Texas turned in another dominant defensive performance on Saturday in a 38-7 win over Baylor. Deshon Elliott set the tone early with a pick 6 and the defense was in control throughout the game. Let’s take a look at how the defense and special teams graded out:
Another game, another great performance by the defensive line. Poona Ford was rock solid in the middle, taking on double teams and still finding ways to cause disruption in the backfield. Charles Omenihu had a huge forced fumble that gave Texas the ball deep in Baylor territory. Breckyn Hager saw a huge increase in snaps and played the run better than I expected. His pass rush skills were never a question, but his ability to play the run is helping take his game to the next level. TaQuon Graham and Gerald Wilbon provided quality snaps as backups. It was an all around great effort by the defensive line and they seem to be improving each week.
Malik Jefferson and Gary Johnson once again were around the ball the whole game. With Texas opting to get John Bonney on the field more as the 6th defensive back, it has allowed the team to play their two most athletic linebackers on the field at the same time. Jeffrey McCulloch played nicely in the 4th quarter once the game was out of hand. It’s hard to have a complaint about how the linebackers played on Saturday. This is the type of performance Texas will need on Saturday if they want to have a shot against TCU.
The secondary delivered their 4th Pick 6 of the season, courtesy of Deshon Elliott. Elliott had another outstanding game in run support and is having an All-Big 12 season. Holton Hill is playing even better than Elliott. For weeks, I have wondered aloud if Hill is the most reliable tackler on the defense, and he showed why his is on Saturday. Hill made a 3rd down saving tackle by getting through 2 Baylor defenders and stopping a screen pass. He is playing like a 1st round NFL corner right now. PJ Locke played a good game prior to his exit with an ankle injury.
Kris Boyd and John Bonney both had solid games, but allowed the only explosive play for Baylor when they both bit on a run fake and let Blake Lynch get behind them. Bonney had a key fumble recovery and Boyd seemed to settle down in the second half and play well. The secondary is playing at a very high level right now and are showing a lot of confidence.
It was another special teams adventure on Saturday. Josh Rowland had another field goal blocked, and several penalties hurt Texas at various points of the game.
Michael Dickson was his usual self, averaging 44.5 yards per punt and pinning Baylor inside the 20 three times.
Kris Boyd provided another spark in the return department, taking a kickoff 38 yards to give Texas great field position. Silly penalties and missed field goals are going to haunt Texas down the stretch if it is not corrected soon.