Baylor offense vs. UTSA defense

Knowing the quarterback job is his for the first time heading into the season, junior Charlie Brewer looked confident in Baylor’s 56-17 thrashing of SFA as he hit 21 of 31 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Baylor’s running game by committee also looked dynamic as the Bears accumulated 250 yards rushing. UTSA’s defense was solid in a season-opening 35-7 win over San Antonio rival Incarnate Word as it allowed just 209 yards. But this week will be a bigger test for both the Bears and Roadrunners as they step up in competition.

Edge: Baylor

Baylor defense vs. UTSA offense

UTSA’s offense amassed 490 yards against Incarnate Word, and the main reason was dual threat quarterback Frank Harris. The sophomore hit 28 of 36 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns while rushing 15 times for 123 yards. Sincere McCormick added 74 yards on 12 carries as the Roadrunners finished with 284 yards rushing. Running a 3-3-5 defense, the Bears looked faster than last year as they limited SFA to 277 yards. Linebacker Blake Lynch had an interception last week, but the Bears are still looking to force more turnovers.

Edge: Baylor

Key matchup: UTSA QB Frank Harris vs. BU defensive line

The Bears collected three sacks against SFA, but they let quarterback Trae Self get away too many times to create plays and get off passes. Harris is extremely mobile and has the ability to make something out of nothing. Baylor coach Matt Rhule said the Bears’ pass rushers must be more disciplined and stay in their lanes to contain Harris. The jury is still out whether Baylor can generate a strong enough pass rush with a three-man front.

Edge: UTSA

Special teams

Baylor redshirt freshman John Mayers didn’t attempt a field goal, but true freshman Noah Rauschenberg showed off his leg as he boomed eight of his nine kickoffs for touchbacks. Redshirt freshman punter Issac Power was erratic as he averaged 36.5 yards on four punts. UTSA’s Lucas Dean averaged 36.7 yards on three punts while kicker Hunter Duplessis didn’t attempt a field goal. BU punt returner Grayland Arnold and kick returner Josh Fleeks have breakaway ability.

Edge: Baylor

Intangibles

It’s rare to see NCAA teams play each other in nonconference games three straight years unless it’s a longtime rival. So there’s no question the Bears and Roadrunners know each other well. They’ve split the last two games as the Roadrunners took a 17-10 win in 2017 before the Bears bounced back with a 37-20 win last year. Though UTSA isn’t a Power 5 conference school, the Bears certainly won’t take the Roadrunners for granted. The 3 p.m. kickoff will likely keep some fans away, but the Bears should take advantage of its home field at McLane Stadium and pull off the win.

Edge: Baylor

— John Werner

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