A time to reminisce: seniors prepare for their last first game

PUSHING FORWARD Senior offensive lineman Kyle Fuller charges through the defense during the game against Rice University at McLane Stadium on Sep. 26, 2015. The Bears cruised past the Owls, 70-17. Photo Credit: Sarah Pyo, Editor-In-Chief

Jordan Smith | Sports Writer

The roar of the crowd gets louder and louder as you head out of the locker room right before the big game. The goosebumps run up and down your arm’s you feel the intensity of the situation. You stand at the end of the tunnel with the field in sight. Just before you run out of the tunnel, everything is silent. You reflect on how you got to this point in your football career. The moment comes. You run out onto the field to the thunderous roar of the crowd. You are participating in your first season opener as a Baylor Bear.

For a select group of senior football players, this will be the last time they will participate in a season opener. Others will head to the NFL to pursue a career in football, and some Bears will stop playing football after this season and go on to pursue a career with the degree they have been working on for the past four years.

While the future is not yet set for senior quarterback Seth Russell, the upcoming Baylor game will be his first game back since his season-ending neck injury last October. However, when he steps out onto the field Friday night, it will also be his last season-opening game at Baylor.

“Definitely just going out there and playing with the guys that have been, you know, grinding through it all,” Russell said when asked about his favorite moment.

When asked what it means to him to be a Baylor Bear, he responded quickly.

“Being a Baylor Bear is just consistency, always knowing that people are going to doubt you, and it’s your job as a person at this university to prove those doubters wrong and just show that what we do is we do it at a high level, and we do it with the best character possible,” Russell said.

Offensive lineman Kyle Fuller‘s journey through Baylor has had a little bit of a twist. He is a fifth-year senior, and in his first year, he did not play even one game. Fuller red-shirted in order to retain his eligibility. However, since then, he has not looked back. He now has 39 games under his belt, the most games played on the active roster. Fuller started in 26 of those games, tying for most on the active roster.

A moment that sticks out for Fuller during his time here at Baylor happened last season in Orlando, Fla.

“I think one of my favorite moments was definitely winning the Russell Athletic Bowl last year,” Fuller said. “That’s always a big thing right there, and then Johnny going through and setting that record. That’s probably one of my favorite moments. We all get to carry that; we all get to own that.”

However, Fuller knows that to get back to that position, he cannot take his focus off of the next game.

“Looking forward, I’m taking it a week at a time,” Fuller said. “So, one that I’m definitely going to enjoy is the first game. That’s the one that I’m looking at right now, and that’s how you have to look at it. You’re never really just promised games down the line. So you definitely just have to look at the one coming up.”

As these Bears enter into their last first home game, they will be adding to the legacy they will be leaving not only in McLane Stadium, but also in Baylor history.

The first game of the season is against Northwestern State 6:30 p.m. Friday at McLane Stadium.