Not the First Time Bears/Bulls Have Met

The Baylor Bears and Buffalo Bulls are starting to get to know each other, this being their third meeting dating back to only 2007. We take a look back at the first two contests.

Conventional wisdom suggests the Buffalo Bulls will not be ready for the Texas heat when they stroll into Central Texas on Saturday, but this is not the first time the Bulls and the Baylor Bears have matched up early in the season, and it won't be the last. Buffalo is scheduled to host the Bears on September 13 next year, where the Bears will have to do their own adapting to a different climate. And as for previous meetings? The Bears and Bulls have squared off twice before in 2010 (under then first-year and now fourth-year head coach Jeff Quinn) and in 2007. We take a look back at those games to see how Baylor was able to prevail.

2010

When the teams met in 2010, Robert Griffin III was entering his 2nd game back from the previous season's knee surgery, and the expectations for the Baylor program at the time were mixed. The Bears had defeated Sam Houston State soundly (34-3) in the first game, but many were ready to see what he would do against FBS competition.

In typical Griffin style, all he did was go out and throw for a then-career high 297 yards, which included an astonishing 230 in the first half alone, as the Bears built a 27-3 lead. The Bears would go on to win the game 34-6, and give Griffin the 4th quarter to rest his knee.

Baylor fans can probably guess who led the way in receiving - Kendall Wright had 5 receptions for 128 yards and a 61 yard TD, and he was followed by Terrance Williams who had 6 catches for 68 yards. What Baylor fans might not recall is the 43 yard toss for a TD from Griffin to current Houston Texans DE/OLB Willie Jefferson.

Running the ball, senior Jay Finley touched the ball 13 times for 76 yards, and then-junior Terrance Ganaway was only given one rush through the first half, and finished the game with 4 rushes for 11 yards.

Perhaps the biggest change from the Bears of 2010 to what fans saw this past Saturday was the number of punts. Derek Epperson lined up for 7 punts on the day, averaging almost 49 yards a kick. In fact, Baylor's first 3 possessions went like this: punt, FG, punt. Spencer Roth, Baylor's current punter, had 36 punts all of last season, which equates to less than 3 per game.

Coming into that game, Baylor fans worried about Buffalo QB Jerry Davis, who threw for 4 TD's in the previous game. Against the Bears, he was only 18 of 46, for 163 yards, 0 TD's, and 1 INT (Baylor's Mike Hicks made the pick). The Bears ultimately gave up 325 total yards, most of them coming late when the game was decided.

2007

Looking back at the 2007 game, Baylor fans will definitely feel the blast from the past. The Bears ultimately won the game 34-21 on the road, but were helped greatly by 5 Buffalo turnovers which allowed Baylor to get control of the game after only leading 10-7 at the half.

Baylor was, of course, under a different coaching regime, and standouts in this game included Blake Szymanski (3 TD's, 1 INT), Jay Finley (80 rush yds) and Brandon Whitaker (TD rec). Szymanski struggled through the air going 21 of 45 for 172 yards, but added a huge 91 yards rushing himself to lead the Bears. His targets other than Brandon Whitaker went to Justin Akers (7 rec, 74 yd), Krys Buerck (2 rec, 20 yd, 1 TD) and Ernest Smith (2 rec, 14 yd) among others. NFL wide receiver David Gettis was on the team, but recorded no receptions and only 1 kickoff return for 18 yards.

Defensively, Jordan Lake and Nick Moore both had an interception, as the Bears gave up 363 yards (mostly through the air) to Buffalo.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, that would be Baylor's last win that season. After handling Rice, Texas State, and Buffalo, the Bears would not fare well in the Big 12 that year, and following the season, Athletic Director Ian McCaw went looking for now head coach Art Briles. You do not need this column to remind you how much things have changed since then.


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