Photo provided by Associated Press
Nervous fans thought Baylor’s season could derail after the devastating loss to Oklahoma earlier in November. Matt Rhule answered that concern convincingly last Saturday, when the Bears throttled the Texas Longhorns in front of a packed McLane Stadium.
This game came down to each team’s QB, and perhaps the most impressive part was how Charlie Brewer convincingly outplayed preseason Heisman candidate Sam Ehlinger. Let’s take a look at how Brewer and company did so.
An interesting note about both of these quarterbacks is that they honestly play somewhat similarly. Neither Ehlinger or Brewer like to throw the ball away much, but would rather move their feet in the pocket and try to turn each play into a positive gain if possible. However, because of this, both are susceptible to taking an inordinate amount of sacks.
Looking at the box score, we can immediately see a difference in this category. As a team, the Bears combined for five sacks. The Longhorns combined for only one. Now, this statistic is just as much a testament to Baylor and Texas’ offensive lines, respectively, as it is to the quarterbacks.
But it would be wrong to say that their protection was the only function of this stat discrepancy – no, Brewer was simply more aware than Ehlinger during the game. While Brewer had his head on a consistent swivel, Ehlinger’s poor pocket presence revealed his lack of awareness when pressure mounted.
Pass accuracy became crucial in a game that was generally low scoring for Big 12 standards. Each pass attempt was crucial to working the ball down the field. Although Brewer threw 12 less attempts than Ehlinger, he outgained him in yardage and completion percentage throughout the game.
Ehlinger was a putrid 22-37 on the day, finishing with only 200 yards and no touchdowns. To be fair, Texas star WR Collin Johnson was regulated to the bench with an injury, leaving the Longhorns without their best weapon to throw to. Nevertheless, instead of rising to the occasion, Ehlinger simply folded when it came to pass accuracy.
Along with accuracy comes the need to protect the football, and Brewer did it perfectly. Never forcing something downfield, Brewer took what the defense gave him the entire day. This led to long, systematic drives downfield that tired out the Longhorn defenders. With no interceptions or fumbles to his name, Brewer gets a fantastic grade for ball security.
Ehlinger, on the other hand, has some work to be done in this department. When his team was down, he began to panic, throwing far too many risky passes in hopes that just one might get behind the defense. While that strategy may have worked against other teams, Baylor’s tough defense will simply not allow it, as Grayland Arnold showed on this heave from Ehlinger:
<iframe src=”https://giphy.com/embed/j3UeJrjcrHU0qpnMkc” width=”480″ height=”270″ frameBorder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”https://giphy.com/gifs/j3UeJrjcrHU0qpnMkc”>via GIPHY</a></p>
It’s a clean sweep for Brewer.