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Loss shows BU still needs work

Nov. 10, 1998



Sports Writer

and Sports Editor

Saturday's football game at Floyd Casey Stadium was a matchup between a team in the process of rebuilding and a program whose construction is finally complete. Baylor, hosting No. 2 Kansas State in front of thousands of returning alumni for homecoming, showed why they are still a work in progress, losing 49-6. Meanwhile, the fully renovated Wildacts are now 9-0 and ranked No.1 in the nation.

If the Kansas State Wildcats are supposed to be a blueprint for Baylor football, the development crew for the Bears still has plenty of work to do.

In Bill Snyder's first season as head coach for Kansas State in 1989, the Wildacts finished 1-10. The next two seasons, Snyder used a weak non-conference schedule and solid recruiting to improve tht team's record to 5-6 in 1990 and 7-4 in 1991. Nine games into Baylor head Coach Roberts' second season, the Bears stand at only 2-7. However, Baylor's road to improvement has included much better opponents.

'We're making so much progress, which is tough to see with the schedule being so hard,' Roberts said after Saturday's game. 'But I'm very proud of this team.'

Roberts can't be proud of Baylor's first two possessions of Saturday's game, though. The Bears committed two turnovers and lost senior offensive guard Kelvin Garmon for the season with a broken tibia.

On Baylor's opening drive, Baylor quarterback Jermaine Alfred got hit from the blind side by linebacker Travis Litton and coughed up the ball on Baylor's 11-yard line.

Odell James came in to quarterback Baylor's second possession and threw an interception to linebacker Mark Simoneau after reaching the 50-yard line.

The Wildcats converted both turnovers into touchdowns in only 51 seconds of posession and led 14-0 just 3:31 into the contest.

'That sure is some way to start off a football game,' Roberts commented sarcastically.

Although the Bears' chances of winning were squashed in the first few minutes, they provided some of Kansas State's toughest competition of the season. Baylor rushed for 138 yards--double the Wildcats' average for the season. The Baylor offense also provided big plays from James, tight end Andrew Obriotti and fullback Anthony Overstreet, who had a career-long 43-yard rush in the first quarter.

The Bear defense held well in the second and third quarters, but finally broke down as Wildcat quarterback Michael Bishop completed 17 of 29 passes for 262 yards.

'We focused so much on stopping the run, and we were pretty decent at it,' said linebacker Kris Micheaux. 'But then, they hit us with a couple big pass plays. After that, it's hard to keep your enthusiasm up.'

Despite the score, Baylor coaches and players felt the game was close.

'We basically gave them 28 points that they didn't earn,' claimed cornerback Gary Baxter. 'Nikia Codie (Baylor safety) and I each had two interceptions that we dropped, which could have turned it around for us.'

'Minus the turnovers and mistakes, that's about as well as we can play,' Roberts said. 'Now, we've got a good feel for what the No. 1 team is all about. They're good, but now it's time to close the gap, keep building and get better.

Codie was proud of the team's performance and likes their chances the rest of the season. 'We played a good game against a good team,' he said. 'We have taken some strides forward, and I think we can beat Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the next two weeks.'

Baylor's last home game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Oklahoma Sooners.

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