Baylor’s hierarchy of needs in tonight’s season-opener versus Abilene Christian has winning at its base. All the Bears have to do is win to equal last season’s victory total and get off to a much better start than they did in 2017.
As of now, with the Golden Wave Band on the field at halftime, Baylor is well on its way to winning this game, leading 38-20 at the break.
Of course, the Bears would like to do a little more than just win against an Abilene Christian team that is still getting used to life at the NCAA Division I FCS level. For example, Baylor needs to show it can dominate the line of scrimmage, and, for the most part, it did so in the first half.
Baylor’s running backs are having a night. JaMycal Hasty has 70 rushing yards and 67 receiving yards at halftime. John Lovett has 51 rushing yards, including a 31-yard touchdown run. Combined, they’re averaging better than 15 yards per carry.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon have both been effective. Though, surprisingly, McClendon has been significantly better than Brewer. They’ve combined for 239 passing yards and two TDs (both McClendon’s).
However, having stated the Bears’ positives from the first 30 minutes, there are some reminders that Baylor posted a 1-11 record last season.
ACU running back Billy McCrary burned the Bears for a 75-yard touchdown run. That was a pretty big chunk of the Wildcats’ 290 total yards in the first half, but it wasn’t the only big play. Wide receiver D.J. Fuller caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Anthony. And, after a slow start, the Wildcats moved the chains 13 times in the first half.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Baylor can throw the knockout punch in the second half. Or will ACU build on its field goal that ended the half?