Here is everything you need to know about the Bears game on Saturday in our Baylor vs. UTSA preview.
Date: Saturday September 9th, 2017 | 7:00 CT | McLane Stadium
TV: Fox Sports Networks Mark Followill (pxp), Brian Baldinger (analyst), Lesley McCaslin (sideline)
Radio: Baylor IMG Sports Networks/ESPN Central Texas/Sirius 132 / XM 199
QB Anu Solomon
Solomon was not the reason Baylor lost to Liberty. He completed 14 of 29 passes for 278 yards, along with three touchdowns to one interception. With how Baylor’s defense looked and the youth at the running back position (two freshman listed in the two deep), Solomon will have to continue to carry much of the load for this Bears team.
LB Taylor Young
This defense has little to no experience in the secondary with two freshman and two sophomores listed as starters. This group struggled mightily last week and needs help and leadership. The leadership is in the front seven where Young, K.J. Smith and Brian Nance all play. The line needs to do its job so Young and the other linebackers can help on the back end.
QB Dalton Sturm
Sturm is back for his senior season after throwing 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions to go along with four rushing touchdowns. He needs to improve on his consistency from last season, but he has a lot of experience and depth back at wide receiver.
DE Marcus Davenport
He was a second-team All-Conference USA pick last season and is regarded as having the most NFL potential on the roster. He’s a massive 6’7’’, 255 pounds, which is plenty to handle for an inexperienced Baylor offensive line. Davenport is expected to be one of the best pass rushers in the NCAA.
Opener for UTSA
UTSA’s opener against Houston was postponed due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. So UTSA is going to be fired up for this one as they had to wait the extra week to play their first game. On top of that they likely smell blood in the water after seeing what FCS Liberty did to the Bears last week.
Experience vs. inexperience
These two teams are polar opposites in many ways. While Matt Rhule is dealing with a lack of depth and youth at many positions on the field, UTSA is returning 13 starters from a team that went to its first bowl game last season.
Solomon’s time to shine
As noted above, Baylor has two freshman at running back on this week’s depth chart in John Lovett and Trestan Ebner. The offensive line has its issues and the defense has tons of holes, notably in the secondary. Solomon is going to have to do it all with his arm and his legs. UTSA isn’t just solid on the defensive line led by Davenport, they have experience with a pair of 6’ cornerbacks in Austin Jupe and Devron Davis.
Baylor 42 UTSA 31
This is going to be a tougher match up than many might expect for the Bears. They are dealing with youth, inexperience, depth and injury issues. Now they get a veteran team that is playing up from the Group of 5 that would love nothing more than to kick off its season with an upset of an in-state Big 12 team. I still think Baylor gets its first win of the season, but it won’t be a cake walk.