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WATCH: Converted linebacker Abram Smith powers Baylor Bears’ rushing attack in win

Sep 4, 2021; San Marcos, Texas, USA;  Baylor Bears wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (9) runs the ball against Texas State Bobcats cornerback Michael LoVett III (21) in the second quarter at Bobcat Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; San Marcos, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (9) runs the ball against Texas State Bobcats cornerback Michael LoVett III (21) in the second quarter at Bobcat Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Converted linebacker Abram Smith ran for two touchdowns to help the visiting Baylor Bears erase an early deficit and defeat the Texas State Bobcats 29-20 in both teams’ season opener Saturday in San Marcos, Texas.

Smith, who arrived at Baylor as a running back but played linebacker until this spring, finished with 118 yards on 19 carries while backfield mate Trestan Ebner had 20 rushes for 120 yards. Gerry Bohanon went 15 of 24 passing for 148 yards.

Texas State quarterback Brady McBride completed 20 of 40 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.

McBride’s first interception on the Bobcats’ second drive of the game was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by JT Woods, giving Baylor the first lead. Texas State responded with a 14-play, 72-yard drive resulting in a 21-yard Seth Keller field goal.

Texas State took a 10-7 lead with 6:41 left in the second quarter when McBride found Marcell Barbee for a 12-yard touchdown.

Before the half ended, the Bears logged a 13-play, 75-yard drive culminating in Smith’s first score of the game, a 3-yard push up the middle in the final minute.

Baylor extended its lead to 17-10 with a field goal early in the third quarter. On its next possession, it romped down the field with five straight plays worth double-digit yards. The last was Smith’s second touchdown, a 13-yard run to the right with one cut to get himself some separation and make it 24-10.

Texas State managed a 38-yard field goal, but the Bears matched it with Isaiah Hankins’ second field goal of the evening two drives later. With the game starting to slip out of reach, McBride threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter; Jalen Pitre and Jairon McVea were on the receiving end for Baylor.

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The Bobcats pieced together a late drive aided by two defensive penalties, and Jahmyl Jeter ran in from two yards out to cut the deficit to 27-20 with 1:19 to play. But Baylor recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt.

On a last-ditch play to end the game, Texas State committed an illegal double-forward pass out of its end zone, resulting in a safety to puff up Baylor’s score.

Baylor launched its season with a win, just two years removed from an end-of-year top-10 ranking in the major polls and a Big 12 Championship Game appearance.

–Field Level Media