The TEXAS Offense vs. the BAYLOR Defense

The teams who seem to give the Baylor defense the most problems are those with either a spread offense and/or a very mobile quarterback. Texas, argueably, has the best receiving corps in the country. They also have as deep and talented a group of running backs you'll find anywhere. Add to that a very good offensive line, and it spells more than trouble for the stumbling Baylor Bears.

If you are looking for common opponents each team has played in order to make some comparison, you'll find two, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. The Texas defense did the best job all year of anyone who tried to shut down the Tech passing attack while the offense did their part as Texas put Tech away, 42-7. Kingsbury had a good day as far as stats went, completing 40 of 57 for 260 yards, but no touchdowns. The only Tech touchdown came on a 31-yard inside reverse by RB Ricky Williams. Simms, however, was especially hot, completing the first ten passes he threw.

The Oklahoma defense caused the "potent" Texas offense, even to the point of denying, what at the time was the country's fourth leading scoring offense, as much as a touchdown. That was the first time that had happened since the UCLA game of 1997. With 14 seconds left in the first half, Dusty Mangum connected on a 27-yard field goal, which as it turned out, was the only thing preventing the Horns from being shut out - this time for the first time since November 22, 1980 - by the Baylor Bears of Baylor University.

The key to Oklahoma's success against the Texas defense that day is the same one the Bears will likely try to immulate. The Longhorns were never able to established a running game, partly because Simms was effective passing. The Sooners negated much of that however, by giving Simms the short passes and taking away anything deep. The Sooner defense then held the Texas offensive rushing attack to a paltry 27 net yards. The horns only managed 59 total yards rushing, but also suffered 32 lost yards. The Horns also had 198 yards passing, but the Sooner defense intercepted Texas four times.

Now, what does all this mean concerning the game coming up - absolutely nothing. However, I think even the most cynical "Baylor Fan" would admit that for Baylor's defense to have any chance of doing anything against this Texas offense to have a remote chance for an upset, Baylor will have to play its best game of the year - and not for just a quarter or for a half, but for the entire length of the contest. It would also be helpful if the Horns aren't doing the same.

From tackle to tackle, the Texas offensive line is all juniors and seniors, starting in the center with fifth year senior, Matt Anderson, who will be expected to see a lot of MLB John Garrett. He will also be spending some of his time, along with guards Antwan Kirk-Hughes and Derrick Dockery, with Baylor's defensive tackle duo of Kevin Stevenson and Ryan Gillenwater, as well as backups Travis Hicks and Ethan Kelley. Those should be interesting matchups. Tackles Mike Williams (RT) and Robbie Doane (LT) will be concerned with the pass rush of defensive ends AC Collier and Charles Mann on their right side, and Aaron Lard and Shaun Jackson on their left. Collier has been more than a handful for anyone this season, but keep in mind that Baylor's sacks this season have come from many different individuals. Getting sacks on Simms in this game could be monumental in the game's outcome.

Also, no article concerning the Texas offense would be complete without mentioning their running backs. The starter is freshman Cedric Benson who has had three 100+ yards in a row. Howver, with one notable exception (Ricky Williams), Baylor has had pretty good luck this season in shutting down featured running backs. After Benson, there is plenty of quality in Victor Ike, and Ivan Williams. Baylor, most likely, will get to see all three - at least.

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