Baylor looks for improvement against Texas Southern

Sports

Baylor will look to build on its uneven season-opening performance in its final preparation for Big 12 Conference play when it hosts Texas Southern on Saturday evening in Waco, Texas.

The Bears had their hands full with Texas State in their first game, beating the Bobcats on the road 29-20 thanks to a second-half offensive surge and a dominating ground attack.

Baylor (1-0) got 238 yards combined rushing from Trestan Ebner (120 yards on 20 carries) and Abram Smith (118 and two touchdowns on 19 totes) and a workmanlike starting debut from quarterback Gerry Bohanon (15 of 24 for 148 yards).

Ebner became the first player in program history to record 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in his career.

“There was confidence, and that confidence grew as the game went on,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said Monday. “I think everyone felt good about the win (over Texas State) but also knew we could have played a lot better.”

The Bears’ defense allowed Texas State just 235 total yards and picked off three passes, including one three minutes into the game that was returned for a 20-yard TD by JT Woods.

Aranda said he saw too many penalties, as the Bears were flagged 11 times for 99 yards.

“There were some penalties that were careless and were not reflective of who we are and who we want to be,” he said. “I take responsibility for that.”

Texas Southern (0-1) heads to Waco on the heels of a 40-17 loss to Prairie View A&M on Saturday in the Labor Day Classic at Houston.

Jalen Brown threw for 181 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-41 passing while LaDarius Owens rushed for 46 yards and a score to lead the Tigers in the setback. Ke’Lenn Davis led Texas Southern with seven catches for 79 yards.

Texas Southern’s defense struggled in the loss as Prairie View converted 8 of 16 third downs and went 2-for-2 on fourth down.

“Defensively we’ve got to get off the field,” Texas Southern coach Clarence McKinney said.

Texas Southern has yet to win a game with McKinney on the field. They’ve lost 14 games since he was hired in 2019. One game in the Tigers’ truncated 2020 season, played in spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, went down as a win via Alcorn State’s forfeit.

“Our season isn’t going to be defined by one game,” McKinney said. “I feel good about what we’re building. We were ready to play but we just didn’t get it done.”

The Saturday contest will be first-ever meeting between the programs. It’s also the first game Baylor has played against a current Southwestern Athletic Conference member.

–Field Level Media

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