This game is all about attitude for Texas.
Kind of like the Texas-OU game was for Texas last year. If the Longhorns are dialed in, they'll start fast on offense. The defense will find ways to get to Bryce Petty and will punish any of his mistakes.
Texas already has 9 interceptions - second in the nation - to Louisville (10).
Bryce Petty has had some shaky moments this season because of the two cracked vertebrae in his back that will likely require painkillers all season.
The key is for the Texas offense to get off to a fast start. Baylor is outscoring teams 87-7 in the first quarter and 63-3 in the second quarter. The Bears may not have played anyone, but they went to Iowa State last week and had that thing handled at halftime (35-7).
It's grow-up time for the offense. And it's time for the seniors on this team to gather everyone up and say enough!
The biggest difference, obviously, was Case McCoy helped take down OU as a senior QB behind a veteran offensive line last year, and Tyrone Swoopes is making his fourth career start behind a MacGyvered O-line.
Baylor 31, Texas 21,
I’m not seeing many weaknesses with this Baylor team right now.
If you’re looking for something it could be the Bears kicking game and secondary. Other than that they are really stout throughout.
Texas needs to exploit BU deep if it’s able (I know I sound like a broken record) and get the ball in the hands of its best playmakers as often as it can (Armanti Foreman needs 5-plus touches at minimum, Marcus Johnson the same).
Keep punt return on and try and give Jaxon Shipley a crease to turn field position in Texas’ favor. Gamble. You have to.
Shawn Watson said the key for him this game was to be ahead of the chains on first down and I couldn’t agree more. Establish some sense of the run game but use the pass to open up the run. This Baylor defensive line is good enough that it doesn’t need much help from the back end. If BU can load the box, it’s a wrap.
Of course the Longhorns have to find a way to pressure Bryce Petty. Even if they can’t get him to the ground a tap here, a hand in the face there could eventually lead to a turnover or crucial miscue.
I know the secondary has it’s work cut out for them but I think the key on defense is the play of Steve Edmond. Shock Linwood loves to run right up the gut on draws. Edmond has to stay read committed and lock in on Linwood otherwise the middle of Vance Bedford’s defense will be there for the taking.
Something tells me the Longhorns will hang for a half but the third quarter will again be their roughest quarter (at least the start) and the Bears will start to open things up, which will simply be too much for Texas’ offense to overcome.
Baylor 34, Texas 23
The Baylor Bears are coming to town Saturday and with them the nation's top scoring offense. Baylor averages 56.8 points per game over the first four weeks of the college football season and is also No. 24 in rushing yards at 240 per game and No. 4 in passing yards at 401 per game.
This will be a true test for the Texas defense, which is No. 20 in points allowed at 17 points per game. This week I expect to see defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and head coach Charlie Strong come up with some wrinkles to put pressure on the Baylor signal caller. The key will be to force down-and-distance. If Texas can come up with a way to make the Baylor offense predictable, they can have success.
The Texas offense will be counted on heavily to neutralize the Baylor offense and keep them off the field as much as possible. I expect to see Texas take some chances through the passing game early to soften up the Baylor defense allowing the Longhorns to get the ground game going. This is why you play the games; you don't play the games on paper.
If Texas can keep the game close going into the 4th quarter, they will have a chance for an upset. Will they need some breaks? Some good fortune and nice bounces wouldn't hurt, but anything can happen in this game. At the end of the day I am going with the upset.
Texas 37, Baylor 33
Nick Castillo’s Pick
Before the season started, I thought the Longhorns could beat both Baylor and Oklahoma and that they would definitely take one of the two. But after all that has transpired this season, I don’t know that Texas can manage to beat either team.
The first quarter will determine how the game is played. If the Texas defense is able to hold Baylor to seven or less then they might be able to compete throughout the game and could even upset the Bears. If the Longhorns allow Baylor to open up fast it’ll be a long afternoon at DKR.
Texas will have to make Baylor commit errors. The defensive line will have to get to Bryce Petty. Malcom Brown and Ced Reed will have to sack Petty for the first time this season. The defense will need to find a way to create turnovers.
Offensively, the Longhorns need to find a way to get guys in space and hope they make a play. They’ll need to give Armanti Foreman the ball and maybe we’ll see Daje Johnson Saturday. Tyrone Swoopes will have to play a perfect game as the Bears will look to exploit the young quarterback. Somehow, someway Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray will have to make plays in the running game.
Texas will need to make plays on kick and punt returns. Also, Nick Rose needs to be perfect Saturday.
Unfortunately, Baylor will be too much for the Longhorns to handle.
Baylor 49, Texas 21