Baylor Bears Look Towards 2nd Half of Season

The Baylor Bears (3-3,0-2) host the #15 Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-1, 2-0)in Baylor's first home conference game of the season. The Baylor Bears will play in front of a homecoming crowd marking the 100th Homecoming for Baylor University.

The Baylor Bears are looking for a better second half of the season than what they saw in the first half. Season-ending injuries to sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin III and senior defensive back Mikail Baker severely hampered the Bears. Losing starting corner back Antareis Bryan to an injured leg (return date undetermined) and starting running back to Jay Finley to a severe ankle sprain didn't help the cause. But even with injuries to key players, the Baylor Bears are confident in their abilities as a team to play for one another and Baylor University, and to have a successful second half of the football season.

"They [Oklahoma State offense] have been good for awhile. The last 2 or 3 years, [Oklahoma State quarterback] Robinson is the key. He's the guy that makes it go for them. In my opinion, going into the season, he was an underrated quarterback in the conference," said Briles about facing the Cowboys' offense.

The Baylor Bears come into the game after a road loss against Big 12 Conference foe Iowa State. The Bears, 24-10 losers in that contest, head home for the first time in conference play this season. "There are just so many times you can beat yourself up," Briles said of the loss to Iowa State.

"You got to move on and find something else. It's not easy, it's not fun, but if it was, there might be more people doing it. It's part of our trade, it's part of what we do, so, you got to fight through, live through, and sustain through," added Briles.

"We feel like we are starting fresh. We have had 6 games behind us; we got 6 in front of us. 3 out of the 6 are at home, and one at a neutral site. So, we have a favorable schedule coming in. But, it all starts and ends this Saturday against Oklahoma State because we don't have the luxury to look past. We just have to look present. Our job, our motto, what we are doing, we are just trying to win each play. If you win that play, let's go to the next one and win it. Add them up at the end of the game, and if you have more than the other team, you have a good chance to win the football game. So, that is where we are kind of at as a team," Briles stated.

Without Robert Griffin III out for the season, Baylor has utilized both true freshman quarterback Nick Florence and senior quarterback Blake Szymanski. Who the starting quarterback will be on Saturday is a question yet to be determined. Florence who started in the Bears victory against Kent State and in the conference loss to Oklahoma has completed 59.5 percent of his passes. The true freshman quarterback, who started 3rd on the depth chart before the season started, has thrown 1 touchdown and 1 interception, while he has added 70 yards rushing and 2 scores. Szymanksi, a senior signal-caller from Wichita Falls, holds Baylor single-season records for passing yards (2,844), pass attempts (461) and touchdown passes (22). Szymanksi has complete 60 percent of his passes for 323 yards on the season. In his only start in 2009, the senior quarterback threw 3 interceptions against Iowa State last week. On the defensive side of the ball, junior defensive back Tim Atchison is confident in his team's ability to be successful in the 2nd half of the season. Atchison, who recorded his first interception of the season last week talked about how that play developed.

"They tried to get me to bite up on a curl and run the inside receiver up the seam. But I didn't bite on it, and the defensive line ended up getting good pressure on him, and he put a lot of air under the ball and threw it right to me."

Atchison explains that the slate is wiped clean as the Bears prepare to tackle the remaining 6 games on their schedule.

"We came into the season with big, big hopes. We have been plagued by injuries, but I don't think we need to let that affect any of our goals. I feel like we have plenty of people in place to win games. I don't think there is a team left on our schedule that we cant go out and compete with, if not beat. I think that's the way we need to go in every week thinking about it."

From this point forward, the junior cornerback echoed Coach Briles' sentiments about winning every play.

"We need to focus on everyone doing our own job on every play. Stop the stupid penalties, and I think we will be fine."

The Baylor Bears will look to get their first conference win of the season in front of a homecoming crowd. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m.

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