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September 19, 2009

Huskies make long trek to Baylor

WACO, Texas - Robert Griffin flashed his athleticism and poise against UConn a year ago in one of the first starts of his career.

The dual-threat Baylor quarterback accounted for 254 total yards and four touchdowns, but the UConn won 31-28 in Griffin's third-ever start as a freshman.

One year later and coming off a season-opening victory at Wake Forest, Griffin and Baylor look to turn the tables in its rematch against UConn on Saturday.

"That loss from last year will be there," said Griffin, who passed for 208 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another against the Huskies last season. "But we have a new season and a new team. We're ready to go."

Baylor (1-0) kicked off the new season Sept. 5 with a 24-21 win at Wake Forest, the first time since 1965 the Bears went on the road and beat a team now in the BCS.

Now it will be up to UConn (1-1) to make sure it doesn't become the first BCS conference team to lose in the Bears' home opener since 1998.

It will be the longest trip in school history for the Huskies, which traveled to SMU in 1991.

"It's going to be a little different," said Cody Endres, who will get the start at quarterback after Zach Frazer sustained a knee injury a week ago. "I'm excited about that, though. I always enjoy away games and to feed off the away crowd, things like that. So I'm excited for the opportunity."

The Huskies led 10-0 heading into the fourth quarter and were in position to upset the Tar Heels before things unraveled.

North Carolina tied the game with 2:36 left, and UConn tackle Dan Ryan was flagged for holding in the end zone on the ensuing drive, giving the Tar Heels an unusual win.

Endres finished 3-for-7 in the final quarter and a half for the Huskies, while running back Jordan Todman gained 66 yards on 18 carries.

Both Endres and defensive end Lindsey Witten, who leads the nation with seven sacks, missed practice Tuesday with a stomach virus. Both are expected to play Saturday, though it will be a tough homecoming for wide receiver Michael Smith.

The sophomore from Houston will miss the game due to a knee injury suffered in practice. He played a week ago but did not have a catch.

A win would give Baylor its first 2-0 start in four years; one for the Huskies would put them at 2-1 before heading home to face Rhode Island and then begin Big East play.

The Huskies aren't taking the travel lightly: in order to prepare for the game, UConn coach Randy Edsall turned the heat in the team's indoor complex up to the mid-80s to simulate Saturday's forecast.

"What we've got to do is put our guys in the best position during the week to get them mentally and physically prepared to get them to play," Edsall said.

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