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Bears look for home victory over SMU

Sept. 12, 2003

By Matt Richards, reporter

The Baylor Bears face the Southern Methodist University Mustangs at 6 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium.

After consecutive losses against the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of North Texas, the Bears are looking for their first victory of the season.

The match-up is the 77th between the two with SMU holding a 36-33-7 advantage over the Bears. Baylor has won the last seven consecutive meetings but has not played the Mustangs since leaving the Southwest Conference. The two teams met last in 1995 with the Bears winning 48-7.

The Mustangs have struggled as of late, dropping their season opener last week at Texas Tech 58-10. The football program continues to be in a rebuilding mode under second-year head Coach Phil Bennett. Under Bennett - a Texas A&M University graduate and former Kansas State assistant - the team has struggled to a combined 3-10 record. Over the last two years, SMU has won a total of seven games.

A player to watch for the Mustangs may be senior running back Keylon Kincade. Kincade rushed for over 1,200 yards last season and was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. The Mustangs will look early and often to establish a strong running game with Kincade.

The turnover battle will be a key for either team. Both SMU and Baylor have struggled to avoid turnovers. Last week, SMU turned the ball over four times against Texas Tech and Baylor had seven turnovers against UNT.

Several players on the team are looking to rebound from last week's game. The main player may be junior quarterback Aaron Karas who threw for only 116 yards and three interceptions last week.

Head Coach Guy Morriss replaced Karas late in the second half with red shirt freshman quarterback Shawn Bell. Despite the tough game, Karas still ranks second among Big 12 passers with 2,661 yards.

The Bears' defense struggled in the past two games, allowing 476 yards. They allowed a 5.8 yards per rush average to UNT last week. Defensive coordinator John Goodner looks to rally his defense before facing the Mustangs' Kincade.

Youth could be something else to watch for in the game. Sophomore wide receiver Jay Fields, true freshman Dominique Zeigler and true freshman defensive end Marcus Foreman all saw substantial playing time last week. The only positive that coach Morriss mentioned after the UNT game was the play of his underclassmen.

One constant for the Bears this season has been the play of senior running back Rashad Armstrong. Armstrong ranks second in the Big 12 and 18th in the nation with an average of 120.5 yards per game. He narrowly missed gaining more than 100 yards in four consecutive games last week against UNT but left the game because of bruised ribs.

The Bears continue their two game home stand next week against Sam Houston State University. Kickoff for that game is set for 6 p.m.