Bears vs Sam Houston State Position Grades

How do the Bears grade out against Sam Houston State? Well, it's complicated, and it might take a different grade for each half. Join us inside BearsIllustrated.com to see how they score.

A tale of two halves is the story of this game. The first half, you could pretty much flunk the Baylor Bears right out of school. Not much good happened as the Bears fell behind 20-10 to Sam Houston State. The second half though, especially defensively, was excellent. So, let's take a look at the position grades, and give one per half and overall, just for fun.

Quarterbacks: 24-41, 58.5% completion, 3 TDs, 2 Ints, 9 rushes for 80 yards, 1 punt for net 19 yards

For a quarterback with better accuracy than arm strength, a 58.5% completion rate is just not going to get the job done. However, most of Florence's incomplete passes were deep balls or passes trying to take advantage of the man coverage on his outside wide receivers. Florence started the game hitting a deep pass to Terrance Williams for 42 yards on the second play of the game. For the rest of the half though, the Bears would hit on just two passing play for over 20 yards, and they came on back to back plays during the Bears lone touchdown drive of the half.

Florence also threw two interceptions, one which was fully on him and another that might have been due to a receiver giving up on his route. The first was late in the first half with the Bears driving. They only had one more play to get in the end zone or get enough yards for a good kick. Florence tried to go for it all and under threw Terrance Williams. If he could have lofted the ball and put it in front of Williams, it is a touchdown. Good thought, but bad execution. The second was early in the 4th quarter; right after the Bears got the ball back after stopping the Kats on 4th and goal. Florence overthrew Tevin Reese, and the pass was easily intercepted. However to me, it looked like Reese gave up on the pass, but at least did a good job of tackling the defender.

First Half Grade- D

Second Half Grade- B

TOTAL GRADE – C

Running backs: 27 carries for 132 yards, 4.88 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns, 4 catches for 14 yards

While the Bears again had no negative plays (rushes for loss, fumbles) they also were pretty average Saturday night. The longest carry by a running back was 15 yards by Lache Seastrunk. Jarred Salubi struggled hitting the hole, and seemed to dance too much in the back field. The yards per carry was okay, but the Bears backs did not make the Bearkats respect the run enough to open up the play action pass.

In the first half, the Bears backs gained only 40 yards on 12 carries. Their longest carry went for 6 yards, and their lack of a running attack early in the game caused the Bears to settle for 2 field goal attempts (where they made one and missed one). The second half was much better, and more of what the Bears need from their running attack. While they struggled to get those big gains, they at least did enough to set up the play action pass a bit better, and scored two touchdowns.

First Half Grade – C

Second Half Grade – B-

TOTAL GRADE – C+

Wide Receivers: 17 catches, 274 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 rushes for 19 yards

While the numbers for drops have not been posted, a few receivers had a rough game, especially Tevin Reese. With two false start penalties and a few dropped passes, Reese could only grab 5 of his 11 targets. He did finish with 91 yards, but you could make a case that he was at fault for the second Nick Florence interception, though it is tough to say definitively. One receiver that did not struggle was Terrance Williams, who contributed both of the touchdowns for the Bears. He was the only receiver that could consistently beat the aggressive man coverage the Kats played for most of the game.

First Half Grade – B

Second Half Grade – A-

TOTAL GRADE – B+

Tight Ends: 3 receptions for 24 yards, 1 touchdown

I need to go back and rewatch the game again, but it seemed to me the Bears used less of their tight ends in this game, instead going for more of a 4-receiver look on the early downs. Please correct me if I am wrong. Monk seemed to not get as much time especially, and dropped the only pass that came his way. He also had a costly holding penalty as well. Jordan Najvar though had all of the catches for the group, and caught a touchdown pass for the second game in a row.

First Half Grade – B

Second Half Grade – B+

TOTAL GRADE – B+

Offensive Line: 3 sacks allowed

I am not an offensive line expert, so I will leave the deeper analysis to those that are. Also, the best way to judge an offense line is with the coaching tape angle, which I don't have. So saying that, I thought the line was pretty average. I don't know if Salubi was dancing because he didn't have holes, or he just didn't hit them hard enough when they were open. I do know that Florence had to move in the pocket quite a bit more this week, but the Kats were much more blitz happy than what we saw from SMU the previous game.

First Half Grade – C

Second Half Grade – B

TOTAL GRADE – C+

Defensive Line: 15 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery,

The first half was just an awful display of defense, starting with the front 4 guys. They played soft, got little to no pressure on the quarterback, and they were gashed for long runs on the 3 scoring drives for Sam Houston State in the second quarter. It was bad out there for the line Saturday. However, the second half made up for it. On the second pass play of the half, Terrance Lloyd made one of the biggest plays of his career, getting a sack/forced fumble that allowed the Bears to score a quick touchdown and get some momentum. The Bear lineman would get all three of their sacks in the second half, and would go on to pressure Brian Bell several times, to force him to throw 3 second half interceptions.

First Half Grade –D

Second Half Grade – A+

TOTAL GRADE – B

Linebackers: 26 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry

This was a steady performance for the Bears linebackers. After a great debut for both Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey, they both took steps back against Sam Houston State. Hager was still good, leading the Bears in tackles with 10 and had all of the tackles for loss, but he was not as active as he was against SMU. Lackey struggled to find the running back quite a bit, and only finished with 3 tackles. Ahmad Dixon had a bad game for him, taking bad angles, and missing several tackles during the first half. The second half saw the linebackers make more plays and miss fewer tackles, but it was a pretty average game for the guys in the middle of the defense.

First Half Grade – C

Second Half Grade – B

TOTAL GRADE – B-

Cornerbacks: 14 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 passes broken up, 1 tackle for loss

The Bears played quite a bit more man defense this week, and one player in particular excelled at this type of coverage. Demetri Goodson made plays all over the field and did a great job on his man. He tallied 5 tackles, including one for loss and also got a big interception in the 4th quarter. In my mind, he was the player of the game (though one could make a VERY good case for Terrance Lloyd). Alongside him, K. J. Morton played well, but had a few bad plays. He also lined up more at safety than he did in the SMU game. That is something to watch going forward. Morton also contributed an interception that led to a Bears FG that increased the lead to 11. Darius Jones also added an interception and an electrifying return for a touchdown, after he ripped the ball away from the receiver, and then ran 73 yards for the touchdown.

The Bears corners played quite a bit of zone defense in the first half and it was one of the softer zones I remember seeing them play. The receivers had yards of room to make the catch, and at times, it seemed the corners were just giving them the reception. However, at halftime, the defense started to show more man looks, and also tightened up the zone quite a bit. This closed the passing windows, and also got the Bears into great positions for their three interceptions.

First Half Grade – C

Second Half Grade – A+

TOTAL GRADE – B+

Safeties: 15 tackles

The Bears safeties against SMU were playmaking behemoths. This week, they were taken advantage of, especially on play action passes. They also missed a few tackles on receivers and dropped some easy interceptions that landed right in their hands. Sam Holl was invisible for most of the first half it seemed. Both players were at the line of scrimmage quite a bit, as they bit hard on anything resembling a run. Not a lot to say about these guys in that game, so we will just leave it as a C-grade all the way around.

First Half Grade – C

Second Half Grade –C

TOTAL GRADE – C

Special Teams: 2-4 FG, 1 FG blocked, 2 punts, 54 yards per punt, 1 punt return for -5 yards, 5 kickoff returns for 89 yards (17.8 per return)

The Bears kicking game struggled this week, as Aaron Jones shanked a tough angle 24 yard kick badly. It never had a chance. Jones also had a kick blocked late in the 4th quarter, but I could not tell if it was a bad kick, or bad protection. The return game also did not perform very well, with just 17.8 yards per kickoff return. Darryl Stonum brought one kickoff out of the endzone, and only got it to the eight yard line.

The big play for the special teams though was a failed 4th down attempt that was just a disaster of a play. I personally hated the call, but the execution might have been even worse. Brody Trahan, the former quarterback and current backup linebacker had a chance to throw, but did not pull the trigger. He then tried to run for the first down, but could only gain 1 yard. This gave the Bearkats great field position, and allowed them to get a field goal for the lead, which they would hold for the rest of the half.

First Half Grade – D

Second Half Grade – C

TOTAL GRADE – C-


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