Texas got back in the win column against Baylor Saturday afternoon, defeating Baylor 27-16 in Austin. The win evens up Texas’ Big 12 record at 2-2 and stops a two-game losing skid. Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from a game Texas controlled throughout.
- The Texas defense easily had their best game of the year. It certainly didn’t help the Bears that they were missing two of their starting offensive lineman, but the Texas defensive line was extremely active the entire afternoon. Baylor finished with 64 yards rushing on 21 carries (3.0 YPC) and was forced to run to the passing game to move the ball. Despite the fact Texas only recorded 1 sack, the Longhorns pass rush did a solid job of pushing the pocket and causing disruption.
- The Longhorns secondary came into the game knowing Baylor QB Charlie Brewer wasn’t going to beat them over the top. The safeties and cornerbacks did a good job of keeping everything in front of them and jumping plenty of underneath routes. Brewer finished with 256 yards and 2 touchdowns, but averaged under 6 yards an attempt. The senior was unable to navigate the Baylor offense to sustain long drives.
- Offensively, Texas started off sluggish, punting on their first few drives. It was head scratching to see Texas rely heavily on 12 personnel for much of the game after the success they found in spreading teams out in the first 4 games. Tom Herman was open in his desire to run the ball effectively and the Longhorns showed some improvement improvement, running 47 times for 159 yards. Bijan Robinson saw his snaps increase and turned in a solid performance (12 carries for 55 yards). The Longhorns will have to run the ball effectively in Stillwater if they hope to pull an upset.
- Sam Ehlinger looked to be banged up for much of the game, but turned in another good performance with 270 yards passing while adding 51 yards on the ground and 3 total TD’s. Ehlinger did throw an interception in the 4th quarter where he tried to force the ball to Jared Wiley down the middle of the field, but otherwise turned in a fairly clean performance.
- Speaking of Jared Wiley, the sophomore has continued to see his playing time increase. It doesn’t appear he is going to overtake Cade Brewer as starting tight end, but #18 certainly looks like he has a bright future and is a weapon in the passing game.
- Jake Smith and Caden Sterns both returned from injuries that kept them out against OU. Smith only reeled in 1 catch for 14 yards but was targeted several other times by Ehlinger. Sterns played nearly the entire game and didn’t appear to be bothered by his toe injury. The Longhorns are fairly healthy at the halfway mark on the season.
The noise might die down a little this week, but all eyes will be on Tom Herman as he takes his team to Stillwater next week. A win against a top 10 team on the road has the possibility to put the season back on track, while a loss would basically eliminate Texas from Big 12 title contention and the questions will continue to be asked about Tom Herman’s job security.
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