An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: Baylor Bears

May 11, 2023, 10:42 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Spring ball is over, and the summer months are upon us making it a great time to take an early look at Utah football’s 2023 opponents.

Next, we take a look at the Baylor Bears who will be Utah football’s opponent for week two of the 2023 college football season after hosting the Florida Gators in week one. 

Utah and Baylor have never played each other, making Saturday, September 9, 2023, another football first for the Utes after they played Penn State for the very first time to end the 2022 season in the Rose Bowl. Interestingly enough, this matchup will also be coming off the heels of a very interesting, year-long, speculation as to whether Utah and other Pac-12 cohorts will eventually be conference-mates in the Big 12.


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The When And Where Of Utah Vs. Baylor

When: Saturday, September 9

Where: McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas

Time: TBD

Network: TBD

Quick Hits On Baylor Ahead Of Utah Football’s Trip To Waco

Much like Utah football’s first opponent in Florida, Baylor left a lot to be desired in 2022 and will be looking for a rebound in 2023. The Bears finished last season 6-7 with a 30-15 loss to Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Baylor will be led by third-year head coach Dave Aranda who has had a bit of a mixed-bag of results early in his tenure. Aranda took over the program during the 2020 Covid-19 season where the team finished 2-7. His second season, in 2021, has so far been his best with the Bears where Aranda took the team to a 12-2 record and a first-place finish in the Big 12. Aranda currently holds a 20-16 record overall with Baylor.

One Bear Drafted, Seven Others Receive UDFA/Mini Camp Invites

The Bears had a nice selection of former 2022 players picked up by the NFL in the Draft at the end of April.


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Most notably defensive end Siaki Ika was picked up in the third round by the Cleveland Browns while seven other Bears teammates either signed undrafted free agent contracts, or received minicamp invites. Offensive lineman Jacob Gall, Khalil Keith and Connor Galvin, along with receiver Galvin Holmes, defensive back Mark Milton, safety Christian Morgan, and tight end Ben Sims will all be fighting for roster spots in the NFL after being key players for Baylor in years past.

Relying On The Transfer Portal

Based off of this assessment after the Bears’ “Green and Gold” spring game, Baylor will be relying heavily on transfers to try and get the ship back on track in 2023.

One of the more interesting areas of concern for the Bears in the coming year appears to be offensive line where Baylor only has one returner from the year before in left guard Gavin Byers. Some familiar names have been brought in to try and shore the line up in Clark and Campbell Barrington who both transferred from rival BYU. (It makes sense seeing the Barrington brothers at Baylor since their offensive coordinator is former BYU OC Jeff Grimes.)


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Mystery At QB For Baylor

It appears Baylor has not settled at a starter for quarterback yet with junior Blake Shapen and Mississippi State transfer Sawyer Robertson battling it out for the nod.

Shapen got the nod last season for the Bears as a sophomore going 233 of 368 for 2,790 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Robertson saw very little action as a freshman at Mississippi State going 6 of 11 for 23 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. However, it does sound like he’s made a very good impression through spring practices at Baylor, keeping the competition going through summer and fall.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: Baylor Bears