The Longhorns fell to 6-5 on Saturday, and lost their third of these last four games in the Big 12. Texas was not favored to win this one, but for all intents and purposes it was one of the worst defeats of the Tom Herman era thus far, as the Longhorns lost by multiple touchdowns and were contained practically form whistle to whistle.
Much like Texas’ previous conference losses, at the end of the first half the game remained close at 7-3 Baylor. Also similar to those losses, the Longhorns struggled to move the ball, and were unable to get into the redzone through the first two quarters.
In particular, Baylor’s defense was able to move the Texas offensive line around on all plays except one – a 68 yard run by Keaontay Ingram that allowed Cameron Dicker to put in a 48 yard field goal as time in the half expired.
The second half was all Baylor, as the Bears came out and scored on three straight possessions. After bending but not really breaking for a half, the Texas defense broke in a big way as Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer – who had 75 yards on the ground – started to go off with his legs and wideout Denzel Mims lit up the Texas secondary. Mims, who averaged 17.9 yards a reception, looked virtually un-guardable at times.
Texas continued to struggle offensively throughout the game, as the Bears’ defensive front was able to get constant pressure with its three down lineman. That pressure eventually led to a Sam Ehlinger interception with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Baylor capitalized on that turnover with a field goal to go up 24-3. Texas would not score again until there was a second left on the clock. The Longhorns narrowly avoided being held without a touchdown by getting in the endzone in garbage time.
Things To Work On
Offensive Identity: At this point in the season, it’s a little late for this team to be trying to figure out who they are, but we’ve definitely seen who they’re not. This is not a team that runs the ball particularly well. They don’t win the line of scrimmage consistently, and they struggle to get into a rhythm. With one game left, about the only thing this offense can really center itself around is Ehlinger and his dual threat capabilities, so a balanced attack featuring both his legs and arm would be ideal in the last contest.
Unnecessary Penalties: This is another are where it’s hard to improve in just one week, but in this game many of the penalties – like those of the unsportsman-like variety – arose from the frustration of players. Those flags made the task of Texas trying to climb back into this one all the more difficult, and can certainly be cut down in their last game.
Staff Changes Will Almost Certainly Be Necessary: It’s common at a place like Texas for people to jump on the “fire the coach” bandwagon when the team isn’t doing well, and cast all the blame on a good coach whose players are not performing at that moment.
Throughout the Big 12, however, you can find head coaches who have had to make the tough decision to let an assistant coach go if certain groups of players persistently do not live up to a standard. That’s the case with this Texas offense, which has not been able to perform at a level necessary for competing at the top of this league.
The Defense Has Been Giving This Team Chances: The one real positive to take away from the Longhorns from these last three games is that the defense for Texas has held opponents to 24 or less points in all of those games. In the Big 12, that kind of defensive effort should be enough for most any team to get the win.