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Baylor restarts after early-season break

September 15, 2012
dsp The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WACO, Texas (AP) - The Baylor Bears are ready to get things restarted.

Baylor unveiled its post-Robert Griffin III offense with a romping win over Southern Methodist two weeks ago, then had to take a break.

Baylor (1-0) returns to the field Saturday night against Sam Houston State (1-0), which played for the Championship Subdivision title last season.

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"After that first game, you're real excited ... you're ready to get back out there and get another one in," Baylor offensive lineman Troy Baker said.

Having a week off so early in the season likely created some frustration for a team and fan base excited to keep the winning going.

The break meant senior quarterback Nick Florence had to wait to keep showing that he can keep Baylor's offense humming just like Griffin did. And coach Art Briles had to push the pause button on proving he can keep winning even without a last season's Heisman Trophy winner.

"We were dealt those cards so that's what we are going to play," Briles said.

Florence was excellent in the first game, passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns against SMU, throwing deep balls over the top and keeping the offense moving. Florence threw touchdown passes of 50 yards to Tevin Reese and 36 yards to Lanear Sampson as Baylor rolled up 613 yards and scored at least 45 points for the fifth straight game. Terrance Williams caught seven passes for 138 yards.

Even though Sam Houston State plays in a lower division, Florence expects the Bearkats have no intention of rolling over against a Big 12 opponent. Sam Houston State expects to contend for the FCS national championship again this season.

Baylor expects an aggressive Bearkats defense to try to pressure Florence and hit him as often as they can. Keeping Florence upright and healthy will be a top priority.

"They attack. They bring the house," Florence said. "They know what they are doing, their confidence is high, and they have a lot to prove themselves. They're not a team to be taken lightly."

Sam Houston State coach Willie Fritz said he's impressed with Florence's ability to step in for Griffin without missing a beat.

"They really took up right where they left off last year," Fritz said. "He looked sharp and crisp."

Bearkats running back Timothy Flanders, who set Southland Conference season records for touchdowns (24) and rushing yards (1,644) last season, is the program's career rushing leader with 2,709 yards.