The Bears are coming off of a huge letdown against the Oklahoma Sooners and could face a bit of a hangover at home, while Texas struggled on the road against the Iowa State Cyclones.
To get some insight into the mindset of the Bears on Saturday we reached out to Kendall Kaut (@KendallKaut) of Our Daily Bears (@OurDailyBears) to receive some feedback on what we should expect in Waco.
Burnt Orange Nation: Obviously the ending of the Oklahoma game has been a major subject of conversation going through the week. How has Matt Rhule and his team responded to the huge comeback and do you think they could deal with a bit of a hangover on Saturday?
Our Daily Bears: They could have a hangover. They’ve talked well about having a great week of practice and focusing on Texas. Matt Rhule appears to be a home-run hire. But asking a team to respond to that kind of defeat is difficult. Baylor doesn’t have any experience losing this year. Few teams have the experience of blowing a 25-point lead any year. I think it’s a reasonable fear.
BON: Charlie Brewer is easily one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, with his ability to make plays both with his arm and on the ground. However, the last two games were his two worst performances in conference play from both a yardage and efficiency standpoint. What has been the difference and do you anticipate a return to form against Texas?
ODB: Brewer’s arm looked off against TCU until the final drive and overtimes. He missed an easy touchdown throw in the first quarter against TCU. But he rebounded extremely well in the first half against Oklahoma. Brewer ran well, which was a welcome boost to that part of his game. The only throw Brewer missed against Oklahoma was on a slant where John Lovett stepped on his foot. I’m confident Brewer will be able to make the throws he normally can against Texas.
BON: The duo of Denzel Mims and Tyquan Thornton has been killer for Baylor this year, accounting for nearly 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year. What type of production do you expect from those two against a Texas secondary that is still trying to find its footing after being plagued by injuries?
ODB: Mims has been banged up with a hamstring injury. He’ll play, but he needs to be on the field. Thornton had a really bad game against Oklahoma, but he destroyed Iowa State and Oklahoma State. I’d expect that duo to draw a lot of attention, and with how well Josh Fleeks has done against teams that are blitz happy, he should have a nice day.
BON: Defensively Baylor has done an incredible job of creating chaos in the backfield, led by the pair of James Lynch and Blake Lynch. What is Baylor doing defensively to put these guys in position to make plays?
ODB: The Bears have been much better defensively because they can play a 3-3-5 and rush with three defensive linemen. Todd Orlando doesn’t have faith Texas can get to the quarterback without consistent blitzing. Baylor — with the exception of the second half of the Oklahoma game — has gotten pressure on the quarterback. James Lynch is the Big 12’s best defensive player, and Bravvion Roy is one of the league’s best linemen, too.
BON: What is one matchup you’re watching and what is the key to the game for Baylor?
ODB: Can Baylor get Texas off the field on third down? The Longhorns have been very good converting on third down, and Baylor just needs to get their offense on the field. I think Baylor has a better team than Texas, and if the Bears have a game with a ton of possessions, I like them. But if Texas controls the clock like Oklahoma did, then Baylor’s offense could get in a rut.
BON: What’s your prediction for Saturday?
ODB: I could see any outcome. The Longhorn frustrations are justified. Tom Herman has better talent than results this season.
But I think Baylor has a better team. Todd Orlando hasn’t fooled many people, and Brewer tends to hand onto the ball long enough to make a play against blitzes. The Bears’ defense creates turnovers, and I think the Longhorns have a couple. I’ll take Baylor, 31-20.