Stephen F. Austin-Baylor Preview

Baylor opened its season with a thrilling upset, but coach Art

Briles’ plan was to ignore his team’s first game no matter the

outcome.

That could benefit the 19th-ranked Bears as they try to avoid a

letdown during their first matchup in 64 years with in-state

opponent Stephen F. Austin on Saturday night.

Robert Griffin threw a career-best five touchdown passes, and

Baylor scored 47 points in the first three quarters against

then-No. 14 TCU on Sept. 2. The Bears, though, also blew a 24-point

lead over the defending Rose Bowl champion before securing a 50-48

win on Aaron Jones’ 37-yard field goal with 1:04 to play.

After celebrating with a large portion of its home crowd, Baylor

(1-0) got an extra week to savor that victory, get healthy and hit

the reset button on its season.

“If you ask our guys what their record is, they’d say 0-0,”

Briles said. “We feel like our 2011 season starts this week against

SFA, and that’s been our plan all along.”

Griffin will try to build on a sparkling season debut – 359

yards on 21-of-27 passing and a key 15-yard reception to set up the

winning field goal – with a strong performance against the

Lumberjacks (1-1). The junior has thrown for more than 350 yards in

back-to-back games once in his career, against Kansas and Texas

Tech last October.

Stephen F. Austin enters this game ranked 13th in the FCS

coaches poll after a 34-23 home defeat to No. 2 Northern Iowa last

Saturday.

The Lumberjacks have been outscored 153-0 in three matchups with

Baylor, which enters with its highest ranking since being No. 16 on

Oct. 14, 1991.

This will be the Bears’ first home game as a ranked team since

Nov. 16, 1991.

“We’re going to play at a high level every game this season,”

running back Terrance Ganaway said. “We’re going to match the

intensity or maybe even exceed the intensity we played with

(against TCU).

“And when we do that, we get on a roll. And it’s hard to beat a

team that’s on a roll.”

Baylor could use another strong game from Ganaway, who had 120

yards and a touchdown in his second career start. The senior had

rushed for less than 300 yards in each of his previous two seasons

after gaining 550 as a freshman.

“Terrance did exactly what we thought he would do because that

was his preparation,” Briles said. “He prepared his mind and his

body followed. Talent’s never been an issue with Terrance; it’s

been mental structure.”

Kendall Wright also will try to build on an impressive

season-opening performance and extend his receptions streak to 39

games.

Wright’s 12 catches matched a school record – that he already

shared – and his 189 yards were eight shy of tying another mark.

The senior had two touchdown receptions and also was effective

throwing the ball. Wright opened the scoring with a 40-yard TD pass

to Terrance Williams, who had 126 yards receiving with two scores,

and connected with Griffin on the 15-yard play that set up the

field goal.

Wright needs 122 yards and two touchdowns to become the Bears’

all-time leading receiver in both categories. He already has a

school-record 206 receptions.

Sophomore Brady Attaway leads the Lumberjacks offense, having

completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 550 yards. However, he had

a career-worst three interceptions last Saturday after throwing for

a career-high four TDs in an 82-6 season-opening rout of Division

III McMurry.

Stephen F. Austin, seeking a program-best third straight FCS

playoff berth, is 2-10 against FBS opponents with its previous

victory coming at Louisiana-Monroe in 2003.

Baylor is 18-1 all-time against current members of the Southland

Conference and is playing against a team from that league for the

sixth straight season.