Rice hopes to avoid going 0-3 to start the season

HOUSTON (AP) — No. 21 Baylor is looking to improve in its last game before conference play when the Bears visit Rice on Friday night.

The Bears (2-0) beat SMU 40-13 on Saturday, but were disappointed with their start in that game that was tied 6-6 at halftime. They don't want to get off to a slow start against the Owls (0-3) in their first road game of the season.

Baylor coach Jim Grobe said playing away from home for the first time makes him anxious, especially as it relates to the team's younger players.

"Besides playing in a hostile environment it's just getting young guys to focus. You're in an unfamiliar setting, you're in a different hotel, you're liable to find the youngest guys out in the hallway throwing ice at each other and running up and down the hallways and doing crazy stuff," Grobe said. "We are not going on vacation, it's not spring break, we're going to play football."

The Owls hope to avoid starting 0-3 for the second time in three seasons before Conference USA play begins on Sept. 24 against North Texas.

Baylor aims to start 3-0 for the sixth straight season, which would be the longest such streak in school history. They open Big 12 play hosting Oklahoma State next weekend.

Quarterback Seth Russell led Baylor's second-half surge last weekend by throwing for one touchdown and running for another to start the third quarter and help the Bears pull away. Those scores were part of a performance where he threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 43 yards and another score.

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