ACC: Jay Finley

Baylor proves it's a better team than it was a year ago

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
8:52
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
AP Photo
Baylor QB Robert Griffin takes a snap during the first half of a 24-14 win over Wake Forest Saturday.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A young fan wearing a Wake Forest T-shirt walked up to a player after the Demon Deacons’ 24-21 loss to Baylor on Saturday and asked for an autograph – Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin’s autograph.

As the Demon Deacons spent their postgame press conference trying to explain their four turnovers, Griffin and his teammates posed for photos and signed programs for fans as if they were on their home field. It was an entirely difference scenario from a year ago, when Wake Forest beat Baylor 41-13 in Waco, and that’s because those within Baylor’s program say this is a different, more confident and experienced team in the second season under coach Art Briles.

The Bears flew across the country and earned a win against a respectable Wake Forest team, and it reinforced what they already knew about themselves – they’re pretty darn good.

“This isn’t even our potential, I don’t think,” said defensive end Jason Lamb. “We still had a lot of mistakes, a lot of penalties. I know we’re a lot better than this. Getting a win against a pretty good ACC team, I mean, it’s not really a surprise to any of us. It’s kind of what we were expecting to do. We’ve just got to carry that out the rest of the year. It’s a different Baylor.”

Much of that has to do with the maturation of Griffin, who is only a sophomore, but he’s hardly their only answer. The defense also did a good job of flushing Riley Skinner out of the pocket and forcing him into three interceptions. Jay Finley rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries, and receiver David Gettis had five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.

“I came in this year trying to get the guys around me more involved, letting everybody see them shine instead of me shine,” said Griffin, who finished with 136 passing yards, 41 rushing yards, and one passing touchdown. “If I have to do some things out there, then I’ll do them, but for the most part, I’m just looking to let other guys make plays and allow myself to feel the flow of the game. The pressure’s not on me.”

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Greetings from Wake Forest

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
1:29
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Hello from Wake Forest, the smallest school in the BCS, where an eight-win season has suddenly become a disappointment.

It’s still a pretty quiet scene here, and game day traffic on Cherry Street consisted of the stoplights, but it’s still a cozy atmosphere and will eventually pick up considering a) it’s a beautiful, warm, sunny day for a football game, b) it’s a legitimate opener for both programs, and c) it should be a much closer game than last year’s 41-13 Wake win at Waco. Baylor returns 19 starters, the school’s most since 1969, and the Bears should be much better in Year 2 under Art Briles.

The jersey of choice here is obviously No. 11, Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner, but the spotlight is on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, a.k.a. RG3. The Wake defense also needs be leery of No. 32, tailback Jay Finley. He led Baylor with 865 yards (72.1 per game) last year.

The biggest question, though, is obviously how Wake’s defense will look against them without its superstars.

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