WACO, Texas- The 100-mile road trip north to Waco’s McLane Stadium from Austin for the 107th meeting between Baylor and Texas had Texas (4-4,3-2) knock off Baylor (0-8, 0-5) 38-7 and keep their postseason aspirations alive under first year head coach Tom Herman. Texas got back to a .500 record and righted the course of their season following back-to-back losses.
The Texas defense was stifling in its efforts and performance against Baylor with Texas only allowing 249 total yards of offense, forcing Baylor to punt eight times and scoring 10 points off turnovers and finishing with three takeaways on the day.
Texas quarterback Shane Buechele’s return performance along with the second half run game efforts of running backs Toneil Carter and Daniel Young knocked Baylor down to 0-10 for the first time since 1969. Buechele finished 27-34 with 256 passing yards and one passing touchdown while rushing for 42 yards and a score.
“Really good team win. I thought we played well, save for one drive on defense the entire day,” said Texas head coach Tom Herman in regards to his team’s efforts. “I thought the offense was a little up and down in the first half, but found rhythm there in the second half and did their part as well and special teams too.”
“We’ve still got a lot of improving to do,” continued Herman. “Especially offensively…but winning is really hard and winning on the road is even harder. It doesn’t matter where it’s at or who you’re playing, especially in this conference. It is really, really difficult to win on the road.”
Defensively for Texas, several individuals imposed their will on the Baylor offense. John Bonney had two fumble recoveries and was credited with half a sack while Malik Jefferson finished with six total tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks for 19 yards. Texas’ leading tackler was DeShon Elliott with seven tackles and an opening drive interception.
For Baylor, it was day of struggles and missed opportunities as Baylor was never able to fully gain any ground on the day offensively even though the defense gave a respectable effort by collecting their second interception of the season thanks to Grayland Arnold and special teams getting a blocked field goal.
The first offensive series for Baylor was led by quarterback Zach Smith as he looked to help lead his offense to an early advantage against a stout Texas defensive unit that was able to hold the nation’s No.1 scoring offense in Oklahoma State to just 13 points last week.
Zach Smith, with a hungry and ansty Charlie Brewer ready to go in at quarterback at a moment’s notice, began the initial drive for Baylor but it would soon come to an abrupt end and place the Longhorns up by a score.
Texas safety DeShon Elliott picked off Zach Smith on his second pass attempt of the game and garnered his second interception return for a touchdown of the season off a deflection as his 43-yard interception further boosted the confidence of the Longhorns in their defense.
Only 54 seconds into the game and down 7-0, Charlie Brewer took the field in the next offensive series for Baylor in hopes to replicate a magnificent performance from the week prior that sparked the offense’s means of production to rack up 23 points in the fourth quarter against West Virginia.
Brewer’s first drive did not yield much better results however as Baylor was forced to punt and Baylor’s offense would continue to hit a brick wall as a back-and-forth effort from both Charlie Brewer and Zach Smith saw Baylor’s first six drives result in an interception for a touchdown, back-to-back punts, a fumble lost and two more consecutive punts.
While Baylor’s offense searched high and low for anyway to move the ball downfield, Texas had some issues as well moving the ball against a pesky Baylor defense who constantly kept the game within one possession before Texas was able to solve the defensive puzzle presented to them by the time the second quarter rolled around.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with our performance. I thought the defense for most of the game played some of its best football that it has played, sort of under duress with field position, with turnovers and I thought our kids continued to fight,” Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said, we were just disappointed that the offense turned the ball over a couple of times early and was really unable to get any sort of ground game going and get the ball in the end zone.”
After Baylor’s Greg Roberts blocked a field goal attempt that would have put Texas up 10-7 following Baylor fumbling in their own red zone and the next Texas drive resulting in a turnover on downs, Texas quarterback Shane Buechele utilized receivers Colin Johnson and Lorenzo Joe to coordinate an 11-play, 90- yard scoring drive that assisted Texas in finally breaking through. Buechele capped off the drive as he rolled right and found receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass that gave Texas its first touchdown since the first quarter.
Up 14-0 with 9:42 remaining in the second quarter, the Baylor offense would react and ignite in rapid fashion to score just three plays later.
On a play action pass, Charlie Brewer tossed one up to wide receiver Blake Lynch as he stretched out one arm and was able to cradle the ball into his body as he got his feet beneath him and ran up the sideline down to the 3 yard line for a 52-yard reception.
Running back John Lovett would provide Baylor’s first and only score of the day on a 2-yard score that had the scoreboard read 14-7 with 8:38 left in the half.
From that point on, not much would go in Baylor’s favor as Texas never once allowed Baylor to take the lead and began to pour it on them to leave Baylor in a cloud of dust.
Texas would score 24 unanswered points following the Baylor score with Buechele scoring a 28-yard option keeper in the second quarter with 3:51 left to play in the half. The ensuing scoring drives for Texas consisted of Joshua Rowland hitting an 18-yard field goal in the third quarter and running backs Toneil Carter and Daniel Young getting rushing touchdowns in the fourth to help preserve the road win for Texas.
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