The Bears and the Red Raiders travel to Arlington for their annual throw down. A few keys for each team.
Meet Charlie Brewer
If injuries have done nothing else, they've confirmed that Charlie Brewer is ahead of schedule at the quarterback position. In last week's win at Kansas, Brewer looked every bit the part and the player that made him one of the best prep quarterbacks in Texas history. If the Bears can continue to mold their offense to Brewer's strengths, Baylor won't lack at quarterback.
Let's remember that 1-8 Baylor took both West Virginia and Baylor to the brink before suffering losses. Of course, the Bears also lost close games to Liberty and UTSA, so the Bears are used to that disappointing feeling that comes with heartbreak. Teams typically learn how to finish close games along the way, Matt Rhule's team is still waiting to reap the benefits of all those close calls.
Injuries, Injuries, everywhere
Matt Rhule's first squad filled up the training room. Receivers Chris Platt and Pooh Stricklin along with quarterback Anu Solomon are done for the season. As are linebacker Clay Johnston and punter Drew Galitz for the season. Last week the Bears were missing running backs John Lovett and Trestan Ebner, wide receiver Tony Nicholson and quarterback Zach Smith. To compensate the Bears are playing a ton of true freshman in an attempt to find warm bodies.
Wanna Get Away?
Let week in Lubbock; Tech fans were confused by the clock management and outraged by the total collapse in the last three minutes of the Red Raider loss to Kansas State. Questions are swirling about Kliff Kingsbury's future as well. The Red Raiders might be the most excited team in America to board a plane and leave town.
Death, Taxes, and Tech Passers
Nic Shimonek is following in the lineage of Tech quarterbacks and sitting among the leaders in passing among FBS signal callers. Shimonek will leave Tech as a one-year starter who throws for over 4,000 yards, just like so many of his predecessors. Like Patrick Mahomes, you can't blame Shimonek for the Red Raider's failings in the loss column. He's holding up his end of the bargain.
For the first time in four seasons, Tech's defense is on pace to finish better than last or next to last among Big 12 defensive units. David Gibbs deserves a medal for his efforts to rebuild the Tech defense. If football is a symbiotic sport, the Red Raider defensive improvement is, in part, due to a renewed dedication to the running game. Tech's defensive strides haven't produced Big 12 wins, while Gibbs' crew is improved, in the Big 12, average defenses get torched.
For the first time in a while, Texas Tech would love to get into a track meet with Baylor. Baylor's defense is the worst in the league, and their offense isn't explosive enough to make up the difference. Tech, on the other hand, believes that it can score with anyone in the country. The Red Raiders would love to challenge Baylor to keep up on Saturday.
Notes and Numbers
The series between Tech and Baylor is deadlocked at 37-37-1.
Saturday is the seventh straight meeting in Arlington.
Charlie Brewer's 73% completion percentage is the best debut for a Baylor quarterback since 2000.
Baylor's Taylor Young is 4th on the Bear's all-time tackles for loss list.
Baylor has played 17 true freshmen over the first nine weeks, a total that ranks fourth nationally.
Tech Nic Shimonek is 4th in the FBS in passing yards.
Keke Coutee is 5th in the FBS in receptions with 69 and 4th in yards with 1,026.
Tech's sophomore linebacker Jordyn Brooks is on pace for 100 tackles in 2017.