Brewer will keep UT de­fense on its toes

Horns well aware QB has given Bears’ at­tack a pick-me-up

Houston Chronicle - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Nick Moyle STAFF WRITER nmoyle@ex­press-news.net twit­ter.com/nr­moyle

AUSTIN — Texas fresh­man safety Caden Sterns has noth­ing but mis­er­able mem­o­ries of Char­lie Brewer.

Be­fore he was sling­ing it for Bay­lor, Brewer was an all-state quar­ter­back at Austin Lake Travis. Ci­bolo Steele’s de­fense, led by Sterns, was hope­less against Brewer when they squared off in 2016, los­ing 59-56 to the even­tual state cham­pion Cava­liers.

“In high school, I don’t think he threw an in­com­ple­tion against us,” Sterns said. “He de­stroyed us.”

Sterns was a bit hy­per­bolic in his rec­ol­lec­tion — but only a bit.

Brewer com­pleted 25 of 33 passes for 400 yards and three touch­downs in the Cava­liers’ win and con­nected on all 14 pass at­tempts in the first half.

While ninth-ranked Texas (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) has re­gained its na­tional stand­ing af­ter reel­ing off five straight wins, in­clud­ing a 48-45 win over pre­vi­ously un­beaten Ok­la­homa at the Cot­ton Bowl, Bay­lor (4-2, 2-1) and Brewer have flown un­der the radar.

This is not the same abysmal Bears team that sput­tered to a 1-11 record in 2017.

Bay­lor owns wins over Kansas and Kansas State and its of­fense has av­er­aged 499.5 yards per game to rank 15th in the na­tion. In a 66-33 loss to Ok­la­homa, Brewer chucked the ball 60 times, com­plet­ing 38 passes for 400 yards and ac­count­ing for three touch­downs in a game Bay­lor kept close un­til OU pulled away late in the third quar­ter.

Texas has won three straight over its coun­ter­part from Waco and will be fa­vored against Bay­lor on Satur­day at Royal-Memo­rial Sta­dium. But UT coach Tom Her­man won’t al­low the Longhorns to en­ter the game over­con­fi­dent.

“I don't think we're at a place right now where you can say win­ning is ex­pected, and I think that's OK,” Her­man said. “I think win­ning right now is the fruit of the la­bor of the week of prepa­ra­tion, and it should be cel­e­brated im­mensely, you know, whether you're beat­ing Tulsa or Ok­la­homa, it doesn't mat­ter.”

Sterns and the Longhorns’ de­fense will have their hands full against Bay­lor. Re­ceivers Jalen Hurd and Den­zel Mims have com­bined for 999 re­ceiv­ing yards and six touch­downs, and the Hurd also has rushed for 99 yards and two scores.

Bay­lor run­ning backs JaMy­cal Hasty and John Lovett have each av­er­aged more than 5.3 yards per at­tempt, and Brewer has uti­lized his legs to score a team-high four rush­ing touch­downs.

“He has a chance to be spe­cial,” Her­man said of Brewer. “They've opened up the of­fense a lit­tle bit more, that's un­de­ni­able. That's a credit to their coach­ing staff, too, for rec­og­niz­ing the per­son­nel that they have and the fact that they've got a re­ally, re­ally, re­ally, re­ally good quar­ter­back.”

A team like Bay­lor il­lus­trates how gru­el­ing the Big 12 slate can be for any de­fense, even one with as much tal­ent as UT’s. Texas did an ac­cept­able job of hold­ing Ok­la­homa’s of­fense in check through three quar­ters, but whether due to com­pla­cency or a di­min­ished ur­gency or poor play- call­ing, the Longhorns fal­tered in the fourth quar­ter, sur­ren­der­ing three touch­downs over the fi­nal nine min­utes.

Bay­lor isn’t Ok­la­homa, but Texas can’t af­ford to fall asleep against an of­fense ca­pa­ble of putting seven points on the board in a blink.

Even af­ter Texas lim­ited Brewer to 181 yards in its 38-7 rout last year, the play­ers un­der­stand there’s lit­tle room for er­ror. Not that Her­man would let any hubris creep in.

“The cool thing is we're still at a point in our pro­gram where, I mean, it's an im­pos­si­bil­ity al­most that we would have any kind of let­ting off of the gas or ar­ro­gance or think we're go­ing to roll our hel­mets out and think we're go­ing to win foot­ball games,” Her­man said. “Be­cause have you seen the last four years?”

This sea­son has proved a pleas­ant di­ver­gence from year’s past, and Texas can con­tinue to so­lid­ify its stand­ing as one of the top teams in the na­tion by down­ing Brewer and Bay­lor and ex­tend­ing its win­ning streak to six games.

Alonzo Adams / As­so­ci­ated Press

Quar­ter­back Char­lie Brewer, who threw 60 passes in Bay­lor’s loss to Ok­la­homa, spear­heads a Bears of­fen­sive at­tack that av­er­ages 499.5 yards per game this sea­son.

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