In what has become a mild rivalry between the two schools, Texas vs. Baylor has been a tough match-up in recent years. After the rise and fall of the Longhorns under Mack Brown, Baylor has won 4/7 since 2009, including 2 straight from 2010-11 and 2013-14.
But since Baylor’s brief appearance as a national contender ended, the Longhorns have won two-straight, hoping to make it three, for the longest winning streak between the two teams since Texas won 12 straight from 1998-2009.
The Longhorns won in 2015 in Waco, and even though the Bears started wide-receiver Lynx Hawthorne at quarterback, they managed to keep it close. Ultimately, the Bears came up short and the Texas won 23-17.
Last year proved to be even more thrilling, with the scorching sun shining on the two teams, as the Longhorns nailed a field goal with :49 seconds remaining to hand Baylor their first loss of the season.
This year’s match-up has quite a different tune to it.
Texas, with first-year head coach Tom Herman, had high expectations of bringing the Longhorns “back.” But that hasn’t panned out, at least not yet, as a slew of injuries and poor offensive play have plagued the Longhorns as they now sit at 3-4 on the season.
Baylor on the other hand, is still searching for their first win of 2017 (0-7).
Both teams have shown flashes of potency on offense, averaging over 400 yards of total offense per game (UT- 433, BU- 415.4). But it has been defense that has been the major difference for both teams – in different manners.
Texas has played stout defense this season, holding two of the nations’ most dynamic offenses in Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to 29 points and 13 points respectively in back-to-back weeks. The Longhorns have held teams thus far to an average of 388 yards a game, with 267 of those being through the air and the remaining 121 on the ground.
Baylor, on the other hand, has seen its share of challenges on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears have allowed an average of 514 yards per game to opposing offenses (290 yards passing and an astounding 223 yards on the ground), which is by no means a winning formula.
If the Longhorns are going to win their third straight game against the Bears, they must capitalize on Baylor’s porous rush defense. With Sam Ehlinger going through concussion protocol and Shane Buechele not being 100% healthy, running the ball will be especially important for Texas if they hope to leave Waco with a win.
If the better part of 10 years has taught us anything, it’s that Baylor is always a formidable opponent. Even with a winless record, they have competed and stayed in games this season, including a near comeback upset of West Virginia last weekend.
They are without a doubt the best (0-7) team in the nation.
Kickoff is at 11 AM CST at McLane Stadium in Waco, airing on ESPNU.