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Shapen sharp as No. 10 Baylor opens 69-10 over FCS Albany

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Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-03 23:29:33-04

WACO, Texas (AP) — Blake Shapen completed 17 of 20 passes for 214 yards with two long touchdowns and had a nifty dive into the end zone for another score on the final play of the first half as 10th-ranked Baylor opened its season with a 69-10 victory over FCS team Albany on Saturday night.

Gavin Holmes, the sixth-year Bears wideout who missed all of last season because of a foot injury, returned a punt 72 yards for a score. Monaray Baldwin had two touchdowns, on a 47-yard catch for Baylor’s first score before adding a 50-yard reverse run after halftime.

The reigning Big 12 champion Bears have a six-game winning streak, matching fourth-ranked Clemson for the longest active among FBS teams. The Tigers open their season Monday night against Georgia Tech.

Shapen’s 1-yard TD run gave Baylor a 35-7 halftime lead. Shapen swept to the right sideline and dived toward the end zone. He switched the ball from his right to left hand and was able to reach it out to hit the pylon before falling down out of bounds.

One of Shapen’s two starts while Gerry Bohanon was hurt last season came in the Big 12 championship game when he completed his first 17 passes and had three TDs. Shapen won the quarterback job in spring practice over incumbent starter Bohanon, who is now starting at South Florida.

The Bears led 21-0 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter when Holmes broke away from an initial tackler after fielding the punt, then weaved through other defenders toward the sideline and into the end zone. He started four games as a freshman in 2017, but was limited to one game the next two seasons after twice tearing the ACL in the same knee. He had 33 catches while starting all nine games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Albany sophomore Reese Poffenbarger threw a 17-yard TD to Julian Hicks while completing 13 of 26 passes. Poffenbarger, a transfer from Old Dominion, had never taken a college snap before coming out of a four-quarterback competition in fall camp to start the first game.

Albany: The Great Danes are 3-13 overall since making the FCS playoffs during the 2019 season. They were 2-9 last fall, after going 1-3 in a spring season when the 2020 fall season was pushed back because of the pandemic.

Baylor: Third-year coach Dave Aranda got what he wanted with a crisper start this season. This game was never in question, and the Bears scored four touchdowns in the final 17 minutes after the starters were out of the game. That included two rushing TDs by freshman Richard Reese. Long before their Big 12 title and Sugar Bowl victory last season while winning a school-record 12 games, the Bears had to grind out a 29-20 win in their opener at Texas State, a Sun Belt team that went on to a losing record.


The Bears did what they were supposed to do against a lower-division team, so they won’t move up because of that. But they will surely remain in the Top 10 going into a tougher game next week on the road.


Albany: Plays its home opener Saturday against New Hampshire.

Baylor: At No. 25 BYU next Saturday. The Bears last year won 38-24 at home over the Cougars, who join the Big 12 next season.