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First Look: Baylor Bears vs. Wofford Terriers

This Saturday, a mere 4 days away, the Baylor Bears begin their season with the Wofford Terriers of FCS at FCS. Featuring a relatively unique offense, the Terriers are primed for a huge upset.

We have like 5 pictures of Wofford players.
We have like 5 pictures of Wofford players.
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

RV/RV BAYLOR (0-0) vs. NR/NR WOFFORD (0-0)
Aug. 31, 2013 | 6:30 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000)

Listen | GametrackerGametracker | Game NotesNotes | Tickets | In-Game BlogSportStream | Gameday Central

It's finally that time again: the time to put away thoughts of the long season about to unfold and focus all our attention on the enemy at our gates.  From Spartanburg they come, anxious for a chance to prove their mettle against a Big 12 opponent in our stadium.

OPPONENT: Wofford Terriers
2013 MEDIA GUIDE: Downloadable/Viewable .PDF
LAST SEASON RESULTS: 9-4, lost in FCS Playoffs to North Dakota State
2012 STATISTICS: Overall, Individual, and Game-by-Game
Baylor vs. Wofford Game Page

These two teams have never played before.  Wofford is a member of the Southern Conference in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision.

Wofford's 2013 Schedule

Date Time Opponent Location Time/Result Details
8/31/2013 6:30 pm CT Baylor University Waco, TX 6:30 pm CT Details
9/7/2013 6:00 pm The Citadel Charleston, SC 6:00 pm Details
9/14/2013 7:00 pm Georgia Southern University Spartanburg, S.C. 7:00 pm Details
9/21/2013 7:00 pm Gardner-Webb University Spartanburg, S.C. 7:00 pm Details
10/5/2013 1:30 pm Presbyterian College Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 pm Details
10/12/2013 1:30 pm Elon University Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 pm Details
10/19/2013 3:30 pm Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC 3:30 pm Details
10/26/2013 1:30 pm Samford University Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 pm Details
11/9/2013 2:00 pm University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN 2:00 pm Details
11/16/2013 1:30 pm Appalachian State University Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 pm Details
11/23/2013 12:00 pm Furman University Greenville, SC 12:00 pm Details

Wofford's 2012-2013 Statistics

Sadly, the venerable does not have any statistics for Wofford since 1936, so we'll have to use the NCAA's database to find out a bit more about them.  Here are their rankings for the 2012-2013 season, by conference and in the entire FCS.

Category National
Actual National
Actual Conf
Conference Leader
Rushing Offense 2 349.69 Ga. Southern 399.36 2 Ga. Southern 399.36
Passing Offense 121 51.00 Old Dominion 393.85 9 Elon 296.73
Total Offense 41 400.69 Old Dominion 548.23 3 Ga. Southern 466.86
Scoring Offense 43 28.85 Old Dominion 45.15 4 Ga. Southern 34.50
Rushing Defense 23 125.00 Harvard 69.40 1 Wofford 125.00
Pass Efficiency Defense 22 115.99 N.C. A&T 97.88 2 Samford 109.88
Total Defense 9 305.92 North Dakota St. 234.47 1 Wofford 305.92
Scoring Defense 7 16.62 North Dakota St. 11.53 1 Wofford 16.62
Net Punting 23 37.59 UC Davis 41.36 4 Appalachian St. 40.77
Punt Returns 49 8.41 N.C. Central 24.50 3 Citadel 12.80
Kickoff Returns 85 18.96 UC Davis 26.35 9 Furman 25.05
Turnover Margin 24 .54 Richmond 2.00 3 Samford .82
Pass Defense 23 180.92 Norfolk St. 136.55 5 Elon 156.91
Passing Efficiency 38 135.74 Cal Poly 175.71 4 Appalachian St. 152.03
Sacks 55 2.00 Harvard 4.20 7 Samford 2.45
Tackles For Loss 49 6.15 Mississippi Val. 8.91 3 Appalachian St. 6.42
Sacks Allowed 12 1.00 Citadel .18 3 Citadel .18

A bit more about Wofford, individually--

If you've followed the board the last few days, you probably already know most of what I'm going to tell you.  I'm still going to say it all again.

Wofford as a team runs the triple option, a relatively unique offense nowadays that was once all the rage.  The triple option is a rushing-based offense, almost exclusively, as you can see by the fact that Wofford racked up almost 9 times more rushing yards in 2012 than they did passing.  On first downs, the disparity was even bigger at almost 10.  They had 1 game in 2012 with more than 8 passing attempts, and 7 with more than 60 rushing attempts.  They basically went Baylor vs. UCLA on their entire schedule, the entire season, using a defense that was good against both the run and the pass to take the ball away, and an offense predicated on the idea that they were going to run it at you, over you, and around you to score their points.  They are not an up-tempo team like we typically see in the Big 12, and they are quite comfortable winning games in the 20s, if need be.

My guess, as I've said before, is that Wofford will attempt more passes against Baylor than you saw in most of their games last season, probably as a way to catch us somewhat off guard.  We've seen it in the scrimmage videos I've posted over the last few weeks, and their coach has basically said as much.  At QB, they lost their starter from last year -- Brian Kass -- to graduation, and the three returners vying for playing time (that I talked about a bit last night) combined to play in 11 games total last season.

In addition to Kass, Wofford also lost their primary RB, Eric Breitenstein.  All he did last season was average over 150 yards rushing per game and put up 2035 yards total, good for second in the entire FCS.  They are replacing Breitenstein's production, since there's no way they could replace his amazing beard, by bringing back FB Donovan Johnson (499 yards in 2012), Cam Flowers (217 yards), and Octavius Harden (117 yards) as their primary starters at this point.  To say that losing Breitenstein is a blow to their offense is to delight in understatement, is kind of my point.  To make things worse, as nearly as I can tell, they are replacing 2 starters, possibly 3, from last year's offensive line.  Their top returning receiver-- Jeff Ashley-- had 17 catches in all of 2012, or as many as Terrance Williams had against West Virginia. That led the team.  He's back, and he's ready to sell you some insurance and tell you about Jesus.

Without going too far into things in a First Look, stopping the Triple Option is simultaneously extremely simple and extremely difficult.  It's simple because everyone has a responsibility that, if followed, can bottle up the play.  It's difficult because those responsibilities often run counter to the instincts of the singularly important defensive player -- the read.  If the read, most often the defensive end on whichever side the offense wants to run to, forgets his assignment and goes after the ball, as his instincts tell him to do, the option can be frighteningly efficient.  If, instead, he does what he is supposed to do on each play, it's not quite so dangerous.  But the Triple Option at its core is designed to make the defense choose something while still retaining with the offense the option to do something else.  If run well, it's a beautiful system to watch.

On the other side, Wofford features as close to a true 3-4 defense as we'll probably see this year.  Their entire team is basically a throwback to the SWC from 1974, and I love it.  Their defensive ends are both relatively small for 3-4 ends, and their NT tops out at 290 pounds.  Their top two returning tacklers are both linebackers, Mike McCrimon and Alvin Scioneaux.  Scioneaux also led the team last year in sacks with 7.  They are joined in the linebacking corps by first-time starters, but experienced players, in Kevin and Travis Thomas.  I don't know if those two guys are related, but I hope they are.

Tonight on the podcast, we'll go more deeply into Wofford and what we can expect this weekend.  Until then, if you have specific questions I can answer, throw them down into the comments and let's get it going!  I'll also add more to this as we go through the day.