Baylor vs. UTSA Preview: Matt Rhule, Bears look to get to 2-0

Bears team runs on to the field before a game against the Abilene Christian Wildcats at McLane Stadium.Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor will try to build on efficient offense, get better on defense.

Baylor will kick off versus Texas-San Antonio at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Here are the key elements:

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Jalan McClendon showed up big in his Baylor debut. The graduate transfer from North Carolina State completed 10 of 13 passes for 173 yards and 2 TDs. A few more outings like that and he’s sure to become a Bears fan favorite this season.

RB JaMycal Hasty rushed for 106 yards (10.2 per carry) and 2 TDs and caught 4 passes for 67 yards. All the things that Baylor did right in its season-opener were predicated on Hasty’s ability to make plays as a runner and receiver. We’ll see if that’s a trend this week against UTSA.

WR Jalen Hurd caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jalan McClendon for Baylor’s first touchdown of the season. He finished with 4 catches for 58 yards. McClendon and fellow QB Charlie Brewer will no doubt be looking for Hurd early and often on Saturday in San Antonio.

DE James Lockhart came up with a sack among four solo tackles in his Baylor debut. He needs to keep up the production and help bring the Bears front seven along as it attempts to rebound from a mediocre start versus Abilene Christian.

SERIES HISTORY: UTSA defeated Baylor 17-10 in Waco in the first ever meeting between the two schools in 2017.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We were up 17-0 and 24-7. We allowed them to make it a game going into halftime. That’s not what we want. I didn’t feel the edge on the sideline when we were up early. We were excited and celebrating and a lot of guys laughing and talking. That’s not football. We needed to put those guys away. That’s the edge we need to have moving forward..” – Baylor coach Matt Rhule on the Bears allowing Abilene Christian to stay close on Saturday.

KEY MATCHUP: Baylor defensive front versus UTSA running game. The Bears didn’t start off the season very well against the run as Abilene Christian rushed for 220 yards and 8.1 per carry. Meanwhile, the Roadrunners’ rushing attack was shut down by Arizona State, which held UTSA to a net three yards. The Bears need to stop UTSA at the point of attack in the running game to have their best chance of moving to 2-0.

ROSTER REPORT:

QB Charlie Brewer injured his back in the season-opener versus Abilene Christian. Rhule said on Monday that Brewer was kept out of the game as a precautionary measure, but there was no real damage and the sophomore QB will be available this week versus UTSA.

LT Josh Malin was helped off the field versus Abilene Christian with a knee injury. Mallin has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and will miss at least four weeks.

LB Clay Johnston, a junior who suffered a broken hand that ended his season in 2018, had an undisclosed injury in the preseason. Rhule said he expects Johnson back in practice this week.

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