Tyler Stephenson.
• 10 Baylor football players earned All-Big 12 honors - QB Robert Griffin III (second team; honorable mention Offensive Player of the Year); DT Phil Taylor (second team); OT Danny Watkins (second team); IR Kendall Wright (second team); C Philip Blake (honorable mention); P Derek Epperson (honorable mention); RB Jay Finley (honorable mention); LB Antonio Johnson (honorable mention); PK Aaron Jones (honorable mention); and S Byron Landor (honorable mention). Briles earned honorable mention Coach of the Year honors.

• Briles was named the American Football Coaches Association's 2010 Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4.
• RG3 has set or tied 10 school records thus far this season, and two more are within reach.
• Griffin III ranks second on BU's career passing list with 5,767 yards and ranks 16th on BU's career rushing list with 1,511 yards.
• Griffin III ranks seventh nationally in total offense (315.50) and 28th in passing efficiency (144.23).
• Griffin III ranks third in the Big 12 in total offense, third in passing efficiency and fourth in passing yards (266.2).
• Griffin III has tossed 13 40-yard passes (10 for TDs), including seven 50-yard passes (six TDs) this season.
• Griffin III has accounted for 24 plays of 30+ yards in 2010, including 17 for touchdowns (15 pass, two run).
• Griffin III is 13-13 in 26 career starts as Baylor quarterback.
• Griffin III is responsible for 29 of Baylor's 46 offensive touchdowns (21 pass, eight rush) in 2010 (48 overall).
• Griffin III is the current Baylor career leader with a 64.0 completion percentage (minimum 250 attempts).
• Finley ranks second on Baylor's single-season rushing list with 1,155 yards (needs 34 to set new single-season record).
• Finley ranks fourth in the Big 12 -- and 26th nationally -- with 96.25 rushing yards per game.
• Finley has more than twice as many rushing yards (851) in the last six games than he did in nine games last season (370).
• Finley increased output from 59.8 yards per game (5.6 ypr) in four non-conference games to 114.5 (6.5 ypr) in eight Big 12 games.
• Landor ranks second in the nation among defensive backs behind Buffalo's Davonte Shannon (120) with 115 stops.
• Honorable mention All-Big 12 PK Jones ranks second nationally among freshman kickers with 19 field goals behind only Boston College's Nate Freese, who has 20 FGM.
• Jones owns the Baylor single-season record for FG made (19), FG attempted (26) and points for kickers (101).
• Jones has made more FGs (19) this season than Baylor made as a team in the last two seasons (six in 2008, nine in 2009).
• Jones has four successful half-ending FGs this season, including a pair of 50-yarders.
• Jones is tied for 10th nationally -- and third in the Big 12 -- in FGs per game (1.64) and 29th nationally in scoring (8.64 ppg).
• Epperson ranks second all-time in Baylor history with 49 career punts of 50+ yards.
• Epperson ranks 19th nationally -- and 3rd in the Big 12 -- in punting average (44.20).
• Wright has a catch in each game of his career (36 games).
• Wright, who ranks second in school history with 182 career receptions, needs two catches to become Baylor's all-time leader. He also ranks third all-time with 2,214 career receiving yards.
• Wright is tied for 34th nationally in receptions per game (5.50) and 48th in receiving yards per game (68.75).
• Wright is tied for ninth nationally among active FBS receivers with a reception in 36 consecutive games.
• T. Williams ranks sixth in Baylor history in career kickoff return yards (1,173), eighth in career kickoff returns (51) and eighth in career kickoff return average (23.00).

The 2010 Texas Bowl will be televised nationally on ESPN. Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Bob Griese (analyst), Chris Spielman (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter) will serve as the talent for the ESPN telecast. The game will also be carried live nationally on ESPN Radio with Todd Harris (play-by-play), David Diaz-Infante (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline reporter).

When Baylor faces Illinois in the 2010 Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium, the Bears will be playing their 65th game in the city of Houston. Baylor is 34-28-2 all-time in "The Space City," including a 2-1 mark in bowl games.

Baylor is 2-1 in Houston bowl games with all three previous appearances occurring in the now-defunct Bluebonnet Bowl. The Bears won the 1963 and 1986 Bluebonnet Bowls (lost in 1983).

The Texas Bowl will mark Baylor's second trip to Houston in 2010. In September, Baylor knocked off former Southwest Conference rival Rice, 30-13, at Rice Stadium.

The 2010 Texas Bowl will mark the 17th bowl appearance in Baylor football's 109-year history. Baylor (7-5) is 8-8 all-time in its previous 16 appearances and has not won a bowl game since the 1992 John Hancock Bowl, a 20-15 victory over Arizona in the last game of the Grant Teaff era.

It is also the eighth bowl game in the state of Texas for the Bears with Baylor 3-4 in its first seven in-state bowl appearances. Baylor is also making its fourth bowl appearance in the city of Houston; the Bears played in the now-defunct Bluebonnet Bowl three times -- 1963, 1983 and 1986.

Third-year head coach Art Briles is the seventh head coach to lead Baylor to the postseason, joining Bob Woodruff (1948 Dixie), Georgie Sauer (1951 Orange, 1954 Gator), Sam Boyd (1956 Sugar), John D. Bridgers (1960 Gator, 1961 Gotham, 1963 Bluebonnet), Grant Teaff (1974 Cotton, 1979 Peach, 1980 Cotton, 1983 Bluebonnet, 1985 Liberty, 1986 Bluebonnet, 1991 Copper, 1992 John Hancock) and Chuck Reedy (1994 Alamo).

Baylor is one of only three NCAA Division I FBS teams among the nation's top 25 in both passing offense and rushing offense, joining Boise State and Tulsa. Baylor is also one of the nation's most balanced offenses, running the ball 50.6 percent of the time, while passing the ball the other 49.4 percent. Baylor ranks 20th nationally in passing offense (278.00). Boise State ranks sixth nationally (319.42), followed by Tulsa in 16th (284.17). Baylor ranks 23rd nationally in rushing offense (200.50), while Tulsa ranks 15th (219.33) and Boise State 24th (200.08).

Boise State (519.50) and Tulsa (503.50) rank fourth and fifth nationally, respectively, in total offense. Baylor ranks 12th nationally (478.50) and second among Big 12 schools.

Baylor's high-powered offense, which ranks 13th nationally in total offense (third in Big 12) with 478.5 yards per game, has broken 12 school team records and 14 individual records so far in 2010, with several others within reach.

The Bears offense ranks 21st nationally in passing (278.0 ypg, fifth in Big 12) and 23rd in rushing (200.5 ypg, third in Big 12).

The Baylor offense needs 34 points in the Texas Bowl to set the program record for most points per game in a single season (32.64 in 1994). The Bears also need 28 pass completions, three passing touchdowns and three successful PAT kicks to establish new program records.

Sophomore QB Robert Griffin III enters the 2010 Texas Bowl against Illinois ranked second all-time in Baylor history with 5,767 career passing yards. Griffin III needs 229 yards to surpass J.J. Joe as Baylor's all-time leading passer.

Senior RB Jay Finley, an All-Big 12 and honorable mention All-America selection, nearly doubled his rushing output between non-conference and conference play in 2010. In four non-conference games, Finley rushed for 239 yards and one TD on 43 carries. Finley nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in the conference season alone, piling up 916 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 140 attempts.

Finley increased his rushing output from 59.8 yards (5.6 yards-per-carry) in four non-conference games to 114.5 yards (6.5 yards-per-carry) in eight Big 12 games.



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