THE BREAKDOWN: Baylor vs. Abilene Christian

Bears head coach Matt Rhule talks with defensive coordinator Phil Snow in the first half of the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium.Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Bears need to win the line of scrimmage in season opener versus FCS opponent.

SERIES HISTORY: This is the first ever meeting between Baylor and Abilene Christian University.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I’ll say this, Jalan (McClendon) has come in here as a guy that has all the tools. He sat behind Jacoby Brissett, who’s an NFL starter, and he played a little bit here and there. Sat behind (Ryan) Finley, who they project to be an NFL guy. And he’s done nothing but work. He’s in there at 6 o’clock in the morning, he’s in there at 11 o’clock at night. He’s a grinder. And he’s got all the physical tools.” – Baylor coach Matt Rhule on graduate transfer Jalan McClendon competing for the starting QB job.

KEY MATCHUP: Whatever Abilene Christian’s strengths and weaknesses, the bottom line is that this is a game where Baylor should dominate the line of scrimmage. The Bears didn’t do that in a season-opening loss to Liberty last season. In order for the 2018 campaign to get going a little better, Baylor needs to push the Wildcats off the ball and kick-start their running game on offense while putting up a stone wall on defense.


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.

CB Harrison Hand, a sophomore cornerback, suffered a pulled muscle (Rhule didn’t elaborate what muscle or what part of the body) during summer workouts. Rhule said he was slow to come back but is “full-go” now.

LT Jake Fruhmorgen, a junior transfer from Clemson, suffered a leg injury in preseason practice, but he is expected to be back in practice this week.