Getting to know: Baylor football
The University of Kansas football team will look to keep things rolling after notching its first winning streak since 2011.
Kansas (2-1) dominated Rutgers in a 55-14 victory at David Booth Memorial Stadium this past weekend. The Jayhawks will hit the road for their conference opener, as they look for their first road win in league play since 2008. Baylor (2-1) is coming off a 40-27 loss to Duke.
“We felt like we left a lot out there,” head coach David Beaty said. “We left a lot of stuff out there that you simply can’t do in the Big 12. So we learned a lot from that tape. It’s never as good as you think it is and never as bad as you think it is but we learned a whole lot from that tape.”
Kansas travels to Baylor at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
BREAKING DOWN BAYLOR:
Quarterback — Similar to Kansas, Baylor will have the option to play two different players at the quarterback position at any point in the game. Sophomore Charlie Brewer has started all three contests, throwing for 641 yards and three scores. In his seven career starts, Brewer is averaging 267.4 yards per game with 12 total touchdowns. Senior Jalan McClendon, who transferred from North Carolina State, has played in all three games for the Bears as well.
Running backs — Through 3 games, junior Jamycal Hasty has scored five total touchdowns for Baylor. That mark ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring, as Hasty has recorded three rushing touchdowns to go along with one receiving and one blocked punt return. Hasty is averaging 5.1 yards per carry thus far for the Bears. Sophomore John Lovett has also recorded 174 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries this season.
Receivers — Baylor’s receiving unit has a distinct size advantage, featuring 6-foot-4 senior Jalen Hurd and 6-foot-3 junior Denzel Mims. Hurd, a transfer from Tennessee, is fourth in the conference in receptions per game with an average of six per contest. Mims has six 100-yard receiving performances, which ranks 11th-best in program history.
“They have the ability to make a big play at any time,” Beaty said. “We’re going to have to prepare well this week because I’m not sure we’ve seen a group of guys like this put together. This is a pretty strong group of wideouts.”
Offensive line — The left side of the offensive line is a question mark for the Bears, who have multiple options at both positions. At left tackle, Eleasah Anderson or Jake Fruhmorgen could play. Xavier Newman or Johncarlo Valentin are the options at left guard. Sam Tecklenburg is the team’s center, while Blake Blackmar is at right guard and Patrick Lawrence holds down the right tackle spot. Both Blackmar and Lawrence have started in 28 and 27 straight games, respectively.
Defensive line — Sophomore James Lynch, junior Bravvion Roy and senior Ira Lewis will be the three key names on the defensive line this weekend. Lynch is tied for fifth in the Big 12 with a pair of sacks. Roy, who is 6-foot-1, 330 pounds, is considered one of the strongest players on the team.
Linebackers — A trio of juniors make up the linebacker unit. Clay Johnston will hold things down in the middle, while Henry Black and Jordan Williams are on each of Johnston. Despite missing the season opener, Johnston has already recorded 16 tackles on the season. He paced the team with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops, in the loss against Duke. Black and Williams have combined to make 17 tackles this season.
Secondary — Cornerback Derrek Thomas is the lone senior starter in the secondary. Junior Grayland Arnold is the team’s other corner, while junior Blake Lynch and Chris Miller are slated to start at the two safety positions. Thomas, a graduate transfer from Temple, recorded an interception against UTSA. Lynch, meanwhile, is making plays on the defensive end after recording 17 catches for 269 yards as a receiver last season.
SPECIAL TEAMS — Junior Connor Martin currently holds the program’s career record for field goal percentage (.862) in his two-plus seasons. Martin is tied for 10th in school history with 25 career field goals made. Martin also filled in for punter following an injury to Drew Galitz in 2017. Galitz leads the Big 12 in punting with an average of 45 yards per punt.
FUN FACT — In Matt Rhule’s five season as a head coach, he has sealed the deal when leading or tied entering the fourth quarter. Rhule’s teams have won 28 consecutive games when leading or tied entering the final period.
VEGAS SAYS… According to Bovada, Baylor is considered a 7.5-point favorite as of Friday afternoon. The line has dropped a couple points from its initial spread due to the action on the Jayhawks. I might have considered picking Kansas to cover at the original line, but I just don’t feel comfortable doing so until I see this team actually play well against a league foe.
Prediction: Baylor 33, Kansas 23
Record against spread: 2-1