By Krista Pirtle
While the Baylor football team was offensively dependent last year with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, this year’s team is co-dependent on offense and defense.
“When you have a team around you and it’s not all about you, you can do a lot of things,” senior quarterback Nick Florence said.
This chemistry lifted the Bears from a 10-point deficit at the half to a 48-23 win over Sam Houston State University.
“When we came in at half time, no body was worried,” junior tight end Jordan Najvar said. “Everybody was positive.”
Florence finished the night leading the Bears to 544 total offensive yards, going 24-41 for 312 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
A 60-yard run can also be tacked onto his name.
“Well I just wanted Glasco [Martin] or [Jarred] Salubi to score,” Florence said smiling. “I ran out of gas. I wish I would have scored but I got caught. I thought, ‘If I get to the three, I can leave my feet.’”
Baylor head coach Art Briles joked that he was confident in Florence’s abilities but he wanted 85 yards instead.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore linebacker Bryce Hager led his team with 10 tackles, keeping it together when the Bears struggled to stop the Bearkats.
“In the first half we played down to their level,” junior nickel back Ahmad Dixon said.
Offensively, Baylor got on the board first with a 33-yard field goal by junior Aaron Jones, making him Baylor’s all-time scoring leader in program history, passing Alred Anderson’s career total of 220 points with 230 points of his own.
Eight minutes later, Sam Houston proved that even though it can’t spell its mascot’s name correctly, it could be a force in the ball game, tying the score at three.
The Bearkats would go on to take the lead the first possession of the second quarter with another field goal, making the score 6-3.
Baylor fought back immediately with a 22-yard pass to senior wide receiver Terrance Williams to go up 10-6.
Sam Houston answered with a touchdown of its own, a one-yard quarterback run to the end zone.
“We didn’t have quite as much energy as we needed,” Briles said. “They have quite a bit of depth for an FCS school.”
The Bears came out for the second half fired up and ready to go after sitting in a locker room full of teammates encouraging each other.
“We all knew,” Florence said. “Not a lot was said [in the locker room.] The good thing about our team is that no one pointed fingers.”
What the team did do, however, was take the blame on itself.
“We will fix it,” Dixon said. “We knew it was on us. We took over in the locker room, too. We all motivated each other.”
The Bearkats only scored three points the entire second half while Baylor rolled for 38.