No. 17 Baylor looks to go 3-0 against Rice
By Tyler Alley
Baylor’s nonconference schedule will end Saturday with old Southwest Conference rival Rice (1-1).
“I have a lot of respect for them,” head coach Art Briles said. “I know [Rice head coach] David [Bailiff] really well. He’s an outstanding coach; he’s got a great résumé coaching throughout the years. He’s done a great job there at Rice. They’re just a very intelligent, scrappy football team that knows what it’s doing on both sides of the ball. “
The Bears head into this game ranked 17th in the AP polls, their highest ranking since 1991. While winning this game would help Baylor in the rankings, Heisman candidate and junior quarterback Robert Griffin III and company are simply taking it one game at a time.
“What we’re trying to do is look at it as its own game,” Griffin said. “Don’t add up the wins until the end of the year. Right now the slate is clean. We’re going into a round of 0-0 and Rice is the team we have to beat. So that’s the way we look at it, and then after that, you guys can add up the wins and say it’s 3-0.”
Griffin currently leads the nation in passing efficiency and ranks third in total offense. Griffin’s favorite target, senior inside receiver Kendall Wright, ranks second in the nation in receiving yards per game. Against Stephen F. Austin, Wright’s 123 yards receiving made him Baylor’s career leader in receiving yards.
“It’s good,” Wright said. “Coach wanted me to get it that game so we can just forget about. So we did what we had to do to get it and move on to the next week, and just get ready for the next game and what we have for the rest of the season.”
Saturday will be the third time Baylor has faced the Owls since the SWC disbanded. Baylor has won the last five meetings against Rice. In last year’s game, the Bears won 30-13 despite a 67-minute rain delay. Griffin passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns with his favorite target once again being Wright, who caught seven passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Terrance Ganaway rushed for 79 yards on eight rushes. On the season, Ganaway has 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards a carry, and looks to add to those stats against a Rice team he’s not overlooking.
“Rice is a good team,” Ganaway said. “They’re a lot better than the way we played last week. We’re going to look at film, see what we can do, draw up the schematic plans for the game, and then we got to go out there and execute.”
Ganaway heads a corps of running backs that has almost 300 rushing yards on the season, not counting Griffin’s 116 rushing yards. Junior Jarred Salubi and sophomore Glasco Martin, as well as Ganaway, all added touchdowns against SFA.
“They all are going to feed off of each other,” Briles said. “They’re all different and bring different things to the table, but they all have to produce and be productive when they’re on the field, and that’s the main thing. All those guys are good football players, and I have confidence in all of them.”
Baylor hopes to build momentum and confidence from this game heading into conference play.
“The thing about momentum, it shifts back in forth,” Ganaway said. “As long as we’re playing good ball and we’re doing what we’re capable of doing, we’ll be all right. We expect to go out there and play a dang good game this weekend and not be as flat we started last weekend. The momentum thing will come. We’ll worry about playing Rice and go from there.”