The Bears travel to Austin to face the 9th-ranked Longhorns in week seven. Texas leads the all-time series at 75-26-5, and have won the last three meetings over the Bears. Texas went into Waco last year and beatdown Baylor 38-7. However, the previous two meetings were decided by a combined total of seven points. Will this one be another blowout, or can the Bears catch the Longhorns coming off a let down? Let’s look at the matchup.
In marking the return of Texas, the Longhorns upset the Sooners last weekend in the annual Red River Showdown, 48-45. The Texas Longhorns are currently on a five-game winning streak, including wins over then-ranked USC (23), TCU (17) and Oklahoma (7). This is the best start for the Longhorns since the 2009 season.
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger is getting hot at the right time. He had a season high of 314 passing yards and two touchdowns in the win over Oklahoma. That marked the sophomores second career 300+ yard game. Ehlinger also had a season high 72 yards on the ground, and racked up an additional three touchdowns.
Texas was leading 45-24 heading into the fourth quarter before Oklahoma came roaring back by scoring 21 straight to tie the game up at 45 points a piece. The Longhorns got the ball back with just over two and a half minutes left in the game. Ehlinger drove his offense down the field putting them into the Sooner territory with just under two minutes remaining and got into field goal range as time was winding down. Kicker Cameron Dicker hit the game winning field goal with just nines seconds left in the game.
Baylor at 4-2 is off to their best start in two years where they started the season 6-0 before ending the season regular on a six-game losing streak. The Bears bounced back last week in a win over Kansas State, after competing with Oklahoma for two and a half quarters the week before.
Baylor ground out a win over Kansas State last week. They went back and forth Saturday afternoon and the Wildcats tied the game at 34 and the Bears go the ball back with under five minutes to play in the game.
Quarterback Charlie Brewer went 5-5 for 44 yards to set up the game winning filed goal with 14 seconds left to go and kicker Connor Martin hit from 29 yards out for the three-point lead.
Tristan Ebner was the first Bear to rush for over 100 or more yards since the opening game of the season. Jalen Hurd had 135 yards on 11 receptions and 56 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Keys to the Game for Texas
Run The Ball – The numbers are quite there yet for the Longhorns, mostly due to the level of competition, but they’ve been effective between the tackles. Baylor is giving up nearly 200 yards on the ground. Feed Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram the ball.
Pressure The QB – Get after Charlie Brewer and don’t let him have nay time in the pocket. Baylor has two dynamic receivers in Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims. Corners play up on the receivers, make Brewer get the ball out of his hands quickly and make the tackle.
Play At Texas Level – This is the best start in nearly a decade for the Longhorns and their three ranked wins matched the total they had the previous four seasons combined. They need to continue to improve, not get complacent, and void the let down if they want to continue their run. This game won’t be easy, Texas will have to come in focused to get the win. Keep playing at a high level.
Keys to the Game for Baylor
Throw The ball Around – Texas is a tough defense to run on, so you need to get them on their heels and spread the ball around. Fortunately, the Bears have a pretty good quarterback to help them out with that in Charlie Brewer. He’s completing over 64 percent of his passes, and has 9 touchdowns to just two interceptions on the year. Furthermore, the Longhorns only have three sacks on the season. Brewer needs to be patient and pick his spots in the secondary.
Special Teams – It’s going to take all three sides of the ball to pull of the upset and a big punt return to flip field position or a kickoff return to grab take away their momentum.
Make Ehlinger Throw The Ball – Ehlinger can beat you with his arm in his legs. However, he doesn’t nearly get into a rhythm in the passing game if he’s not having any success running the ball. Stop the run and make him beat you by throwing the ball 35+ times.
Although Texas is playing like we expect them to play every year, it doesn’t feel like they are quite back to a Big 12 contender despite coming off the win over Oklahoma and being in the top 10. I think this game will be closer than what most expect, but Texas will pull away late and get the win.