Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Plenty left to play for at Baylor
By David Ubben
Robert Griffin III and Baylor look to bounce back from their last-minute loss to Kansas State.
Baylor had to be a little shocked. A nine-point lead evaporated in less than six minutes and featured the first Robert Griffin III interception since Nov. 20, 2010, a span of nearly 10 months.
Kansas State 36, Baylor 35.
The program's highest ranking, No. 15, since 1991 was gone and a trip home to Waco, Texas from Manhattan, Kan. awaited.
"Everybody was upset after the game, but we have to clear that and get back to the positive," senior receiver Kendall Wright said. "That’s what you have to do, clear it and get back to practice this week and the game this week."
How does that happen?
"Put the video of Iowa State on the screen," Baylor coach Art Briles said.
Iowa State doesn't bring a top-15 ranking to Floyd Casey Stadium like the season-opening opponent, TCU, brought. The Cyclones do bring their own distress and anger after being blanked 34-0 in the first half of what they hoped would be a historic day in Ames on Saturday.
"Anytime you play in the Big 12, anytime you step on the field, you know it’s going to be a tough, tough football game," Briles said. "We have to load up and get ready just like everybody else in the league."
Iowa State has proven it can be a dangerous team already this season, handing rival Iowa its only loss so far. The Cyclones also knocked off Big 12 North champion Nebraska in Lincoln in 2009 and beat Texas last year a week after the Longhorns beat then-No. 5 Nebraska.
"I’m sure at practice this week it’ll be way more intense," Wright said.
Baylor's dream beginning to its season is over, but big things could still await.
Win Saturday, and trips to face Big 12 title contenders Oklahoma State and Texas A&M wait. Nothing would help wipe away the memory of Saturday's loss than solidifying the Bears status in 2011 as the best Baylor team in Big 12 history, one Briles described Monday as "determined and tough."
For all the frustration of Saturday's loss, the Bears still have Griffin and Wright, two of the best at their position that could help Baylor make a big-picture dream a reality. Wright has two more catches than any Big 12 receiver, 145 more yards and is tied for the national lead with seven touchdown catches.
Griffin still leads the nation in passer rating (230.33) and touchdown passes (18).
"Robert is a beast. He makes plays that most quarterbacks can’t make and he has the stats to prove it," Wright said. "It’s amazing. And Robert, he’s just a leader out there on the field. He’s a field general and makes sure he leads us with his arms or his legs."
Baylor may not have the four wins it wanted at this point in its season, but it still has hope.