7:00 PM ET, August 30, 2003
Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, TX
WACO, Texas (AP) -- Forget the doctor's wishes. Darrell Hackney had a football game to win.
Instead of staying on the sideline as advised because of his swollen left knee, UAB's sophomore quarterback returned after missing a series to throw a 50-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left and give the Blazers a 24-19 win over Baylor on Saturday night.
"I got hurt, but I wasn't going to stay out as long as I could get in," Hackney said. "I knew they would be coming after me because I was limping."
Hackney needed just two plays after Baylor failed to get a first down and punted with 1:02 left. He hit Roddy White for 30 yards on the first play and then, with Baylor blitzing, threw a strike to freshman Nick Coon streaking down the middle of the field.
"That was a gutty performance," UAB coach WatsonBrown said.
Hackney, who hit 13 of 29 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns, was hurt when somebody rolled on his leg after an incomplete pass. He will have the knee examined Sunday, just four days before the Blazers play their Conference USA opener against Southern Mississippi.
A play after Hackney was helped off the field, Baylor's Todd James blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety. The Bears then drove for Kenny Webb's 21-yard field goal and a 19-17 lead with 6:08 left.
Freshman Chris Williams took over for Hackney on the next UAB drive, but after a 16-yard pass, the Blazers were stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Baylor 35. The Bears only got one first down before punting the ball back.
UAB's comeback spoiled the debut of Baylor coach Guy Morriss, who left Kentucky for a team that has won just 17 games the last seven years. The Bears finished last season with six straight losses.
"It was tough, but I was proud of the kids for the fact they didn't quit," Morriss said. "We were teetering there for a bit in the third quarter, not sure which way to go, and then we rallied. Their guy makes a perfect strike. We're disappointed, but I saw a lot of promise."
Baylor was 3-9 last season, the losses coming by an average margin of 45-7 after a season-opening 70-22 loss at California.
Freshman Bo Moncur ran for 136 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries for the Blazers (1-0). Coon was on the field for just three plays, and his only catch was the game-winning TD.
Baylor's football opener came just two days after a campus memorial service for basketball player Patrick Dennehy, but there were no references made about him.
The only mention of the men's basketball program after a summer of tragedy and scandal was the introduction of new coach Scott Drew at halftime. There were loud cheers when the former Valpo coach led the crowd in Baylor's "Sic Em' Bears" chant.
A former teammate has been indicted for murder in Dennehy's shooting death. A school inquiry found major NCAA violations that led to the resignations of coach Dave Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton and a self-imposed two-year probation against the basketball team.
Baylor drove 80 yards in nine plays on its opening possession, taking a 7-0 lead when Karas hit Robert Quiroga for a 10-yard TD. On their second drive, the Bears gained 65 again before Karas fumbled.
UAB then scored 17 straight points, going ahead 17-7 when Moncur scored on a 2-yard run with 5:10 left in the third quarter. That came just three plays after a 15-yard personal foul penalty gave the Blazers a first down instead of fourth-and-5 from midfield.
The Blazers tied the game at 7-all when Hackney threw a 4-yard TD pass to Dan Burks with 10:21 left in the second quarter to end a 44-yard drive on which Moncur had a 33-yard run. UAB led when Nick Hayes kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
After Hackney's two-pass TD drive, Baylor had one more chance. Karas' fourth-down pass from the UAB 45 on the final play of the game dropped incomplete in the end zone.
"We were so close to turning it around, it just kills you," Karas said. "It was a tough loss, but a year ago we would have quit. We're going to come back and work our tails off."
Hackney became UAB's starter in the fifth game as a freshman last season, and threw for 1,977 yards and 14 touchdowns while battling through several injuries.