By Collin Bryant | Sports Editor
The Baylor Bears will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 7 p.m. tomorrow at McLane Stadium. The Bears (0-1) will look for a better result than last week’s season opener, where they fell to the Liberty Flames, 45-48.
Rhule said that the Bears will rely yet again on younger players to bring them victory, getting them even more field time than the 10 that played versus Liberty.
“Timarcus Davis is up. He’s healthy. [Rob] Saulin didn’t get in the game last week. Gavin Holmes didn’t get in the game last week. They should’ve played,” Rhule said. “We’re talking about a couple other ones too. So we’re going to watch practice and see who’s going in, but a lot of those guys are ready now.”
This will be the first time Baylor plays UTSA, with the programs set to face off again in 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The Bears open as a 16-point favorite over UTSA, according to Sports Illustrated. The Roadrunners have started strong over that last six seasons, going 5-1 in season openers while being 3-1 when playing away from home in openers.
Rhule said that as the Bears prepare for UTSA, they have maintained a proper attitude following the loss to Liberty.
“I think the players have responded really well, and I’m pleased with their ability to take accountability and ownership,” Rhule said. “Coaches, all of us have looked to see what we could have done better and we look forward to making some improvement between the first game and the second game.”
Rhule also said that the Roadrunners present a specific challenge for Baylor and that a win won’t come without heavy resistance.
“As we get ready for a really good UTSA team, [head] coach [Frank] Wilson has done a really nice job there really in one year,” Rhule said. “They’re a tough, hard-nosed, physical program. They’ll challenge you. They won’t back down from you. Coming out of the last game, that’s the one thing that I think bothers all of us.”
Wilson said in his weekly press conference that playing Baylor will serve as a good measuring stick for where his team is early in the season.
“I think they’ve worked extremely hard for this moment, and you always kind of want to see exactly where you’re at right now this time of the year,” Wilson said. “Preparation is still at hand, but [we are] very excited about the opportunity to go play a very quality football team.”
This may be the inaugural meeting for the two programs, but it is not the first run at UTSA for Baylor senior quarterback Anu Solomon, who played the Roadrunners twice during his time at the University of Arizona. Solomon passed for 460 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions in two career games against UTSA.
Rhule said that he was impressed with Solomon’s performance against Liberty and that he is still confident in his quarterback heading into Saturday.
“I thought Anu was really good,” Rhule said. “You guys don’t have the benefit of seeing the tape, but on two of the touchdowns, he took a hit that no one should have to take. And he knew it was coming, because someone busted our protection, but he stood in there and threw it.”
Rhule said he fully expects his team to look a lot different than it did last weekend in their opener.
“I think we’ll be night and day from where we are right now,” Rhule said.