By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer
Baylor football (1-8) is set to square off with Texas Tech (4-5) Saturday in the ninth annual Texas Farm Bureau Shootout.
The series between the Bears and Red Raiders will be played in Arlington for the seventh time and the record between the two teams is tied at 37-37-1. Last season, sophomore quarterback Zach Smith started the game, passing for 377 yards. The Bears offense racked up 600 total yards, but committed four turnovers, allowing the Red Raiders to score a 54-35 blowout victory.
With Smith still questionable for the game, freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer is slated to make his second start of the season. Last week against the Kansas Jayhawks, the freshman completed 79 percent of his passes, 23 of his 29 attempts.
In his weekly press conference, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he feels the Bears coaching staff has done a great job building their young player core and that Brewer presents a stiff challenge as a versatile quarterback.
“Anytime you start as many young players as they did this season, which I’m sure was a part of their plan, you see those guys grow week in and week out,” Kingsbury said. “They’ve done a nice job bringing those guys along. Brewer is very elusive, can extend plays. For a young player, he really takes care of the football well.”
During his press conference, Kingsbury said the threat sophomore wide receiver Denzel Mims presents on the outside, due to his ability to get out in space and make people miss, is a difficult matchup for his defense.
Texas Tech is also an offensive threat in its own right. Last season in the shootout, the Red Raiders surpassed the Bears in passing with 586 yards. The Red Raiders are poised for similar production. Texas Tech senior quarterback Nik Shimonek has thrown for at least 300 yards in five games this season, two of which were in his last two games against the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas State Wildcats.
Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said the Red Raiders are a difficult team to match up with because of their versatility.
“Offensively, they’re dynamic,” Rhule said. “They go fast, so they challenge you with tempo. They challenge you, they spread the field. They do everything. Coach [Kingsbury] does a great job.”
Red Raider junior wide receiver Keke Coutee also poses a threat. Last year against the Bears, Coutee had a career high in receiving with 221 yards. Last week against Kansas State, he matched his career high in receptions, catching 12 passes for 189 yards. Coutee has been one of Shimonek’s favorite targets, having three games of at least 150 yards receiving.
The Bears will look to players like sophomore linebacker Jordan Williams who, Rhule said, is doing a good job at commanding the defense with his aggressive play.
“We’ve challenged him to become more physical, and I thought he played really, really physically in that game,” Rhule said. “I think the thing that he did was, when you face those offenses that are so multiple, there’s so many times you have to get everyone on the same page. I thought Jordan was so calming out there. He’s got everyone on the same page.”
The Bears will rely on senior linebacker Taylor Young, who played a breakout game last weekend against the Jayhawks. Young, who switched to middle linebacker to replace an injured sophomore Clay Johnston, recorded 10 tackles.
Rhule said Young had a more than efficient week preparing for the upcoming game and his play showed the work he put in.
“I thought it was really special during the week leading up to it and then to be able to go out in the game and play at that level,” Rhule said. “Not just in terms of the production, 10 tackles, tackle for loss and a sack. Not just that but, the way he played, what it looked like on film.”
The Bears look to capture a second win against Texas Tech at 11 a.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.