Zach Smith would be the University of Tulsa’s quarterback the next time he started.
Smith was the first quarterback to take a snap Oct. 28, 2017, at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. He was making his 10th start at Baylor as a sophomore, the season before he transferred to TU. Shane Buechele was on the opposing sideline, starting for Texas. Buechele now plays quarterback for No. 24 SMU.
Saturday, the two quarterbacks will match skills again, but throwing the ball for different teams in a different conference.
“I remember playing him,” Smith said Tuesday. “I’ve met him a couple of times — after that game and stuff like that. He’s a good guy. I’m looking forward to playing him again.”
It was odd for a game between Texas and Baylor to be kicking off at 11 a.m. with no national attention, but that’s what happens when both programs have new coaches and losing records. The Longhorns were fighting to get to .500 at 3-4. The Bears were just trying to get a win at 0-7.
Both teams also had a quarterback carousel throughout the season, with Smith and Buechele getting the nods that day. Smith was making his sixth start in a row. Buechele split time with Sam Ehlinger that season, but Ehlinger didn’t travel to Waco because of a concussion.
Smith threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on Baylor’s first drive that day. Charlie Brewer trotted out the next drive and was Baylor’s starting quarterback the rest of the season.
By the time Baylor had two guys line up behind center, Buechele finally threw a pass. He finished the day with 256 yards passing and a TD in a 38-7 Texas victory. Smith was 4-for-11 with 37 yards after entering the game again later.
Smith played in one more game with Baylor, against TCU in the final game of the 2017 season. Buechele left Texas after last season as a graduate transfer.
Both QBs have two years of eligibility remaining after gaining Big 12 experience.
Both were named starters before their team’s season opener this year.
Smith has posted better numbers each week as he knocks off the rust after sitting out a season because of transfer rules. He has 1,018 yards passing and five TDs through four games. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 1 against Michigan State.
Buechele has played a major role in SMU’s undefeated season. He has passed for 1,385 yards and 10 TDs with five interceptions with five games under his belt for the Mustangs.
“I think they bring confidence and bring experience and give you an opportunity to continue to keep growing as they want to continue to keep growing within what they’re doing,” TU coach Philip Montgomery said. “Whatever the situation was that guys are leaving, they were looking for something different, something new and, I think both of those guys are probably enjoying the experiences that they’re having right now.”