8:05 PM ET, September 6, 2003
DENTON, Texas (AP) -- Six possessions, six turnovers, a streak that ended only when the quarterback took a knee to end the first half. The second half began with a botched kickoff, setting up the first of five straight touchdown drives.
This was ugly, even by Baylor's standards.
The Bears lost to North Texas 52-14 Saturday night, giving new coach Guy Morriss a stunning realization of just how much rebuilding he must do with the Big 12's most beleaguered program.
Baylor (0-2) lost on the road for the 31st time in 32 tries -- and at the site of the only victory in that span. The Bears have dropped 15 straight away from Waco. This also was their first loss to the Mean Green (1-1) in 12 tries.
"It's a step backwards," said Morriss, hired from Kentucky after a nice turnaround in two years there.
"I thought we'd come out and play a more mistake-free style of football than we played tonight. We've been talking about that type of stuff. I emphasized it during the course of the week. I thought the kids understood where we were coming from and would get it to work for them. Obviously, somewhere along the way, we didn't get it communicated very well."
One week after blowing a lead against Alabama-Birmingham in the final minute, Baylor never led and was never even in the game.
The Bears' first drive ended with quarterback Aaron Karas fumbling and 315-pound defensive tackle Brandon Kennedy returning it 24 yards for a touchdown. The next series ended with John Martin fumbling after making a catch for a first down at the North Texas 19.
Patrick Cobb took the next snap 81 yards for a touchdown. Then the Mean Green turned an interception into a 32-yard field goal. Another fumble and two more interceptions followed. The streak ended when Karas took a knee to run out the final 18 seconds of the half.
"Nobody can overcome six turnovers," Morriss said. "I told the kids at halftime we were fortunate to be down only 17 because we'd done everything wrong in the book."
Well, almost everything.
The Bears gave away the opening kickoff of the third quarter when nobody fielded a high, short kick. As it went bouncing toward the end zone, North Texas' Johnny Quinn jumped on it at the 13. Roy Bishop ran it in from there two plays later to make it 24-0.
A similar kickoff followed and Baylor caught it this time. But the offense went backwards 12 yards in three downs, forcing their first punt. Bishop capped the ensuing drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. He scored from the 1 later in the quarter.
Kevin Moore had a 2-yard TD run early in the fourth, then Mitchell scored one play after a blocked punt. North Texas' final drive was the only time it didn't score in the second half.
Baylor scored on a 9-yard pass from Karas to Jonathan Evans after a blocked punt midway through the third quarter that made it 31-7. The Bears added a 1-yard touchdown run from Anthony Krieg in the closing minutes.
Baylor's Rashad Armstrong had 89 yards on 18 carries, only one in the second half, to end his streak of consecutive 100-yard games at four.
Playing before a record home crowd of 29,437, UNT scored its most points since 1993, two years before returning to Division I-A. It was their most against a I-A team since 1968, when Mean Joe Greene was a senior.
North Texas was coming off a 37-3 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma in its opener. If the Mean Green are 34 points worse than the Sooners but 38 points better than the Bears, then Baylor could really be in trouble when it plays in Norman on Nov. 15.
Cobbs ran for 131 yards on 10 carries, then left after aggravating a thigh injury sustained in the opener. Bishop had 107 yards on 19 carries and freshman James Mitchell had a 28-yard touchdown run on his first career carry.
UNT finished with 327 yards rushing and another 124 passing.
"We really wanted to throw the ball more, but we had so much success running we were able to wear them down," said Mean Green coach Darrell Dickey.
North Texas, the two-time reigning Sun Belt champions, beat a Big 12 team for the third time since returning to Division I in 1995. The Mean Green beat Texas Tech twice.
Their series against Baylor dates to 1922. UNT was shut out in five of the previous 11 and never came closer than four. The Bears had never scored fewer than 20 points.