Baylor University, the largest Southern Baptist university in the world, brought some secular attention to the school Thursday night with an impressive 49-26 victory against UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.
The private Christian school is normally recognized more for turning out preachers, youth directors and missionaries than football players. However, since the the private Texas school has brought in Art Briles as its football coach, there has been a lot of recognition for the athletic achievements of the school as well.
Briles, a devout Christian and regular churchgoer himself, has managed to blend the religious with the athletic to develop one of the outstanding football programs in the nation without sacrificing his religious beliefs. Robert Griffin III, known as RG III, managed to win the Heisman Trophy, emblematic of the best college football player in the nation last year, under the tutelage of Coach Briles.
Today it was announced that in his first season in the National Football League, RG III has been honored by being named to the Pro Bowl Game. Despite the honors which might make change some people, Griffin continues to believe in the “message” of God for which Baylor stands.
And in tonight’s dominating victory against the Southern California school in San Diego, this year’s Baylor quarterback Nick Florence was brilliant in leading the Bears to triumph.
Coach Briles has described his latest protege at quarterback as being such a devoted Christian that “he keeps me in line.”
Briles said that someday he would definitely make a great youth director. But that might be after this year’s quarterback spends a few years in the National Football League because in tonight’s game he broke RG III’s record for most yardage in a season by a college quarterback.
Even Florence’s overall statistics in every quarterback compare favorably to those of the legendary RG III.
But Florence is interested in more than football despite his excellent career at Baylor which included a victory over the number one ranked team in the nation Kansas State. He then led the Bears to wins over tough Texas Tech and Oklahoma State to qualify the religious school for its third straight bowl game tonight. It’s the first time the Baptist univerity has ever earned three straight bowl appearances.
Florence has said, “Win or lose, all glory goes to God. Jesus Christ died on the cross forme. My walk is with the Lord.”
Now that the brilliant Florence, who has already earned a master’s degree from Baylor, has donned his football pads for the last time for the Bears, it is clear that his future path will lead him to spread the gospel whatever career he chooses next.
After tonight’s spectacular display of incredible passing accuracy and decision-making, that path could also lead through the NFL where he would have plenty of opportunities to spread the gospel.
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