BAYLOR 24, WAKE FOREST 21: Bears hold on for wild win to open ’09 season

by dentonramsey

BAYLOR 24, WAKE FOREST 21: Bears hold on for wild win to open ’09 season

By Denton Ramsey, Big 12 Fans Baylor Correspondent

WACO, Texas – The Baylor Bears kicked off the 2009 season on the right foot on Saturday afternoon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, taking care of business on the gridiron in a 24-21 road victory over Wake Forest.

Sophomore sensation Robert Griffin had a superb showing, going 15-for-24 with a touchdown and no interceptions in his ’09 debut.

“We think we have guys that can play. We think we have guys that can run. Robert [Griffin] throws the ball well,” Baylor Head Coach Art Briles said following the Bears victory. “I don’t know what his stats were but early in the game he was on and just did an outstanding job. We have people that when we put on them on the field and give them the space, they make plays for us.”

After taking a 10-7 lead into halftime, the Bears came out hot in the second half – quickly turning an interception into seven points as Baylor built a 10-point lead before striking again midway through the third quarter to take a 24-7 lead en route to a 1-0 record.

“We made it a little more interesting than it needed to be,” Briles said. “I really thought our guys, for the most part, played good enough to dominate this football game. We just didn’t put them away when we had the opportunities to do so. Wake had some good things happen, with the fumble and with the blocked field goal late in the game. The thing I’m proud of is that now, instead of bad memories, we have good memories to start off with.”

Briles knows best; and good memories is probably an understatement for these young and energetic Bears. Regardless of what you want to call it, Baylor’s defense came to the rescue in the closing moments of the game and helped preserve a three-point victory on the road.

“It’s hard to win at home and it’s very hard to win on the road, especially when you come into someone’s place and they have a four-year returning starting quarterback and their stadium is full,” Briles said. “From that standpoint it’s a huge win for us and for our program.”

A highlight of the game came at the 5:07 mark in the third quarter when the Bears used a trick play, with Griffin tossing the ball to Ernest Smith – who then connected with a wide-open Lanear Sampson for the Baylor touchdown and a 17-point lead.

In addition to Griffin’s TD pass to David Gettis to open the game and a 22-yard field goal by Ben Parks to close out the first quarter, Kendall Wright also picked up a rushing touchdown – chasing daylight in a 37-yard run shortly after Baylor’s defense picked off the ball to begin the third quarter.

After a bye-week next week, the Bears return to the gridiron on Saturday, Sept. 19 against Connecticut for Parent’s Weekend – with kickoff slated for 4:00 p.m. at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium.

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at