In 2009, the Baylor Bears were in their 2nd year under head coach Art Briles, and about to start their second consecutive 4-8 campaign. It was the beginning of the journey towards respectabtility, past good and into dominance. That same year, Lamar began the arduous task of not just rebuilding a football program, but starting one from scratch. From 1980 to 2009, Lamar was without football. In 2010, both Baylor and Lamar started a new chapter in their football stories.
The Cardinals broke through last year with a 8-4 record, by far their most successful season in recent history. The Southland Conference members are 1-0 on the year, after drubbing Bacone College (NAIA) in the opener 66-3. Lamar will be coming to Waco looking for their second consecutive win over the Bears, following a shocking 18-17 win over Top-25 Baylor. Vengeance will obviously be on the mind of the Bears.
Lamar is a solid FCS team, who even with a good showing last year, were blown out by Texas A&M on the road early in the 2014 season. That 73-3 loss is probably a good starting point on expectations for the game this Saturday evening.
With a Top-5 offensive attack in FCS last year, Lamar could threaten to put some points on the board, but their defense should be severly overmatched by one of the best offenses in college football.
Players to Watch
Joe Minden - Quarterback
The DFW native started the Cardinals opener, but split time with backup Cason Earp. Minden is more of a passer, completing 16-of-20 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns in their 66-3 win over NAIA school Bacone College.
Reggie Begelton - Wide Reciever
Whoever is throwing the ball will have one of the better wide receivers in FCS to target. Begelton is the leading career receptions leader in Lamar football history, and is a 1st team preseason Southland Conference pick. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and above average speed. He will be a good test for the Baylor secondary.
Ronnie Jones - Linebacker
One of the top returning linebackers in the Southland Conference, Jones has good size for the FCS level at 6-feet tall and 235 pounds. He is stout at the point of attack and is a good tackler. Led the team with 99 tackles in 2014.
Keys to the Game
1. No Injuries - Lets just be honest here. This game will be a blowout. The Bears more than likely win very comfortably. The one thing that could really hurt is a significant injury. Get out of this game healthy and ready for the long run of 2015. Baylor got out of the Dallas game relatively healthy, with only Taylor Young questionable moving forward. Expect him to rest this week, even with practicing yesterday for the Bears.
2. An Effecient Russell - A 15-30 passing effort by Seth Russell was not a great start to the year from an effeciency standpoint. Yes, his receivers let him down on a few plays and had some drops. However, his ball placememt, and overall decision making still need to improve...especially on passes over the middle of the field.
3. Welcome Back Defense - Specifically, welcome back Shawn Oakman and Orion Stewart, two of the Bears most important players on that side of the ball. With their 1-game suspensions over, hopes are high that these two leaders can stay focused and on the field making big-time plays.
Massey Ratings – Bears win 59-14
RealTime RPI – Bears win 46-3
TeamRankings.com - No Prediction
Vegas Line - Baylor - No-Line
Staff Predictions COMING SOON!