Behind a strong defensive performance and a revitalized running game, Baylor knocked off Texas State 29-20.
Texas State scored a touchdown with 1:19 left to make it 27-20. The Bears couldn’t convert a first down after RJ Sneed recovered the onside kick, and Baylor punted to Texas State with 20 seconds remaining. Texas State ended up trying a series of laterals that ended with the QB trying to pass in the end zone. That’s not allowed anywhere, which meant the game ended on a safety.
The biggest takeaways from today will revolve around Bohanon and Jeff Grimes, Baylor’s offensive coordinator. Using a wide zone offense, the Bears ran far more effectively than last season. Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith ran for over 100 yards. Grimes moniker is “reliable violent offense” and the pair lived up to that when handed the ball. Ebner looked at home in this offense. Smith fumbled early, but he scampered for 34 yards late and ran for a pair of touchdowns. Both of Baylor’s backs should have monster seasons. The Bears finished with 229 rushing yards and 5.5 yards per carry.
Bohanon kept the offense moving, and I was impressed with his play. His arm strength opened up intermediate routes the Bears struggled to hit last season. While he didn’t hit any deep shots, he was close a few times. He finished with 148 passing yards. He also stayed in the pocket waiting for routes to develop. I’m optimistic Bohanon will hit some of those deep shots in the coming weeks. Having that kind of arm strength and pocket presence is vital, and Bohanon showed he has those tools.
Baylor’s defense forced three interceptions. JT Woods’ pick six put Baylor up 7-0 early, and Jalen Pitre nabbed a pick in the fourth quarter to ice Baylor’s 24-13 lead. Jarion McVea grabbed the final one with Baylor up by 14 halfway through the final quarter.
The defense played well most of the night. If there’s any big concern with that unit, it’s how they struggled to corral Brady McBride, Texas State’s mobile QB, most of the evening. Terrel Bernanrd did sack him with the Bears up 27-13 midway through the fourth quarter, which put Texas State too far behind the sticks to achieve much. I also don’t find Baylor’s lack of sacks tonight concerning. The Bears nearly had him a host of times, and the team forced three picks; Pitre nearly had a fourth. The defense did its job tonight.
If there’s another concern, it’s too many penalties. Baylor finished with 94 penalty yards. Those penalties kept Texas State drives alive, and Baylor’s offense is not designed to convert third and longs. It’s designed to ensure third downs are shorter. Baylor has to clean that up when the schedule toughens. .
Baylor fans were rightfully apoplectic over a terrible broadcast. The camera work made anyone with a television long for a radio. Maybe the poor camerawork explains why Dave Aranda didn’t challenge a possible touchdown pass in the first half. He should have. But Aranda did a great job otherwise. He went for it on 4th and short early in the game, and he made the decision to hire Grimes and go with Bohanon. Both of those look like good decisions after week one.
After missing a short field goal early in the game, Isaiah Hankins drilled two field goals, including a 43 yard attempt. s
The Bears should be overwhelming favorites against Texas Southern at 6:00 next Saturday in Waco.