Baylor football is finally back!!! I feel like the wait between seasons grows longer every year, but we made it and everything is right again in the football world (at least for now). The Bears stormed back on the brand new field in new uniforms with a new (visible) passion for the game. In the Baylor vs Stephen F. Austin game, Baylor (1-0) recorded a dominant 56-17 victory over the Lumberjacks (0-1) to open the season 1-0! Junior QB Charlie Brewer completed 21 of 31 passing attempts for 199 yards and 3 TDs while redshirt freshman QB Gerry Bohanon added 5 of 6 completions for 51 yards and a TD of his own in the third quarter. Bohanon also had the second most rushing yards of the game with 6 carries for 84 yards. The Bears lost one fumble and finished with 518 yards on offense.
The Bears scored on their first drive through a series of mixed plays– the longest being a 15-yard rush by junior RB John Lovett and the 16-yard TD catch by junior RB Trestan Ebner (who was the clear star of the day). The Baylor defense forced a quick SFA three and out before taking the field once again. Brewer dropped a 23-yard dime to (sixth year) senior WR Chris Platt in the opening play and targeted Ebner for several more yards before connecting with sophomore WR R.J. Sneed on an 11-yard TD catch to make the 14-0 score. Less than five minutes later, the Lumberjacks scored their first TD of the day following a 3-yard rush by QB Trae Self, which was the final scoring drive of the first quarter.
The Lumberjacks got the ball back early in the second quarter, but a huge sack for a loss of six yards by junior DT James Lynch led to Self’s next pass getting picked by senior LB Blake Lynch to leave the Bears in great field position. On Baylor’s second drive, the offense finally got the ball rolling. Lovett rushed for 6 yards and a 9-yard catch by senior WR Denzel Mims moved the ball up the field until Ebner recorded his second TD on a 21-yard run. The Baylor defense forced another three and out and once the offense took the field, Brewer connected with sophomore WR Josh Fleeks and Mims on 7 and 21-yard catches, respectively. SFA sophomore CB Eli Jones committed an egregious personal foul and then added another pass interference call to give the Bears an extra 30 yards and two first downs. Back-to-back catches by Sneed and Ebner set up Ebner’s 11-yard rush for another BU TD. Once Baylor got the ball back, senior RB JaMycal Hasty added 3, 6, and 2-yard rushes before Lovett ran into the endzone on a 19-yard TD, scoring the last 7 points of the first half.
Baylor received the kickoff in the third quarter and capitalized on their possession as Lovett ran wild– notching 38, 9, and 7-yard rushes prior to Sneed’s incredible 21-yard catch for a Baylor TD. After forcing another SFA punt, Baylor put in second string QB Bohanon who rushed for 22 yards on his first play. Lovett ran for 9 and 5 yards while Hasty rushed for 2, but it was Bohanon’s connections with junior WR Jared Atkinson for 16 yards and sophomore WR Tyquan Thornton for a 9-yard TD that made the biggest impact on the drive. SFA’s offense marched down the field on an almost 5 minute-long drive, but Baylor freshman DT Gabe Hall blocked their field goal attempt. Although the Bears didn’t get any closer to the endzone on their next drive, junior Niadré Zouzoua earned his first career sack to force the Lumberjacks to punt once again, closing the third quarter.
The Bears’ first plays finished with their lone turnover of the day and the Lumberjacks scored 3 more points on a 32-yard field goal. Bohanon showed his wheels on the Bears’ last scoring drive, rushing for 6, 1, 16, 5, and 34 yards on 5 carries and freshman RB Qualan Jones added 5 more yards before sophomore RB Abram Smith scored on a 9-yard rush. The Lumberjacks ended the game with a 1-yard rushing TD to finalize the score at Baylor 56-17.
Eight Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts, including Lovett (8 carries for 108 yards and 1 TD), Bohanon (6 carries for 84 yards), Ebner (2 carries for 32 yards and 2 TDs), Hasty (10 carries for 25 yards), Smith (4 carries for 12 yards and 1 TD), freshman RB Jacoby Clarke (2 carries for 7 yards), Jones (3 carries for 6 yards), and Brewer (2 carries for minus 1 yard). 10 received passes including Sneed (5 catches for 57 yards and 2 TDs), Mims (5 catches for 46 yards), Ebner (5 catches for 40 yards and 1 TD), Fleeks (4 catches for 37 yards), Platt (1 catch for 23 yards), Atkinson (1 catch for 16 yards), Thornton (1 catch for 9 yards), junior FB Koby Bullard (1 catch for 8 yards), sophomore TE Christoph Henle (1 catch for 8 yards), and Hasty (2 catches for 6 yards). Baylor’s defense amassed 57 tackles with 8 for a loss of 33 yards, 3 sacks for a loss of 15 yards (freshman LB Matt Jones, redshirt freshman Brayden Utley, J. Lynch, Zouzoua), one interception (B. Lynch), three pass breakups (senior LB Clay Johnston, sophomore LB Terrel Bernard, B. Lynch), one blocked pass (B. Lynch), and four QB hurries (senior DT Bravvion Roy, sophomore S J.T. Woods, 2 by J. Lynch).
Baylor will face UTSA in Waco on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT).