But this one missed. And then Jay Finley ran for a 69-yard touchdown. And then a Garrett Gilbert pass bounced off the hands of Greg Smith and was intercepted by Baylor linebacker Antonio Johnson. A Robert Griffin III quarterback sneak into the end zone, and a 30-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to Kendall Wright later and the Bears led 30-19.
And just like that, in about 11 minutes of game time, Texas found itself back in the same place the Longhorns faced against Oklahoma and Iowa State, needing multiple touchdowns for a comeback. Like both of those games, the Longhorns pulled to within a score but couldn't complete the deal, this time falling short when Marquise Goodwin fumbled into the arms of Baylor linebacker Rodney Chadwick.
Three kneels later and the Longhorns fell to 4-4, the most losses that Texas has had since going 9-5 in 1999.
"I just think that we missed some plays that we're seed to making around here," said safety Blake Gideon. "We need to finish plays and fall on balls that are on the ground. Those are plays that we didn't make that cost us the game."
Texas was also plagued by dropped passes an an inability to get into the end zone offensively. The Longhorns outgained the Bears by 100 yards, 428-328, but six times settled for field goal attempts rather than touchdowns. Justin Tucker converted on five of those attempts, including four in the first half.
Those four kicks gave Texas a 12-10 halftime lead, but also kept Baylor nearby.
Gilbert scored the Longhorns' first touchdown on the first drive of the second half when he scrambled 20 yards into the end zone, grabbing a 19-10 lead. After Christian Scott intercepted a Griffin pass, Gilbert hit James Kirkendoll on a 45-yard bomb down the sideline and it appeared all the momentum belonged to the Longhorns. Instead, it was simply the start of the Bears' rally.
"Nobody enjoys losing," said running back Tre Newton. "It's always tough, but you have to move forward. We just have to go back to work and just try to move forward."
In some ways, Saturday did represent a step forward. Other than a few big plays, the defense played well and held Griffin somewhat in check. He hit on touchdowns of 49 and 30 yards, but passed for just 140 yards on his other 22 attempts. The same was true of the way they played running back Jay Finley, who darted for 69 yards on one carry and averaged 3.4 yards per carry on his other 14.
Offensively, Gilbert took a step forward, passing for 231 yards and rushing for 79 more. He might have passed for 300, if his receivers weren't plagued by drops.
"I think we did some better things (offensively)," said Greg Davis, offensive coordinator. "But obviously in the red zone, we're not getting touchdowns. That's something we have to get better at."
And in a hurry. The Longhorns have to travel to Kansas State in a week.
"Next week, next game," Gideon said.
Texas — Justin Tucker 22 FG, 9:12 1Q
Baylor — Aaron Jones 24 FG, 4:39 1Q
UT — Tucker 31 FG, 9:04 2Q
UT — Tucker 49 FG, 4:13 2Q
BU — Terrence Williams 59 pass from Robert Griffin III (Jones kick), 0:43 2Q
UT — Tucker 40 FG, 0:03 2Q
UT — Garrett Gilbert 20 run (Tucker kick), 11:52 3Q
BU — Jay Finley 69 run (Jones kick), 4:19 3Q
BU — Griffin 1 run (pass failed), 14:49 4Q
BU — Kendall Wright 30 pass from Griffin (Jones kick), 8:38 4Q
UT — Tucker 21 FG, 3:40 4Q
* After the game, safety Blake Gideon met with the media. He and Texas coach Mack Brown said that cornerback Aaron Williams would be fine. The same might not be true for senior guard Michael Huey, who missed the entire second half and was spotted on crutches after the game.
* Justin Tucker has attempted a whopping 22 field goals through eight games this year, making 18. Ten of those attempts have been shorter than 30 yards, showing Texas' inability to punch the ball into the end zone. The Longhorns have scored 19 touchdowns this year.
* Penalties also haunted the Longhorns. Texas had 11 penalties for 103 yards in the game.