Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Baylor vs. Houston preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m., September 19th, 2020, McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
Radio: Baylor Sports Network/ESPN Central Texas (John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson); Sirius 111, XM 199
Spread: Baylor -4.5
Fun Fact: Houston is 62-70-5 against current members of the Big 12 Conference and has faced at least one Big 12 foe in four consecutive seasons.
QB Charlie Brewer
Brewer goes into his senior season trying to cap off an incredibly impressive career in Waco. And despite his success, he may be one of the most underrated players in the conference. Brewer was the second-most efficient passer in the Big 12 in 2019 behind Jalen Hurts. He has started 30 games with 18 straight starts and is one of the most experienced players in the league. He is the only returning FBS quarterback to play this season (Ohio State’s Justin Fields is the other), returning in 2020 after throwing 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2019.
LB William Bradley-King
Bradley-King is a transfer from Arkansas State who will take over the JACK position for Baylor. With the Redwolves he tallied 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. And considering we just watched Arkansas State beat Kansas State last weekend, I have a lot more respect for the program after what I watched on Saturday. Bradley-King was a two-time All-Sun Belt selection and having him under Dave Aranda’s tutelage should be fun.
QB Clayton Tune
Tune took over in a tough situation last season from D’Eriq King, but now he’s had an offseason to learn Dana Holgorsen’s system. Over his coaching career, quarterbacks under Dana Holgorsen have seen their biggest jump in production from year one to year two. Since 2008, quarterbacks under Holgorsen’s tutelage have thrown for 30+ plus touchdowns in nine out of the last 12 seasons. Tune threw for 1,500 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. How much improvement can Tune make in Year 2?
LB Grant Stuard
Stuard is making the move from nickel to linebacker. Last season, Stuard led Houston with 93 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss a year ago. Stuard had three double-digit tackles games in 2019, including a career-high 15 stops at UConn and was a second team all-conference selection. The linebacker unit is the most experienced on the defense and its Stuard leading the way.
I want to see what Dave Aranda brings to this defense for the Baylor Bears. That’s of course where he made his name, most recently at LSU. In six seasons as a defensive coordinator at a Power 5 Conference school from 2014 to 2019, Aranda’s defenses were ranked in the Top 12 nationally in total yards five times and top 10 in scoring seven times from 2013 to 2019. The Bears have lost nine starters from that side of the ball, only returning LB Terrell Bernard and Raleigh Texada, so there are a lot of new faces and the offseason was unusual to say the least. And this will be a good test going up against Dana Holgorsen’s offense.
The Cougars can score points and I believe they will, but as has been the question recently for Houston: can they get a stop? They have key players coming in who were part of the Cougars’ scout team defense in 2019 and have elite talent. Last season with Marcus Jones (Troy), Kelvin Clemmons (Minnesota), Hasaan Hypolite (Colorado) and Thabo Mwaniki (Oklahoma State) sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules, Houston’s defense now gets a big lift. Jones was a two-year starter at Troy at cornerback and also an All-American as a punt returner. Mwaniki made six starts for the Cowboys and was the only true freshman for Oklahoma State to start in 2017. In December, the Cougars also added graduate transfer JoVanni Stewart, who looks to fit into the nickel position. Stewart made 16 starts and appeared in 41 games for Dana Holgorsen at WVU from 2016 to 2018. If this unit can make an impact immediately, that changes the outlook for Houston this fall.
Baylor 35, Houston 28
The Bears will give the Big 12 a win over an AAC opponent, which it much needs after a disastrous 0-3 start against the Sun Belt last week. Points will be put up in this game, but I expect Baylor to pull away led by its seniors on offense like Brewer, Trestan Ebner and John Lovett, while the new defensive pieces start to gel more in the second half.
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