That was a gut shot. Texas played hard, but incredibly poor execution on offense and critical mistakes on special teams guaranteed the 28-7 loss.
It started off well.
The Texas defense dominated the Baylor O in the first half, limiting Bryce Petty to 43 yards passing and disallowing Baylor from getting anything down the field. The Baylor O-line seemed shocked at the athletic ability of the Texas DL and Bear receivers couldn't separate - largely because Texas kept safety help over the top. The effort was highlighted by an epic 4 down goal line stand on the Texas 1/2 yard line. Baylor did have some limited success running the ball, but the Texas D completely owned the half.
The Baylor score happened when Texas attempted a fruitless 52 yard field goal early in the game that was blocked when Nick Rose kicked it at a trajectory that matches our collective regard for his hair choices. Baylor housed it for 7 and that set the margin. That's largely on the coaches. It's not unreasonable to expect your field goal kicker to give you a good chance at points there in general, but in specific with our kicker? - this was not an unlikely outcome.
Offensively, Watson and Wickline called a good game, but Swoopes left several easy throws on the field and we killed ourselves with penalties. As against KU, he's inaccurate and struggles with basic decision-making past his comfort throws. Encouragingly, the running game was somewhat healed by moving Perkins to guard and James to offensive tackle, allowing Gray and Brown to get north-south on outside zone. Raulerson struggled with Billings as expected, but whatcha gonna do? Gray ran well, highlighting a spin move and finishing a couple of runs with power. Texas finished the half by driving 99.5 yards and were betrayed by yet another blown center-QB exchange that Baylor recovered. On the three inch line. Words fail me.
Texas out-gained Baylor 190-129 at half and trailed 7-0. Bizarre.
The second half featured more good play on defense and an offense that couldn't get out of its own way. Several good calls were squandered with inaccurate throws to open wide receivers, dumb penalties and poor protection.
The key play occurred again on special teams. Briles had a beautiful fake punt call that got Baylor a new set of downs on 4th and long and that led to a three play touchdown against a Texas defense that had mentally disengaged on the quick turnaround. The final blow was delivered by a 30 yard TD catch by Antwan Goodley in single coverage on Thompson.
In the 4th quarter, the Texas defense finally relented (exhaustion, light numbers up front in the 3-3-5 D, linebackers run blitzing instead of reading) and Baylor drove easily on the ground to seal the game. Another scoring drive came deep in the 4th quarter when Baylor hit a long ball on 4th and 8 to make it 28-0. Disappointing and frustrating. The Longhorns managed a Johnathan Gray charity touchdown late to make it 28-7.
Petty and the Baylor passing game was rendered largely irrelevant (7 of 22 for 111), but a patient Art Briles turned to the Baylor running game to the tune of nearly 300 yards. He has demonstrated the willingness to do that in the past and most mad bomber types can't. Tip your hat.
Swoopes finished the game 15 of 33 for 142 yards and 2 interceptions While we all know he was thrust into a difficult situation, he was tough to watch at times. I charted nine different open receivers on high percentage throws that he either missed outright or hit in ways that prevented them from maximizing their gain. He demonstrated that his growth as a quarterback will come in fits and spurts - if at all.
Hard to imagine that I could watch Texas lose by three touchdowns at home to Baylor and still feel OK about our game plans and effort level on both sides of the ball. Special teams is another matter.
That's just where we are right now. Grin and Bear it. Hook 'em.