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Houston Cougars at Baylor Bears Game Preview

Houston’s redemption tour begins Saturday.

NCAA Football: Houston at Tulane Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, September 19th
Time: 11:00
How to Watch: FOX
Line: Baylor -4.5
Over/Under: 61.5
Location: McLane Stadium (Waco, TX)


Matchup to watch

Baylor Offensive Line against Houston Defensive Line

Houston’s secondary struggled last year, but there were many times where they could have received more help. The Cougars defensive backfield obviously needs to fix some glaring weaknesses, but the line can help them out a little too. Guys like Derek Parish and David Anenih playing new positions last year and Olivier Charles-Pierre was relegated to backup reps last year, but now all will see starting snaps. Payton Turner also evolved as a pass rusher as the year progressed, and should be fun to watch. They’ll face an experienced Baylor offensive line with guys like tackle Connor Galvin, who will test the Coogs. If Houston can control the line of scrimmage and get after quarterback Charlie Brewer, they have a good chance of limiting the Bears offense.

Memphis v Houston Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Houston Key Players

QB Clayton Tune
OT Patrick Paul
DE Payton Turner
LB Grant Stuard
CB Marcus Jones

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Sugar Bowl - Georgia v Baylor

Baylor Key Players

QB Charlie Brewer
RB John Lovett
WR Tyquan Thornton
OT Connor Galvin
LB Terrel Bernard

Houston Keys to the Game

START FAST: Dana Holgorsen’s offense can put up points in a hurry, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest this group will have an explosive year. With Baylor’s offense also being explosive, the Coogs need to get off to a fast start to build confidence and win.

PRESSURE BREWER: This and also wrap him up. Brewer is slippery and tough to take down even when he can’t see the pass rush headed his way. He also rushed for 344 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, so his legs are just as much of a threat as his arm. Forcing him into quicker throws and keeping him contained in the pocket will be huge for the Houston defense.

PROTECT THE PASSER: Clayton Tune ran for his life more than he should have last year, and the offensive line had a lot of growing up to do. Most of them are returning after getting a year of experience, but they still need to improve on keeping Tune upright. The offense goes as far as the line takes them, and letting Tune throw will be a big key.

Baylor Keys to the Game

ATTACK TUNE: Like we mentioned above, Houston’s line struggled to keep Tune calm and upright. Affecting his mindset will go a long ways in getting the ball back to the Bears offense. Like Brewer, Tune’s a capable runner, but he’d prefer to sit back and let his arm do the work. Getting in his face will get him uncomfortable.

LIMIT SPACE FOR RECEIVERS: Marquez Stevenson, Keith Corbin and the Houston receivers are fast and dangerous, so keeping them in front of the Baylor defense is huge. Discipline in covering routes and identifying route combinations will help Baylor succeed, and wrapping up in space becomes imperative with the talent they’ll face.

ATTACK UH SECONDARY: As we mentioned before, the Houston secondary struggled outside of a couple guys. Putting the Cougars secondary in a tough spot will open the field up for Brewer and the offense.

Prediction

Houston doesn’t normally win close, high scoring games. They can score points, but they’ve yet to prove they can outscore a team when the defense isn’t getting many stops. Production on the scoreboard at a high level is the level they need to reach, and that would make them a terrifying team. In Holgorsen’s second year, I think Houston takes that next step.

HOUSTON 42 BAYLOR 38