The Baylor Bears got the victory last night over the Northwestern State Demons, but it came on a night in which Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III took a hit and had to be helped off the field. Griffin eventually returned to the field, boosting the confidence in his teammates, and leading them to a lead the Bears would never relinquish.
Without starting running back Jay Finley (ankle), the Bears went with a two headed monster involving redshirt freshman Jarred Salubi and sophomore Terrance Ganaway. The decision paid off. Salubi rushed 7 times for 131 yards including a 76 yard touchdown run that got his hometown Waco fans on their feet.
"For me, it feels really great to play in front of a Waco crowd," says Salubi, who was a standout running back at Waco High School.
"I have been playing here for, well, this will be my 6th year. So it is a real motivation to come out here on the field in Waco to show people how good I am."
On the touchdown play, Salubi took the ball, started right, found a hole, cut back left and outran everyone to the endzone on a dazzling play. Salubi describes the run in his own words.
"At first when I was breaking it, I was kind of like, 'Okay, I got this'. But at the end, I had the ball kind of awkwardly on my chest, so I really couldn't run as fast as I could. Then I couldn't see him anymore, and he is behind me. I am thinking, 'Man, I hope he doesn't catch me'. He caught a hold of me a little bit, but I just made sure I got into the endzone. I was not going to not get into the endzone."
Ganaway rushed 7 times for 43 yards, and also found the endzone 3 times on the night.
"This wasn't my best game," said a humble Ganaway.
"This won't be my best game here at Baylor. The thing is, we have got to get better and improve every week. We have got to learn how to break more tackles, and just run more physical. We have got to punish the defense a lot more, and then our offense will get rolling. That will get us the momentum to carry to special teams and to defense."
The Bears totaled 567 total yards on offense, and 284 yards came through the air. Robert Griffin went 13-19 for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns, in just one half of play. Backup quarterback Blake Szymanski also contributed going 3-5 for 58 yards, and a touchdown strike to true freshman wide receiver Willie Jefferson.
Eight different Baylor players recorded a reception, including the game's leading receiver, sophomore Kendall Wright. Wright led the way catching 5 passes for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior David Gettis hauled in 4 receptions for 85 yards including one spectacular diving touchdown reception in the back of the endzone.
The Baylor defense held the Northwestern State offense to 248 yards of total offense, as the Bears also scored twice on interception returns for touchdowns. On the first, senior defensive lineman Jason Lamb found himself in the right place at the right time as Demon quarterback Tyler Wolfe tried to get rid of the ball under pressure. Lamb picked it off and ran it 25 yards to paydirt. The Bears' second interception return for a touchdown came from true freshman defensive back Chance Casey.
"It felt kind of natural. I turned around and the ball was there. I went up, caught it, and then from there, I don't know, I took over I guess," said Casey.
Casey, a converted offensive player, says that making the switch to defense was challenging in the beginning, but is settling in his role at defensive back.
"At first it was kind of a pretty hard transition. I am used to running forward, and not having to basically run backwards. But I am liking it. It is a lot more fun than I thought it would it be. I am enjoying it a lot though."
Baylor was led by senior linebacker Antonio Jones who had 9 tackles on the night, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 quarterback hurry. Jones talked about the game.
"It was good to get the victory." said Jones.
"This was our first win at home this year. We had to clear last week, and get prepared. We knew the team that was coming in this week was going to come in with a lot of emotion. We just had to do what we had to do to keep our composure, and keep fighting as a team. That is what we did, and we got the victory.
With the win, the Baylor Bears move to 2-1 on the season and face Kent State next week to closeout their non-conference schedule.
Baylor Beats Down Demons, 68-13
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