Connect with us


Quarterback to Back: Which Zach Smith Will We See against OSU?



When Seth Russell went down with a season-ending ankle injury last year, true freshman Zach Smith stepped in for a football program with much more to worry about than who was starting behind center. He performed admirably for the reeling Bears considering his experience level and even captained the team to a bowl win.

But with Matt Rhule planning for his first year at Baylor — and with his knowledge of his own O-line issues — the first-year head coach went with the more-experienced, more-mobile option, Arizona transfer Anu Solomon. Two weeks and two losses to Liberty and UTSA (as well as an injury to Solomon) later, Smith was back in. He’s given the Baylor offense new life with his ability to stretch the field. And he’s shown he has a propensity to lock in on receivers and get himself into trouble.

Let’s take a look at Smith and how he matches up with OSU’s record-setter, Mason Rudolph. I’m only including stats from Baylor’s last three games since Smith only attempted one pass each against Liberty and UTSA.

Back to Back Att Comp Pct. Avg. Yards Yards/Att TD INT Rating Total QBR
Mason Rudolph 173 117 67.6% 381.8 11.0 16 4 186.22 88.0
Zach Smith 128 71 55.4% 344.3 7.9 8 5 135.02 51.4*

Rudolph is the better quarterback on the better offense. Baylor is 0-5. Not a debate. But for the sake of comparison let’s look at what Smith and this offense is capable of.

Against Oklahoma, Smith completed 66 percent of his passes for 463 yards and four scores without an interception. The Sooners did well not to start 0-2 in conference play against Baylor and Iowa State. Another showing like that from Smith and this Saturday’s game could get dicey.

But the sophomore book-ended his coming out party with sub-par showings at Duke and at Kansas State where he combined to go 38 of 78 (48.7 percent) and throw four touchdowns to four interceptions. Hopefully, Oklahoma teams don’t bring out the best in him.

Smith may be Baylor’s wildcard, as Thomas Fleming broke down in film study, but he represents one side of what should be a QB mismatch on Saturday. He has proven arm talent but has been almost as inconsistent as he is turnover-prone. If Oklahoma State can take advantage of the latter, the Cowboys should cruise to their second conference win.

*Total QBR rating is based on ESPN’s own formula so it includes all five games Smith has participated in.

Most Read