Well, that was just about the worst possible way for the Matt Rhule Era to begin, with a loss to FCS* Liberty at home. The defense, Rhule and company’s calling card at Temple, was never able to stop or really even frustrate Stephen Calvert or his favorite target, Antonio Gandy-Golden, both of whom set personal and school records tonight. We had no answers.
*Before you correct me and say that they’re FBS now, they’re not. Not yet.
This may not be the worst loss in Baylor history given the circumstances (new coach, new systems on both sides, depleted roster, scandal in the very recent past, etc. etc.), but it’d make my bottom two or three. Others might say it’s the worst. I wouldn’t argue strenuously. Even with those circumstances, Baylor shouldn’t be in the position to lose to a school like Liberty, much less get clowned defensively like we did. There’s no way I can think of to hide the fact that our defense got worked.
I’m not sure what to say at this point, quite honestly. At halftime I stopped short of calling this a debacle or disaster, but it is one. We gave up 31 points in the second half to a school only allowed to have 63 scholarship players. It’s one thing to fight and lose against a team you know is better; it looks like we’re going to do that a lot this year. But to lose to an opponent over which you have every possible advantage— that’s a completely different thing. A much, much worse thing, obviously.
If I’m looking for positives, there are few, and they are almost entirely on offense. Anu Solomon looks like the real deal at QB in whatever we’re calling our system. His drive to get to 38 points was particularly inspiring. True freshman John Lovett came in when JaMycal Hasty went down and showed everything that got him a single-digit jersey. If I’m really pushing it, Blake Lynch and Harrison Hand showed potential at cornerback during obvious struggles.
But that’s about it. There’s no excuse for the defense to look as bad as it did. There’s no way to sugarcoat a loss like this. We’ll recover, but it will take a long time unless something drastic changes.
And I don’t have a lot of faith in an already-fractured fanbase to handle this well at all. We needed tonight to continue the process of coming back together, but we didn’t get it. Hopefully, I’ll be wrong about what this means for us.