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Know Thy Foe: Baylor Bears

UCF faces Baylor in its first Big 12 home game

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Allstate Sugar Bowl - Baylor v Ole Miss Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s another historic weekend for the UCF Knights (3-1, 0-1 Big 12), as they play their first home game against a Big 12 Conference opponent.

That opponent is someone vaguely familiar from a historic UCF moment in the past: The Baylor Bears (1-3, 0-1 Big 12).

Here we go:

Week 4: Baylor Bears

Kickoff: Saturday, September 30, 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: FBC Mortgage Stadium

TV: FS1 — Eric Collins (PxP) and Devin Gardner (analyst). Same crew as in the Kent State, Boise State, and Kansas State games

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game — Marc Daniels (PxP), Gary Parris (analyst) and Scott Adams (sideline)


Series: UCF leads, 1-0

Last Meeting: 2013 — UCF 52, Baylor 42 in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl

Ah yes. Let’s enjoy that one more time:

About the Bears

Last Season: 6-7, 4-4 in the Big 12. The Bears started 6-3, but dropped their last three regular season games to ranked opponents (#19 K-State, #4 TCU, and #23 Texas), and then lost to Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl

This Season: 1-3, 0-1 in the Big 12. The Bears opened with a loss to Texas State, and their only win was against FCS Long Island.

Last Week: Lost to #3 Texas at home, 38-6

Last Big 12 Championship: 2021

Baylor Team Stats 2023

Category Offense Big 12 Rank FBS Rank Defense Big 12 Rank FBS Rank
Category Offense Big 12 Rank FBS Rank Defense Big 12 Rank FBS Rank
Rush Yards 139.8 10th 85th 171.2 Last 104th
Pass Yards 265.0 8th 46th 204.8 7th 49th
Total Yards 404.8 9th 61st 376.0 12th 78th
Points 20.0 Last 114th 26.8 Last 82nd
FBS rankings out of 131 teams | Big 12 rankings out of 14 teams Source: NCAA
  • Baylor won 10+ games in four of eight seasons under Art Briles (including an 11-2 mark the year they lost to UCF).
  • But since Briles’ firing after a horrendous sexual assault scandal in 2015, the Bears have been through three coaches (including former Temple coach Matt Rhule) and recorded only two 10-win seasons since.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Baylor v Ole Miss
Baylor head coach Dave Aranda
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Head Coach

Dave Aranda

4th year | 21-19 | 2021 Big 12 Coach of the Year

Aranda came to Baylor after serving as LSU’s defensive coordinator from 2016-2019, leading the Tigers’ defense in their 15-0 national championship season. He then took Baylor to the Big 12 title in his second season.

Aranda is known as a defensive whiz. Although reports say he runs a 3-4, that’s really a misnomer. His main obsession has been finding ways to stop spread offenses (He even has a coaching video series on that very subject) by employing a more or less position-less defensive scheme that emphasizes speed. Prior to LSU, Aranda coached Wisconsin’s defense to three consecutive seasons in the FBS top-10 in total defense.

Key Players

Baylor RB #29 Richard Reese
Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Offense: RB Richard Reese

5-9 182 lbs. | Sophomore

Reese was a preseason all-Big 12 selection but has gotten off to a rough start. He’s third on the team in rushing with 125 and 2 TDs so far, after 972 yards and 14 TDs last year.

Last week vs. #3 Texas: 3 carries, 8 yards. Baylor rushed for only 60 yards on 31 carries as a team last week.

Baylor LB Matt Jones
Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defense: LB Matt Jones

6-3 246-lb. | Senior

Jones is another ballhawk, and an experienced one at that, in his fifth season in Waco. He was third on the team in tackles last year (62) and leads the Bears this season with 25 tackles and two sacks.

Last Week vs. #3 Texas: 8 tackles (7 solo), two sacks