BU, TCU keep longtime rivalry alive
By Tyler Alley
The Bears will try to break 14th-ranked TCU’s 25-game regular season winning streak tonight on ESPN in their first home game of the season.
“It’s exciting,” quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “National TV- it’ll be a good stage for both football teams. We’re looking forward to it. It’ll be a good game. Our fans are looking for some excitement and a victory. Their fans are looking for some excitement and a victory.”
The Bears looks to redeem themselves after their disappointing 45-10 loss to the Horned Frogs last season. TCU’s defense boasts one of the few defenses to hold Griffin under 200 passing yards. Griffin had 164 passing yard and a touchdown against TCU last season.
“I think last year we were highly motivated, we were extremely hyped,” Griffin said. “That was our downfall last year. This year it’s more of a sure confidence. We know on offense what we’re doing is going to be successful. On defense they know what they’re doing is going to help slow down a lot of offenses and even shut down some.”
As an offense, Baylor only had 263 yards total to TCU’s 558 yards. Head coach Art Briles admitted that he, along with his team, needed to execute better to win this game.
“I was not very good last year,” Briles said. “We were not very good schematically and did not very perform very well as a football team. So consequently, we had a face and there was dirt there, and next thing we knew we found our face in the dirt there.”
Briles also acknowledges that the team never gave up and scored a touchdown in the third quarter being down 38-3.
“But last I checked we didn’t roll over and die,” Briles said. “We’re not going to ever because we’re breathing, we’re fighting, and we’ll be breathing Friday night at 7.”
Baylor’s offense returns this year after losing three key players. Danny Watkins was drafted in the first round, leaving a hole at left tackle Bears’ offensive line. However, sophomore Cyril Richardson moves over from left guard, where he made four starts as a redshirt freshman and earned Big 12 All-Freshman honors.
Briles had nothing but praise for his offensive line.
“They’re really doing a great job, and that’s an area we really have to be dominant at,” Briles said. “We can’t just be good, we can’t just be better than average, we have to be great and we have to be dominant. And those guys have got to be very passionate, very intelligent, very tough, very mean and very aggressive,”
Another hole in Baylor’s offense from last year comes at the running back spot. Jay Finley leaves after a season in which he totaled 1218 yard and 12 touchdowns. In his place, senior Terrance Ganaway earned the starting spot at tailback.
“We’ve always pushed Terrance to be the guy because he’s a 240-pound running back who runs like he’s 190 pounds. The biggest thing was getting him to run like a 190-pounder but realize [he’s] got 50 extra pounds in that butt that you can go run people over with and he’s done that,” Griffin said.
Receiver Josh Gordan’s dismissal from the team creates the final hole. Briles said the passing game will not suffer, but actually improve.
“We do have good receivers,” Briles said. “We feel good about the guys we’re playing. We have some people I think are going to step up and really play well for us this year— Lanear [Sampson], Terrance, Tevin Reese needs to have an outstanding year. Kendall will be one of the top four or five in America, no doubt”
Briles also talked about extending the passing game.
“The thing that’s going to help us this year is mixing in our tight ends, which we haven’t done as much in the past,” Briles said. “[Jerod] Monk and [Jordan] Najvar-those guys are prototype NFL players. [They are] 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, can run and catch and really create some different matchups from an offensive standpoint.”
TCU’s defense lost six starters from last year’s unit, but still has All-American linebacker Tank Carder anchoring a defense that ranked first in yard allowed and points allowed last season.
“They’re real good on the defensive side of football,” Briles said. “ They have a lot of guys who have a lot of confidence in what they re doing, and when you believe in what you’re doing lot of times you do it pretty well.”
Baylor’s defense looks to contain the Horned Frogs’ 10th-ranked rushing offense. The Bears’ defense finished 104th in yards allowed, but new defensive coordinator Phil Bennett brought an attitude and intensity that was missing before.
“I have a lot of confidence [in our defense],” junior cornerback Chance Casey said. “The way coach Bennett has been coaching us [by] just getting after us any time we mess up has shaped us into a defensive squad where we know where we’re supposed to be we know our fits and if we go out line up execute and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be a really, really good defense.”
The defense looks to prove itself against TCU after giving up five touchdowns in the first half.
“We’re motivated a lot,” Casey said. “Coach Briles has been saying all camp, all month, this is a grudge match. [We’re] just going out doing to TCU what they did to us last year.”
TCU brings new quarterback Casey Pachall to the starting spot after star Andy Dalton graduated. There is no telling how good he’ll be as he has only attempted nine passes.
Either way, the Bears have a tough test to open the season, but the team is prepared and ready to go.
“I mean it’s great,” Griffin said. “If you needed motivation to get ready in the summer, you definitely have it. We’re not playing a lesser school. We’re playing TCU, No. 14 team in the nation. Our job is to go out and execute. They have a good team coming back. We’re looking forward to playing.”