Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter, Story by Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Baylor football fell to UTSA 17-10 tonight at McLane Stadium to drop to 0-2 on the season.
The Bears (0-2) struggled on the offensive side all night as the Roadrunners (1-0) escaped with a season-opening win.
Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said the team continues to compete despite coming up empty in their first two games.
“I think they’re pressing a little bit. I think they’re not expecting something great to happen right now,” Rhule said. “We’ve had two dogfights come down to the wire, and we haven’t been able to win it. But, shoot, that’s football.”
Following a debut that saw him throw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, senior quarterback Anu Solomon only managed 121 yards and one touchdown in his second game in a Baylor uniform.
Solomon put the offense’s inability to move the ball with much efficiency squarely on his shoulders.
“I wasn’t connecting,” Solomon said. “Receivers were ready to play today. I just wasn’t connecting with them.”
On the first drive, the Baylor offense was pushed back into its own territory due to self-inflicted woulds, including an offensive pass interference and multiple false start penalties.
The Baylor defense forced a three-and-out on UTSA’s first possession to get the ball back but Solomon tossed an interception at midfield as the Roadrunners regained possession.
Baylor special teams came up big with a block of UTSA’s 47-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first quarter.
Baylor’s first drive of the second quarter saw Solomon’s pass attempt on third down deflected to force a three-and-out, but UTSA sophomore punt returner Matt Guidry muffed the punt, resulting in good field position for the Bears.
The following play, Solomon threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Denzel Mims to give the Bears a 7-0 lead following the extra point.
With 27 seconds left in the first half, UTSA senior quarterback Dalton Sturm connected with senior wide receiver Josh Stewart on a 7-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
UTSA received the second half kickoff and proceeded to march down the field and score a touchdown on a pass from Sturm to senior wide receiver Kerry Thomas Jr. from 29-yards out.
Baylor sent out sophomore kicker Connor Martin on a fourth down in UTSA territory, but an illegal substitution by the Roadrunners prompted the Bears to go for it. Solomon was sacked on the play resulting in a turnover on downs.
Sophomore cornerback Blake Lynch batted down a pass in the red zone to stop another UTSA drive and hold the Roadrunners to 38-yard field goal as the Bears fell behind 17-7 heading to the fourth quarter.
After another Baylor drive stalled out, the Bears managed to stop UTSA at midfield and force a punt after a sack on third down by sophomore linebacker Eric Ogor.
Having driven to the UTSA 38-yard line, the Bears chances of scoring were halted when Solomon was sacked by sophomore defensive end Eric Banks.
With six minutes remaining in the game, Baylor put together a drive ending in a 20-yard field goal by Martin to cut the lead to 17-10 with 2:40 remaining.
The Baylor defense forced a three-and-out and punt by the Roadrunners to set up a potential game-tying drive with 2:16 remaining.
The Bears couldn’t gain any ground as UTSA forced a turnover on downs and went on to win 17-10.
UTSA controlled the ball for more than 38 minutes compared to 21 for Baylor, wearing down the Bears on defense. The Roadrunners tallied 375 total yards of offense while holding Baylor to 274, but once again UTSA was able to keep the chains moving by converting on seven of 16 third down conversions.
Even though the defense spent nearly twice as long on the field as the offense, senior safety Davion Hall said that the defense made big strides this week.
“Defensively we did a lot better than last week,” Hall said. “But we got to keep moving forward. We’ve still got a lot of improving to do.”
Baylor looks to grab their first win of the season as they face Duke at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Durham, North Carolina.