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Baylor notebook: Bears tighten longtime hold on Rice series

Baylor notebook: Bears tighten longtime hold on Rice series

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HOUSTON – They had to work for it, but the Baylor Bears maintained their mastery of Rice.

The Bears’ 21-13 victory over the Owls at Rice Stadium on Saturday night extended their control of the series to nine straight wins. Baylor hasn’t lost to the Owls since 1992, when Rice pulled off a 34-31 win in Houston while the pair were still Southwest Conference mates.

But Baylor coach Matt Rhule is impressed with the way Rice coach Mike Bloomgren is building the program.

“In a lot of ways, Rice deserved to win,” Rhule said. “You can see the job Coach Bloomgren is doing there.”

Baylor now leads the all-time series 50-30-2. At 82 games, it’s the fourth-most played series in program history, behind only TCU (114 meetings), Texas (108 meetings) and Texas A&M (108). Baylor has also played SMU 82 times.

Baylor has a winning record against the Owls in both Houston (28-20-2) and in Waco (22-10). The Bears have also had a recent run of success in the city of Houston, as Saturday’s win was their third straight in H-Town. They won the Texas Bowl over Vanderbilt at NRG Stadium last December and defeated the Owls, 38-10, at Rice Stadium in 2016.

Baylor’s last loss in Houston came in 2010, in a 38-14 humbling to Illinois in the Texas Bowl.

MOB tweaks Baylor with routine

The Rice Marching Owl Band (MOB), which describes itself as the university’s “infamously irreverent non-marching marching band,” took a shot at Baylor’s LGBTQ stance with its esoteric halftime show.

The band formed the outline of a Bear, performed a Star Wars-like lightsaber battle, then ended its routine by spelling out the word “Pride” while students holding rainbow flags joined in. Baylor has been in the news this year for its denial of a charter for LGBTQ student groups, as it “affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality,” according to an official university statement.

It’s hardly the first time the band has poked fun at its in-state rivals. Last weekend when Rice played Texas, the MOB spelled out “2.89,” a reference to UT’s team grade point average. In Baylor’s last trip to Houston in 2016, the band formed the words “Title IX,” following the fallout from the school’s sexual assault scandal.

Going two different directions

It was certainly a tale of two halves for the Bears.

In the first half, Baylor amassed 326 yards and three touchdowns while collecting 16 first downs. But it was a much different story in the second half as the Bears totaled 101 yards, four first downs and no points.

“For our offense, it was frustrating,” said Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer. “We couldn’t capitalize on a lot of drives. We’ll get it corrected, though. At the moment, it’s obviously a little frustrating not playing too well. But a win’s a win. We’re 3-0 heading into conference.”

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