AUSTIN — Â It was the firstÂ Must WinÂ against Baylor for the Texas program in the Mack Brown Era. And it only took seven rushing touchdowns by the Longhorns, five by Joe Bergeron, and a Mike Davis awakening to do it.
Texas (5-2, 2-2) scored 21 consecutive points in the middle of the 2nd quarter to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, defeating the Bears, 56-50, in a Big 12 shootout at DKR – Texas Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
Bergeron finished the night with 117 yards on 19 carries, and five touchdowns, one short of 1998 Heisman winner Ricky Williams’ six. ‘Magic’ Davis had 6 grabs for 148 yards, and the game-clinching touchdown at the 12:16 mark of the 4th quarter, on aÂ wideout-screen pass from sophomore signal-caller David Ash.
Baylor’s (3-3, 0-3) Nick Florence had 420 total yards and three touchdowns ( one pass, two rush) in the defeat, the third in a row in Big 12 play for the Bears. Top Wide Receiver and future NFL prospect Terrance Williams finished with 10 catches, and 183 yards, and one score.
Texas and Baylor’s defenses , two of the worst Â in the country, became bystanders to this offensive assault. The teams combined for 1,132 yards, 56 first downs and eye-poppingÂ 14 touchdowns.
Texas got just its third Big 12 home win since 2010, and it was much needed after last weekend’s debacle in Dallas. The other two were to Kansas, next week’s opponent.
The Horns got started on the first play of the game. Freshman running back Daje Johnson took a hand-off 84 yards to the house, and gave Texas an early boost as DKR was rocking, 7-0. Maybe Harsin had read the press clippings about his lack of ‘Daje & DJ (Monroe) ‘ touches in the OU loss.
Baylor wasted little time getting on the scoreboard when Florence ran it in from eight yards out, and a 7-7 score, early in the first. The Bears’ field position was setup by the Texas deep-snapper sailing the ball over punter Alex King’s head and into Baylor’s red-zone the play before.
Bergeron started his scoring spree soon after that punctuating a balanced, 7-play drive, when he scored a 15-yard touchdown jaunt at 6:58, and a 14-7 Longhorns lead.
Baylor would finish the 1st-quarter with consecutive touchdowns by Glasco Martin, one-yard run, and a Florence-to-Williams 80-yard pitch-and-catch strike, and a 21-14 advantage entering the 2nd-quarter.
Texas opened up the 2nd-quarter on the heels of an 8-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by Bergeron’s second touchdown of the evening, and tied the game at 21-21 at the 13:57 mark. Baylor quickly answered.
Florence hit wide receiver Lanear Sampson with a 7-yard strike, after scrambling on 3rd-down. Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom broke coverage to pick up a scrambling Florence, yet the Bears’ senior threw the ball, hitting Sampson in the back of the end zone, and giving Baylor the 28-21 lead.
Monroe took the ensuing kick-off 67 yards, setting up Texas’ next 21 consecutive points. Joe Bergeron sandwiched Johnathan Gray’s first career Texas score, a beautiful 25-yard run only Barry Sanders could appreciate, with two touchdown runs of his own. With 3:46 remaining in the first half, Texas led 42-28, and Baylor was shell-shocked.
Baylor’s Aaron Jones nailed a 47-yard field goal to end the first half, as Texas went into the locker room up, 42-31.
Baylor opened up the second half driving the length of the field, and getting a gift when Florence fumbled the ball in the end zone only to have tight-end Jordan Navjar pounce on the freebie and make it 42-37, 12:53 in to the 3rd-quarter.
Baylor’s next drive’s would end with Jones hitting Â two field goals, from 42- and 44-yards. The Texas defense Â limiting the Bears to field goal attempts ultimately meant the game, thanks to the timely play-making of sophomore secondary member Josh Turner. Both came on the heels of long drives, but for as bad as Texas defense played, they made the few stops they needed to secure the win. Turner had one interception and one sack on consecutive plays. A pass-breakup late would validate his great outing.
Ash hit Davis for 67 yards on Texas’ next drive, and what would be the dagger for the neighbors from Waco. Bergeron punched it in from eight yards out for his fifth touchdown of the night, then Ash and Davis hooked up for the final time and a 56-43 cushion for the final eight minute stretch.
After Baylor got it down to the UT 10-yard line, defensive-tackles Ashton Dorsey and Cedric Reed would record consecutive sacks, before Florence would punch it in from 1-yard out on fourth-and-goal, Baylor got within six, 56-50.
Instead of kicking it onside to give his offense one final breath, Baylor coach Art Briles kicked down field, and trusted his defense to get one final stop. Texas was too much. With the victory formation in full effect, Texas beat the Bears for the first time in three years.
The proverbial hot-seat is still there for Mack Brown in Austin. But this can still be a 10-win, Cotton Bowl bound team. If Brown doesn’t have to rely onÂ Must Wins too much.