WACO, Texas (Ticker) -- Freshman Aaron Karas made the most of his first career start, passing for 331 yards and three touchdowns as Baylor closed its season with a 56-12 rout of Division I-AA Southern Illinois.
With Josh Zachry missing his second straight game due to a concussion, Baylor coach Kevin Steele opted to go with Karas over Greg Cicero, who started Baylor's first seven games before being replaced by Zachry.
Karas responded by completing 22-of-31 pass and became the first Baylor quarterback in 10 years to pass for more than 300 yards. He made his debut last week and completed 14-of-22 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-22 loss to Oklahoma State. Karas also rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries.
Defensive back Samir Al-Amin returned two interceptions for touchdowns for Baylor (3-8), which snapped an eight-game losing streak.
The Salukis, who ended the year with a seven-game losing streak, only trailed, 14-6, at the intermission.
But Karas threw an eight-yard TD pass to Jonathan Golden and Al-Amin returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown in a 16-second span early in the third quarter to make it 28-6.
Southern Illinois closed to 28-12 on backup Kevin Kobe's 22-yard TD pass to Mark Shasteen led in the third quarter, but Baylor broke it open with 28 unanswered points in the fourth period.
Madei Williams completed 12-of-19 passes for 144 yards for Southern Illinois, but also was intercepted twice. Kobe was 7-of-13 for 58 yards.
Only 7,321 fans attended the game, which was added to Baylor's schedule after a September 15 contest against Minnesota was canceled in the wake of the terrorist attacks.