- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

Friday

No. 4 Baylor (11-2 in 2014) at SMU (1-11 in 2014), 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Baylor by 35

Series Record: Baylor leads 37-36-7

WHAT’S AT STAKE



Playoff hopeful Baylor getting off to a good start, and back in a game for the first time since that meltdown New Year’s Day, when the Bears blew a 20-point lead to lose to Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. The Bears have won 11 straight against former Southwest Conference rival SMU, which plays its first game for new coach and Texas native Chad Morris.

KEY MATCHUP

Shawn Oakman and Baylor’s experienced defensive line against SMU offensive line that returns intact. The Mustangs allowed their four quarterbacks to get sacked 48 times last season, but there is a new offense with dual-threat quarterback Matt Davis set to start. Oakman had 10 of Baylor’s 37 sacks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Baylor: Seth Russell, like Bryce Petty and Nick Florence before him, had to wait his turn to be the starting quarterback. In his lone start last season when Petty was hurt, Russell passed for 438 yards and five touchdowns playing only the first half against Northwestern State. The Bears have had a quarterback with at least 3,500 yards passing five seasons in a row, starting with Robert Griffin III in 2010.

SMU: QB Matt Davis, recruited by then-Clemson OC Morris before going to Texas A&M; as a freshman, had 1,270 total yards over the SMU’s final five games last season. He had the top two rushing games for an SMU QB, 191 and 181 yards.

FACTS & FIGURES

Morris was a Texas high school coach for 16 seasons, including 2003-07 at Stephenville, where Baylor’s Art Briles won four state titles as coach from 1988-99. … This is the eighth time in nine years SMU opens a season with a non-Saturday game. … Baylor is 15-3 against instate schools the past four seasons, winning the last eight.

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