‘It’s a Brewer thing’: Sophomore quarterback leads homecoming comeback

Baylor sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer evades defenders on Saturday at McLane Stadium. Brewer replaced senior quarterback Jalan McClendon in the third quarter and led the Bears on three touchdown drives to seal the win 35-31. Brewer finished with 85 total yards of offense and two touchdown passes. Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

By Ben Everett | Sports Editor

Oklahoma State sophomore wide receiver Tylan Wallace was not about to let the Cowboys lose. Based on ESPN’s win probability chart, the Cowboys had an 89 percent chance of winning after Wallace scored back-to-back touchdowns late in the third quarter to give Oklahoma State a 24-14 lead on Saturday at McLane Stadium.

Enter Charlie Brewer.

After putting up his worst performance in a Baylor uniform last week against West Virginia (1-for-8 with three interceptions) and suffering a concussion in the process, the Bears’ sophomore quarterback spent the entire week in concussion protocol. Senior quarterback Jalan McClendon took all the reps with the first team and Baylor head coach Matt Rhule elected to start the veteran graduate transfer over Brewer.

With the Bears down double digits late-game on homecoming weekend, Rhule made the decision to insert Brewer into the game. Rhule said his coaching decision had nothing to do with how McClendon was playing, but that he felt Brewer could make an impact at that point in the game.

“Finally, fourth quarter, I just thought, ‘You know what, this is the time.’ It has nothing to do with Jalan,” Rhule said. “[I] just thought this is the time that maybe we needed a spark, and maybe him running around would make some plays and it certainly did. He extended a ton of drives there with his feet and certainly made the plays at the end.”

On his first play, Brewer didn’t need to do much. He handed the ball off to sophomore running back John Lovett, who took off for a 75-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 24-21 late in the third quarter.

With 8:55 remaining in the game, Oklahoma State junior running back Justice Hill gave the Cowboys a 31-21 lead with a 2-yard rushing touchdown. Brewer entered for his second drive of the game and led the Bears on an 86-yard drive that ended in a 36-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jalen Hurd. After a fourth-down stop, the Bears capped off the comeback win when Brewer threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Denzel Mims in the closing seconds.

Rhule said Brewer stayed even-keeled through it all, and that was why the Bears were able to pull off the win.

“I think when the game comes down to the end, Charlie is not too rattled,” Rhule said. “He’s not too high, he’s not too low and he just keeps playing, and I think the rest of our team does that.”

Junior linebacker Clay Johnston, who led the Bears with a career-high 17 tackles, said the team had full trust in Brewer down the stretch.

“We were all in the moment,” Johnston said. “We were just like, ‘We trust Charlie. We trust Coach Rhule,’ and Charlie handled it well obviously and produced.”

Brewer cleared concussion protocol on Friday afternoon, but Rhule planned on letting him sit out the whole game in order to fully recover. Rhule said Brewer had a great attitude despite being told he was not going to start.

“Best thing I can say about Charlie is when I brought him to my office yesterday, I said, ‘Hey, I’m not going to start you.’ He didn’t act entitled. He didn’t act mad,” Rhule said. “He was happy for Jalan. He said, ‘I’ll be ready when you need me.’ And when I said to him in the middle of the second quarter, ‘Are you ready to go?’ he’s like, ‘I’m ready if you need me.’ It wasn’t about him, and so when you have that, that’s important.”

Brewer finished the game with 56 passing yards and two touchdowns to go along with six rushes for 29 yards. Despite not playing a part in Lovett’s 75-yard touchdown aside from handing the ball to him, Lovett said Brewer’s presence alone makes the offense work.

“Charlie do what Charlie do,” Lovett said. “It’s a Brewer thing.”