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2017 Season - Week 9

Defense Gets Texas Dominant Road Win Over Baylor

Texas rolls past Baylor with big defensive effort.

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Defense Gets Texas Dominant Road Win Over Baylor

A game that felt relatively uneventful ended as a blowout by the final whistle.  Texas and Baylor were in a close contest early, but the Texas offense got warmed up to put the game out of reach in the second half and move past the struggling Baylor Bears.

The game began on a big defensive play with a pick six by the Texas defense. Safety DeShon Elliot intercepted a Zach Smith pass and took it 43 yards for the touchdown. With the first strike, Texas was up 7-0.

The two teams continued to exchange punts in a largely uneventful game. Texas got a chance to build some momentum when Baylor fumbled at their own 16 yard line, but came away with nothing when kicker Joshua Rowland missed the 27 yard chip shot.

In the second quarter, offenses for both teams got some rhythm going.

Texas started to discover some success offensively with an eleven play, 90 yard play drive that ended with a Texas touchdown. Shane Buechele found wideout Lil Jordan Humphrey for the 15 yard touchdown pass to put the Longhorns up 14-0.

It wouldn’t take Baylor long to respond, however.

Charlie Brewer hit Blake Lynch for a 52 yard pass play that put the Bears at the Texas three yard line. John Lovett would then run it in from two yards out for the score to cut the lead to a score, 14-7.

The Bears looked to be gathering momentum when they stopped the Texas offense on fourth and short late in the quarter, but bad luck continued to befall Baylor. Punter Connor Martin fumbled the snap on the Baylor side of midfield, giving the Longhorns the football at the 28 yard line.

One play later, Buechele kept the ball on the read option and ran it all the way to the end zone. That would be the last score before halftime, putting the Longhorns up 21-7.

The second half started out, much like the first, with ugly mistakes. A Baylor fumble inside their own territory gave the Longhorns the ball at the Bears 24 yard line. Texas would get a field goal off the turnover to go up 24-7.

After grabbing a Buechele interception in the end zone, Baylor looked like they had a chance to narrow the lead. The Longhorns would get the ball back on downs, however, and get the ball at the Baylor 28 yard line.

A couple of plays later, freshman running back Toneil Carter would run in a score from 19 yards out. That play, the first of the fourth quarter, put Texas up 31-7.

Baylor looked poised to get some points of their own when they began moving the ball.  Their 13 play, 53 yard drive would end, however, in a turnover on downs.

After an exchange of punts, the Longhorns managed to extend their lead while trying to run out the clock. Another true freshman running back, would take the handoff from Buechele and dash 31 yards to the house.

That score would be the last of the day. Texas wins, 38-7.

TEAM STATS

MATCHUP UT BU
1st Downs 19 12
3rd Down Eff 5-15 4-18
4th Down Eff 0-2 1-5
Total Yards 427 249
Passing 256 218
Comp-Att 27-36 21-38
Yards Per Pass 7.1 5.7
Interceptions 1 1
Rushing 171 31
Rush Att 35 37
Yards Per Rush 4.9 0.8
Fumbles Lost 0 2
Penalties 7-72 6-34
Possession 29:01 30:59
PASS LEADERS C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
UT – S. Buechele 27/34 256 7.5 1 1 74.3
BU – C. Brewer 17/27 181 6.7 0 1 19.0
RUSH LEADERS CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
UT – T. Carter 15 70 4.7 1 28
BU – T. Williams 7 29 4.1 0 7
RECEIVING LEADERS REC YDS AVG TD LONG
UT – L. Humphrey 5 55 11.0 1 25
BU –B. Lynch 2 51 25.5 0 52

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

The Texas running game came on late in this one. Facing the conference’s worst rush defense, it made sense for the Longhorns to want to get things going on the ground. Big runs by some of their backs late in the game helped Texas to gain a passable 171 yards total rushing on the day. For much of three quarters, though, the Longhorns were getting very little push from their offensive line and Baylor lineman found themselves in the Texas backfield often.

Turnovers and turnovers on downs really hurt Baylor in this game. Even though the final score was a sizable margin of victory, through most of three quarters it seemed like Texas wouldn’t be able to score points unless they were given a short field. The Longhorns got the ball inside Baylor territory four times and Texas came away with 17 points off of those opportunities. Without many of those mistakes, Baylor might have been able to make this another close game.

Texas special teams continue to struggle in the kicking game. Rowland missed what should have been a chip shot early in this game, a possible three points that could have helped the Longhorns get more separation early. Struggles on the offensive side of the ball coupled with an inability to make crucial kicks could be a big factor later in the season as Texas approaches bowl eligibility.

The Longhorns defense was every bit the unit that held Oklahoma State to ten points last week. DeShon Elliot’s pick six to open the game helped set a tone that carried throughout. Had the defense found another way to score, they would not have even needed the other side of the ball. If Texas fans were worried about Todd Orlando’s group looking ahead to next week’s matchup against TCU, they didn’t show that in Waco.

Matt Rhule rotated Baylor quarterbacks Charlie Brewer and Zach Smith throughout the day. Each guy was under pressure throughout the game, but Brewer was able to make things happen with his legs and ability to escape. Even though Smith was the starter, it would seem like Rhule might want to see what Brewer can do for an entire game. With the shape of the offensive line being what it is right now, making the case for Zach Smith seems like a hard sell.

Baylor’s defense had a relatively good day considering the position they were put in. In a game where Baylor probably needed to be mistake-free to help that effort pay off, however, the Bears couldn’t translate the defensive play into a close game. Matt Rhule has a solid chance to keep his team from being winless this season when the Bears travel to play Kansas in seven days. Trying to get the defense to put the same effort in next week could be enough for Baylor’s first win.

 

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