Brewer throws for 3 TDs, leads Baylor past UTSA, 37-20
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Before the season, Baylor coach Matt Rhule chose to alternate two quarterbacks, sophomore Charlie Brewer and senior Jalan McClendon.
Rhule has seen nothing yet that would induce him to pick one as his full-time guy. Brewer passed for 328 yards and three touchdowns, and Baylor defeated Texas-San Antonio 37-20 Saturday night. He completed 23 of 34 pass attempts.
That performance came a week after McClendon, a graduate transfer from North Carolina State, completed 10 of 13 for 173 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions against Abilene Christian. Brewer produced no touchdown passes and one interception in that game. McClendon completed 3 of 6 for 39 yards against UTSA.
Brewer said he is comfortable with the system.
“Both of us have played well,” Brewer said.
“I think what you see is a situation pushing both guys to play at a high level,” Rhule said.
Baylor is 2-0 after finishing 1-11 in 2017, Rhule’s first season as coach. Rhule said he saw a flawed but hard-working team Saturday.
“We found a way to be 2-0,” Rhule said. “Certainly not perfect. Certainly not where we need to be.”
The Bears, who gained only 274 yards against UTSA during a 17-10 defeat at home last season, produced 494 while limiting UTSA to 255.
Brewer’s favorite targets, Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims, made eight receptions apiece, both exceeding 130 yards.
Baylor led 20-13 at halftime while alternating quarterbacks, but all of its points come on drives led by Brewer. The sophomore tossed two touchdown passes in the half, one to Mims, who reached high to make a 22-yard catch.
Brewer threw his third touchdown pass in the third quarter, a 7-yarder to Hurd.
UTSA (0-2) quarterback Cordale Grundy threw for a modest 157 yards, although his 10-yard touchdown to Blaze Moorhead early in the fourth quarter left UTSA trailing by only 27-20.
But Baylor responded with a field goal, a defensive stop and a 12-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that used seven minutes. Baylor converted three third down plays, all passes by Brewer.
UTSA coach Frank Wilson, whose team lost at Arizona State 49-7 last week, said he was encouraged by the performance against Baylor.
“I thought our team took a step in the right direction,” Wilson said. “Vastly improved from a week ago.”
WELL, THAT DIDN’T WORK
During the second quarter, Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton tried to take advantage of a new NCAA rule by signaling for a fair catch of a UTSA kickoff on his 3-yard line. A catch would have given Baylor the ball on the 25. But Thornton dropped the ball, forcing Baylor to start its possesson on the 3. Still, the Bears put together a 97-yard touchdown drive. And Thornton made a reception for 25 yards on third down in the fourth quarter.
STRONG AND ACCURATE
UTSA kicker Jared Sackett made field goals of 47 and 46 yards in the first half, the first one a career-long for the sophomore. That came after Baylor kicker Connor Martin converted a kick from from 47.
UTSA: The Roadrunners lost 12 starters from the team that beat Baylor in Waco last season for its first victory over a team from a Power Five conference since elevating to the FBS level in 2013. Even so, they showed competitiveness against Baylor. One critical play came when Lorenzo Dantzler sacked McClendon, forcing a fumble that set up a UTSA touchdown late in the second quarter. Baylor did not have a comfortable lead until scoring a touchdown during the final two minutes.
Baylor: Rhule, trying to resurrect a struggling program, saw a way to create success after failure: the fumble by McClendon that led to a UTSA touchdown.
“I told them at halftime, boy aren’t we lucky,” Rhule said. “We need to find out if we can battle back from adversity.”
Baylor held UTSA to 100 yards and seven points in the second half. The Bears gained 260 in the half.
Baylor: The Bears host Duke on Sept. 15. Duke defeated Baylor last year, 34-20 in Durham, in the first game of a home-and-home series. That marked the Bears’ first non-conference, regular season game against a Power Five conference team since 2009, although they faced nationally ranked TCU from the Mountain West in 2010 and 2011.
UTSA: The Roadrunners are at Kansas State on Sept 15, their third straight game against an opponent from a Power Five conference. They lost their opener at Arizona State 49-7. UTSA is one of two teams from non Power Five conferences opening their seasons with three straight games against Power Five schools. BYU is the other.