Baylor 48, Sam Houston St. 23

Nick Florence passed for three touchdowns and set up another

with a 60-yard run as Baylor needed a second-half rally to beat Sam

Houston State 48-23 on Saturday night.

Florence threw touchdowns to Jordan Najvar and Terrence Williams

in the third quarter as Baylor (2-0) erased a 20-10 halftime

deficit. His 60-yard run in the fourth set up Glasco Martin’s

5-yard touchdown after Sam Houston State (1-1), which plays in the

Football Championship Subdivision, had pulled within 24-23.

Florence passed for 312 yards. Williams had six receptions for

131 yards and two touchdowns.

Brian Bell passed for 285 yards for the Bearkats but also had

four turnovers. He fumbled to set up Baylor’s first touchdown in

the third quarter, then fell when taking the snap on fourth down at

the Baylor one in the fourth, spoiling a chance to take the

lead.

Baylor had a bye week after its season-opening win over SMU and

got a slow start against the upset-minded Bearkats, who played for

the FCS championship last season and clearly weren’t intimidated by

a Big 12 opponent.

After stopping a Baylor fake punt, the Bearkats dropped two

potential touchdown passes in the end zone before settling for the

first of Miguel Antonio’s three field goals that made it 3-3.

Bell led Sam Houston State on two long touchdown drives in the

second quarter. Bell scored on a 1-yard sneak and a 26-yard TD pass

to Tim Flanders that stunned the home crowd of 44,856 that was

still being treated to highlights of former Bears quarterback

Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman Trophy last season. Bearkats

cornerback Dax Swanson intercepted a pass intended for Williams at

the goal line at the end of the first half.

Florence passed for 269 yards in the first half, but the Bears

struggled to find any rhythm against an aggressive Bearkats defense

that had two sacks in the half and put him on the ground several

more times. Three Baylor drives in the first half ended in a missed

field goal, a failed fake punt and the interception in the final

seconds.

The Baylor defense made the play that turned the game around for

the Bears early in the third.

Terrance Lloyd sacked Bell, forcing a fumble that was scooped up

by Trevor Clemons-Valdez at the Sam Houston State nine. Florence

found Najvar wide open in the flat on the next play for an easy

touchdown that pulled the Bears within 20-17.

Baylor grabbed the lead at 24-20 when Florence found Williams

for their second touchdown connection. The throw split two

defenders and Williams tip-toed in the back of the end zone to keep

one foot in bounds for a legal catch.

The Bearkats bumbled away a big chance at the start of the

fourth quarter. Trey Diller’s 55-yard punt return set up the

Bearkats inside the Baylor 10. But on fourth down at the Baylor

one, Bell tripped and fell coming out of the snap, downing the ball

at the Baylor 5-yard line.

Baylor finally put the game away when Florence rolled to his

left, turned up field and got to the sideline to rip off his long

run that set up Martin’s 5-yard touchdown.

Lache Seastrunk scored on a 15-yard run and Darius Jones added a

73-yard interception return with 12 seconds left for Baylor’s final

touchdowns.

Baylor’s eight-game win streak is the second longest in the

nation.