7:05 PM ET, October 11, 2008
Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, TX
WACO, Texas -- Baylor freshman quarterback Robert Griffin was still on the ground after taking a crushing blow from a blitzing linebacker when he heard the cheers.
While Griffin never saw Kendall Wright catch the ball in the back of the end zone, that was only the start of a night to savor for the Bears.
Griffin was 21-of-24 passing for 278 yards with two touchdowns to Wright, ran for another score, and Mikail Baker returned the second-half kickoff 93 yards to the end zone as the Bears beat Iowa State 38-10 Saturday night. The win ended a 13-game conference losing streak for Baylor.
"I haven't been here for the losing streak, but now it's a winning streak," Griffin said.
At this time last year, Griffin and Wright were still playing high school football. And coach Art Briles was still at Houston.
They have accomplished in only two games what the Bears hadn't done in two years, since October 2006, by winning a conference game.
"I didn't know anything about it," Wright said.
Senior cornerback Dwain Crawford certainly did.
"We've got a new foundation and are working toward the right thing," Crawford said. "It's good to go out and get that losing streak out of the way. ... Hopefully it will carry us through the Big 12 season."
A week after losing to No. 1 Oklahoma in their Big 12 opener, the Bears (3-3, 1-1 Big 12) never trailed Iowa State.
On fourth-and-12 from the Iowa State 34 in the first quarter, with linebacker Jesse Smith charging toward him, Griffin released the pass just before being slammed hard to the ground. But Griffin's high-arching pass dropped into Wright's arms in the back of the end zone.
The officials used replay to confirm Baylor's first score, when Wright secured the ball while falling and landed with his knee just inbound.
"We felt like all along we have a good football team, and maybe we're starting to show it a little bit," Briles said. "We're are starting to climb up to that level. ... Now we've got to keep it going. We can't take a step backward."
The .875 completion percentage by Griffin is a Baylor record, and second-best in Big 12 history for a minimum of 20 attempts behind Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, who went 21-of-23 (.913) in a game last season against North Texas. Griffin has thrown nine touchdowns without an interceptions, and also has rushing TDs in six consecutive games, the longest Baylor streak since 1995.
Also, Baylor has gone four consecutive games without a turnover for the first time in team history.
The Cyclones (2-4, 0-2) will have to wait three more weeks for another chance to break their 13-game road losing streak that dates back to the 2005 season.
"I don't really have a word to describe [this game]. Just bad football," coach Gene Chizik said. "We weren't clicking. We weren't in synch anywhere."
Iowa State was coming off a 35-33 loss against No. 16 Kansas in which the Cyclones blew a 20-0 lead a week after an overtime loss at UNLV.
Arnaud, the only experienced quarterback left after backup Phillip Bates quit the team this week, was 21-of-41 for 176 yards.
Wright, who had seven catches for 132 yards, added a 51-yard score in the fourth quarter. He caught the pass in the right flat, came to a near stop along the sideline at the 40 and cut across the field. With Griffin among his blockers, Wright dived into the end zone near the left pylon.
Jay Finley's 12-yard touchdown run and Griffin's 4-yard run capped consecutive long scoring drives for Baylor in the second quarter for a 21-3 lead.
In between those Baylor scores, Iowa State needed 17 plays to go 47 yards for Grant Mahoney's 34-yard field goal. And that doesn't even include six penalties for 40 yards in a span of 14 snaps after the Cyclones reached the Baylor 12.
There were false start penalties on consecutive plays before Mahoney kicked a 22-yard field goal. But when Baylor roughed the kicker, the Cyclones took the ball at the 2, only to be penalized three more times in five snaps before Mahoney kicked again.
"That drive was very costly in a lot of ways," Chizik said.
Baylor responded with a touchdown, and then came Baker's kickoff return after halftime.
"Baker's kickoff return ignites the team, ignites the crowd and really separates us," Briles said. "It kind of let us think if we take care of business, we can finish this deal out."
And they did.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-15||3-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||3-3|
|TD||05:43||Kendall Wright 34 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin (Ben Parks Kick)||0||7|
|TD||14:18||Jay Finley 12 Yd Run (Ben Parks Kick)||0||14|
|FG||05:36||Grant Mahoney 34 Yd||3||14|
|TD||01:41||Robert Griffin 4 Yd Run (Ben Parks Kick)||3||21|
|TD||14:42||Mikail Baker 93 Yd Kickoff Return (Ben Parks Kick)||3||28|
|FG||03:01||Ben Parks 36 Yd||3||31|
|TD||12:14||Kendall Wright 51 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin (Ben Parks Kick)||3||38|
|TD||09:41||Sedrick Johnson 9 Yd Pass From Austen Arnaud (Grant Mahoney Kick)||10||38|