Baylor Bears Make a Statement

If you wondered whether the Baylor Bears were going to be any good this year, after Friday night’s game there should not be any doubts.

Teams that are brave enough to schedule a tough opponent for their first game of the season have one goal in mind when doing so—they want to make a statement that the entire college football world is going to here.

After Friday night, whenever the Baylor Bears roar you better believe there will be people listening.

Baylor quieted the naysayers Friday night by defeating the No 14 ranked TCU Horned Frogs in a shootout that would make the Wild West proud. They needed a late field goal to do it, but in the end the Bears came out on top, 50-48.

Quarterback Robert Griffin showed why his name should at least be in discussion for the Heisman trophy with an incredible performance against a tough TCU defense. On the night, he was 21-27 for 359 yards and five touchdowns.

"It's big to show we can come out and win a game like that," Griffin said.

With a stat line like Griffin’s, it would be reasonable to think that the team was putting an emphasis on the pass; that’s why his stats were so high. That could not be further from the truth. Baylor actually ran the ball nine more times than they passed it (36 runs to 27 passes). Running back Terrance Ganaway had 24 carries for 120 yards and one touchdown.

The Bears defeated No 22 ranked Kansas State last year, but prior to that had not defeated a ranked opponent since the 2004 season. TCU had not lost a regular season game in what was an NCAA best 25 games.

"This is a good win for us against a quality opponent," coach Art Briles said. "But we've got nine TCUs coming up."

The next four opponents are not exactly in the same class as TCU (Stephen F. Austin, Rice, Kansas State, and Iowa State), but for a team like Baylor that is on the rise no team can be overlooked. That being said, it would not be out of reach for the Bears to be undefeated when they hit the meat of their schedule in mid-October.

Last season they were 4-1 after their first five, the lone loss a 45-10 drubbing by TCU.  They lost a close one to Texas Tech before winning three in a row against Colorado, Kansas State, and Texas.  

In 2010, the challenging part of the schedule came at the end when they played three ranked opponents, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. All three ended up being losses.

This year that stretch starts on October 15 with No 8 Texas A&M, continues with No 9 Oklahoma State on October 29, and then No 21 Missouri on November 5.

How they survive that stretch will dictate the overall image of success for Baylor’s 2011 season, but the big worry right now is not the Aggies or Cowboys. It’s the next team on the schedule.

When the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks watch the Baylor/TCU film on Monday you better believe they’ll hear the Bears roar.
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