Stephen F. Austin-Baylor Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- 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.
Updated September 13, 2011