By Tyler Alley
Baylor football looks to turn its season around against the Missouri Tigers at 6 p.m. Saturday in Floyd Casey Stadium.
The Bears hope to feed off the homecoming crowd and remain undefeated in home games this season.
“It definitely helps,” head coach Art Briles said. “I think that’s why they call it a home field advantage. When you’re at home, you certainly have to take advantage of the home field because the surroundings are familiar, the crowd is supportive and you don’t have to alter your snap count. It allows you to, especially on the offensive side of the ball, work at a rate speed that you’re comfortable with.”
Baylor’s past two games have been rough. The Bears lost to Texas A&M 55-28 in front of the fourth-largest crowd at Kyle Field, and a hostile crowd at that. After a much-needed bye week, Baylor traveled to Stillwater, Okla., and was blown out by the No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys 59-24.
Baylor allowed more than 600 yards of total offense to both teams, and 35 points in the first half alone to the Cowboys.
“Well I’m sure you saw, but we made a few mistakes out there,” junior safety Chance Casey said. “We let a really good team put a bunch of points up on us, and we helped them to do that. We’ve got to cut that out. We can’t make mistakes and allow them to take advantage of that.”
Missouri, on the other hand, has great momentum heading into this contest. The Tigers pulled off an upset over the No. 16 Aggies 38-31 in overtime. Missouri scored 14 straight in the fourth quarter.
“They’re a good team, just all around,” junior quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “They’ve had games where they’ve thrown the ball well, and they’ve had games where they’ve run it extremely well. I didn’t get to watch the game, but I think against A&M they ran the ball extremely well. We know that we’ll get different looks, but what they’ve done so far they won’t completely go away from, and that’s playing hard, playing fast and playing physical.”
The last time these two teams met was Nov. 7, 2009, in Columbia, Mo. Baylor came back from a 27-16 halftime deficit to upset the Tigers 40-32. Then-true freshman Nick Florence passed for the previous school-record 427 yards and three touchdowns. Missouri leads the all-time series with Baylor 11-2.
Missouri’s offense is largely about the run, with running back Henry Josey leading the attack. Josey gained 162 yards and a touchdown.
“He can run,” Briles said of Josey. “He’s a good back. With him and [quarterback James] Franklin back there, it really fits the style of offense that they like to play. Those guys are dangerous when they do a good job and they keep you honest on the defensive side of the ball because they spread the field on you with their speed and with their schemes.”
Baylor needs to improve its goal line and general short-yardage play to compete against Missouri. The offense was stuffed multiple times on fourth-and-1’s against the Cowboys.
“Everything’s smaller. You’re not playing with a huge field, the defense, the safety’s no longer at 10 yards, they’re at four or five yards,” senior running back Terrance Ganaway said. “Everybody’s creeping in. They’ve got the guys in the backfield trying to make a big play, trying to make a big stop. You’ve just got to execute: no turnovers, no penalties in the red zone.”
Junior wide receiver Lanear Sampson said the team was glad to be surrounded by the home crowd once again after a long time away from Floyd Casey.
“It’s definitely going to be good being back home,” he said. “We only had one home game this past month so it’s just going to be good getting in front of our crowd and just being able to feel comfortable on our home turf and defend it against Missouri. “
The will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Network.