Baylor had three interceptions, Abram Smith rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bears defeated the Texas State Bobcats 29-20 on Saturday.
Baylor played its first regular-season game outside the Big 12 in 715 days after its 2020 non-conference games were canceled due to COVID-19-related issues.
The Bears are unbeaten in eight games against the Bobcats dating back to 1909, but it was a stiffer test after having outscored Texas State 279-73 in their previous meetings.
Baylor returns 10 starters on defense and that unit responded by holding Texas State to 235 yards, including 79 yards rushing. The Bobcats scored their second touchdown with 1:19 remaining in the game.
Texas State's Brady McBride was continually pressured -- looking like he was trying to find his way out of a cornfield maze.
Baylor had an early read on McBride. J.T. Woods stepped in front of a receiver on a first-down dump pass and raced 20 yards for the Bears' first touchdown.
The pick came one possession after Terrel Bernard beat a receiver to the middle of the field for a near interception that bounced off his chest. Bernard was playing in his first game since suffering a season-ending shoulder injury Nov. 7, 2020.
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Baylor's Jalen Pitre and Jairon McVea each had an interception in the fourth quarter to help seal the season-opening victory.
McBride's elusiveness was needed and paid off when he scrambled out of the pocket and tossed a 23-yard pass downfield to Donnovan Moorer to Baylor's 28-yard line. The play would lead to Texas State's lone touchdown, a 12-yard strike from McBride to Marcell Barbee.
Texas State hosted Baylor for the first time in series history.
It also marked only the second home game at Bobcat Stadium against a Big 12 team. Texas Tech made the only other visit to San Marcos, defeating Texas State 58-10 on Sept. 8, 2012.
Known previously for dynamic offenses, Baylor's defense demonstrated its might in the season opener.
The Bears limited the Bobcats to 45 yards rushing and just 14 first downs prior to their penultimate possession, a 10-play, 65-yard drive capped by Jahmyl Jeter's 2-yard touchdown.
Baylor's confidence in the unit was displayed early when its staff opted to attempt, and convert, a fourth-and-1 at its own 34-yard-line with 4 minutes left in the first quarter.
NOT THIS TIME
Pitre had two interceptions last season for Baylor, returning both for a touchdown. The senior was brought down quickly after McBride's second interception.
Baylor: vs. Texas Southern on Saturday.
Texas State: at Florida International on Saturday.
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