X Factors: Why the Bears’ ceiling for the season is sky high

by Cole Niles | September 9, 2019

The Bears easily handled the UTSA Roadrunners at home this weekend, handing them a convincing 63-14 loss and improving to 2-0 on the season. The Bears looked ready to pounce from the moment they first stepped on the field, never letting off of the gas until the final whistle was blown.

In large part, the Bears’ dominance in these first few games was expected, but what was unexpected was exactly who would be dominating. Baylor has a few “X factor” players that might come up big later in the season because of their ability to put Baylor over the edge in Big 12 play. Here are 4 players that make Baylor’s ceiling this football season sky high.

RB Tristen Ebner
In the first two games of the season, Tristan Ebner has stood out from among the rest of the pack as a potential X factor because of his penchant for explosive plays out of the backfield. In only 4 carries he rushed for 76 yards, including this beautiful run, where he continues to keep the play alive at all costs.

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It raises Baylor’s big play ability to have runners like Ebner on the team, guys who simply find a way to make explosive plays consistently.

LB Clay Johnston
Clay Johnston is simply an animal. The senior defensive stalwart is an absolute terror for opposing offenses because of his relentless motor. Here is one of his brutal sacks from Saturday:

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It’s not that nobody knows he is coming – the entire defense is aware of Johnston’s presence. It is simply the fact that he is bigger, faster, and stronger than just about anyone he lines up across from. While the defense is full of playmakers, count on Johnston to be the guy that makes the biggest plays in the biggest games.

S Grayland Arnold
If you look at the defensive box score for Grayland Arnold, it doesn’t scream “x factor”. He only logged 3 tackles for Saturday’s game. His defense isn’t what makes him such a valuable player though, but rather his value on Special Teams. Arnold is the most talented returner on the entire Baylor team, evidenced in his glorious punt return halfway through the second quarter:

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Arnold possesses the ability to weave through defenders without losing any of his speed, as well as explosiveness once he finds a hole. His potential as an elite punt returner bodes well for the Bears in games where they need an extra offensive boost to get them over the hump.

Gerry Bohanon
The final “x factor” on the Bears is not even a starter. QB Gerry Bohanon is currently only backing up Charlie Brewer, but if Saturday’s game was any indication of his big play ability, then the Bears are in great hands even if Brewer got hurt.

Bohanon was the Bears leading rusher on the game with almost 100 yards on only 7 attempts. Yes, as a backup quarterback he led the team in rushing. And they weren’t fluke runs. Here we see just how strong Bohanon is even after contact.

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Gerry shakes off three defenders simply due to his brute strength. This run didn’t end in a touchdown, but it still shows Bohanon’s ability to completely alter a game with his legs. While Charlie Brewer’s starting spot should be safe, rest assured that if Bohanon’s number is ever called the Bears are in safe hands.

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