Here is everything you need to know about the Baylor Bears’ contest against UTSA on Saturday.
3 p.m. Central Time, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
Radio: Baylor IMG Sports Network / ESPN Central Texas
Opening line: Baylor -28.5
QB Frank Harris: He took his first start and ran with it against UIW, throwing for 206 yards and three touchdowns and running for another 123 yards (a school record for a quarterback). Harris completed his first 13 passes, a program record for the start of a career. Harris spent 2018 as a redshirt and is a Schertz (TX) Clemens product, having earned all-state accolades and the San Antonio Express-News All-Area Offensive Player of the Year in high school.
DE Lorenzo Dantzler. He’s the pass rusher to watch on Saturday. Dantzler had two sacks against Incarnate Word. As a sophomore last year he started nine games and played in all 12 at defensive end as he earned second-team All-Conference USA honors from Pro Football Focus. Last season Dantzler had 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, two QB hurries and forced two fumbles. If any Roadrunner gets in Charlie Brewer’s face, it will be the 6-foot-2, 245-pound end.
DB Dadrian Taylor. Taylor had four tackles and an interception against Incarnate Word. As a redshirt freshman worked his way into all 12 games (with two starts) and finished with 12 tackles and two pass breakups. So Taylor has already produced one-third of his tackles from a year ago with just one game in 2019.
QB Charlie Brewer. The junior threw for only 199 yards, but he was efficient doing it, going 21-of-31 and throwing for three scores. Truthfully, Brewer didn’t have to do a whole lot against SFA. His offensive line handled the Lumberjacks’ front four with aplomb and the Bears remained committed to the run game, even in the second half. Plus, Brewer sat for a good portion of the second half. But as a starting point for a season the Bears hope will put them in contention for the Big 12 title, Brewer played exactly how he should.
RBs John Lovett and Trestan Ebner. Lovett and Ebner were an efficient 1-2 punch against SFA. Lovett gained 108 yards and scored a touchdown on eight carries. Ebner was incredible, scoring three times and gaining 74 yards rushing and receiving on just seven touches, all of which came in the first half. Lovett was a consistent one-cut runner when he had the ball. Ebner, meanwhile, proved shiftier and had a highlight-reel change of field on a touchdown run in the second quarter.
DE James Lynch. Lynch proved why he’s the Bears’ best pass rusher with a one-sack game against SFA on Saturday. One sack doesn’t sound impressive, but Lynch made a living in SFA’s backfield during the game. He also had two tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hits. What was impressive was how much Baylor allowed Lynch to move around in the front line. Sometimes he was outside, sometimes he was inside and he consistently moved the pile in both ways.
S Chris Morris. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule had this to say about Morris on Monday: “I thought Chris Miller was a cannon out there (on Saturday), flying around out there. I was happy with those things.” Morris ended up with five tackles and a half-a-tackle for a loss in the win over SFA. The Bears want more of that kind of play from Morris and the rest of the secondary as they try to create more turnovers this season.
The Roadrunners’ 35-7 win over Incarnate Word was actually a good win for UTSA. UIW was an FCS playoff team last year and the Roadrunners were coming off a 3-9 season. After two straight six-win seasons and a bowl game in head coach Frank Wilson’s first two seasons, the Roadrunners are trying to climb back into the upper echelon of Conference USA’s West Division after 2018. UTSA has experience against Baylor. The Roadrunners defeated the Bears in San Antonio, 17-10, in 2017. Last year the Roadrunners came to Waco and lost, 37-20.
One of the things that Rhule was happy about after Saturday’s game was the amount of playing time his young players received against the Lumberjacks. “(I was) Happy for a lot of our young players. I think 36 players had a chance to play for the first time. I think that brings us to 79 true freshman and redshirt freshman over the last three years that have gotten into a game. It’s been a youth movement and it’s fun to see that continue this year.” When you consider how decimated the roster was when Rhule arrived after the program’s rape scandal, Rhule has done an extraordinary job of getting the Bears back in program-building mode. When the Bears take on UTSA watch defensive tackle Bravvion Roy, who led Baylor with six tackles and a quarterback hurry. He did fine work against SFA and the Bears are hoping he builds on that this weekend.
Baylor 37, UTSA 17. UTSA should prove to be a harder opponent than SFA was last weekend, but expect the Bears to prevail once again. One thing Baylor must be happy about after one game is that they came out of that SFA game with no major losses, injury-wise.
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