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Fanfare

Bears take center stage

Sept. 30, 2011

Center Stage

Bears take center stage

Baylor football opened the 2011 season in style, defeating No. 14 TCU 50-48 in front of a packed house and a national ESPN audience on Sept. 2.

The Bears and Horned Frogs traded punches through an explosive first half before Baylor jumped out to a 24-point fourth quarter lead. TCU, however, came storming back to go on top 48-47 with 4:27 remaining. Baylor sophomore Aaron Jones nailed a 37-yard field goal with 1:04 left to give the Bears the lead once more, and an interception in the final seconds sealed the deal.

Center Stage

With national college football writers from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports all in the Floyd Casey press box, the story quickly became the top sports story of the night all over the country.

Senior receiver Kendall Wright and junior quarterback Robert Griffin III both stepped out on the national stage. Wright tied his own Baylor record with 12 receptions, set a new career high with 189 yards receiving, and even completed two passes -- one a 40-yard, first-quarter touchdown, the other a crucial 15-yard pass to Griffin (yes, Griffin) on third-and-10 that keyed the Bears' game-winning drive.

Griffin's impressive showing (21-of-27, 359 yards and a career-best 5 touchdowns passing, plus 10 carries for 43 yards rushing and that one crucial reception) boosted the quarterback to the forefront of early Heisman Trophy talk nationwide. Griffin made several national media appearances during the 24-hour period after the win, including a live interview on ESPN's College GameDay set the next morning in which host Chris Fowler declared the Bears' quarterback "a great ambassador for Baylor" and the show's stars agreed Griffin belonged in the national conversation.

The win also propelled Baylor from zero votes in the preseason AP poll all the way to No. 20 in the week two AP Top 25 -- the first time in at least 20 years any team had made such a jump. It marked the Bears' highest AP ranking since 1991.

For more from the game, including video highlights, photos and a complete round-up of accolades, visit www.baylor.edu/baylorproud and search "TCU".

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