FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2016
Photos by Matthew Postins
WACO, Texas — The summer of 2016 is one the Baylor Bears would rather forget. Fortunately, the fall of 2016 looks like it might be one to remember as the Bears clobbered Northwestern State 55-7 in the 2016 season opener Friday night.
Baylor was rocked in the offseason by the fallout from a report that criticized the school’s handling of sexual assault reports on campus involving football players. That followed the conviction of two former players on sexual assault charges, and ultimately led to the dismissal of head coach Art Briles as well.
Briles was the architect of Baylor’s resurgence in football since arriving on campus in 2008. His firing brought an inglorious end to an otherwise stellar career at the school, and the rest of the summer was filled with doubts about the future of the program despite the hiring of Jim Grobe, who had success at Wake Forest in the ACC.
If the first game under Grobe is any sign, then Baylor just might turn out okay after all. Granted, Northwestern State is an FCS program and wasn’t expected to challenge the Bears, and that part went according to script. But even the Bears probably couldn’t have expected to be ahead 48-0 at halftime against the Demons.
That meant a short night for the Bears’ starters including quarterback Seth Russell who was making his return from a neck injury suffered in 2015. Russell and the rest of the Bears looked no worse for the wear after losing their coach in late May. Instead, they appeared to have already assimilated any differences in the Grobe system, and it could be that the Bears are ready to challenge yet again in the Big 12.
The next step in that process is Game 2 of the Grobe era Saturday at home against SMU. Northwestern State will try to get up off the mat at home Thursday night against Incarnate Word.
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