A few things stood out to me from postgame ...
First and foremost, Charlie Strong bowing his chest out to defend his program when he was asked about the "noise" surrounding his future and if things can still be turned around:
"When you talk about the noise - I know this: I have a really good team, and I have a special team, and I have a team that I really care about and a team that really cares about me.
"And it's not a program that's in disarray, which many of you think. It's not a program that is going backwards. It's a program that's headed forward, and it's a program that is going to be a special - it's going to be special one of these days, when you watch this program really take off."
Strong apparently told the ESPN TV crew broadcasting the UT-Baylor game "whoever is coaching this team next year is going to get a 10-win team." Strong was asked if he was sending a message by saying that:
"No I really wasn't. Their questions is the same, because they hear it just like everyone hears it. And then everybody asks you that question, so that's just the way I answered it.
"I just said, 'If it isn't me, it's someone else, but it's going to be 10 wins.'"
On LB Malik Jefferson, LB Anthony Wheeler, DE Charles Omenihu, RG Patrick Vahe not starting vs Baylor, Strong said:
"Well, guys, it's week to week. And they need to play well. They're going to play. It's who starts the game. But when you look at it, Malik probably played more than any linebacker out there tonight."
Sterlin Gilbert on the decision to start Jake McMillon at LG over Patrick Vahe (who did not play at all):
"He (McMillon) is from West Texas, so he’s unselfish. he’s a fighter. He’s a great kid and a technician who does everything that we ask him to do.
"So when you put him in that spot, you know you’re going to get all those things from him every down.
"And that’s what he brings to the table. He comes from a really good program at Abilene High, and he’s had a lot of success in his career, and that’s what we get when we put him in there."
Gilbert on what Vahe needs to do to get back on the field:
"Just needs to get better and improve. That’s the healthy thing we’ve got is competition. Competition is black and white. It makes people better or it doesn’t.
"What we need guys to do is to continue to get better, compete against each other, make the guy they’re competing with better and therefore we’ve got a better football team."
* After trailing by 8 midway through the 4Q with a stalled offense and an exhausted defense - a holy (bleep) 35-34 win over the Big 12's last undefeated team.
* Trent Domingue from 39 yards!!!
* D'Onta Foreman rushing 32 times for 250 yards (7.8 ypc) and TD runs of 37 and 9 yards - becoming first 1000-yard rusher since Jamaal Charles in 2007
* A defensive effort when the Horns had to have it - Bryce Cottrell, Chris Nelson, a third-and-18 stop - after being on the field for 48 plays in the second half (compared to BU's defense being on the field for 28) and the Longhorns' D being on the field for 96 plays total.
*It appeared to be a defensive TD by Malik Jefferson in the final seconds ... but no ... (although the ruling of Seth Russell's forward progress being stopped before Jefferson stripped the ball from him was - in the words of Dan LeBatard - highly questionable ...)
* Speaking of LB Malik Jefferson - he didn't get the start vs Baylor and ends up with his best game of the season: 10 tackles (8 solo), including 2 sacks and 2.5 TFLs
* LB Anthony Wheeler doesn’t get the start vs Baylor and ends up with 9 tackles and two forced fumbles.
* Texas finished with 6 sacks (Jefferson 2, Breckyn Hager, Naashon Hughes, Bryce Cottrell, Charles Omenihu) … and 11.5 TFLs led by Jefferson 2.5 and Hager 2.5
* John Bonney with a couple nice pass breakups in addition to 6 tackles and .5 TFL
* Did I mention Trent Domingue’s game-winning 39-yard FG with 46 seconds left after hooking an attempt badly in the 4Q at K-State?
“It’s awesome,” Domingue said. “I’m just so thankful Coach Strong had the confidence in me to make that play. Even through all the misses and blocks, he’s had my back, and he’s told me how confident he is in me. Same with everybody else.”
Domingue admitted he was able to overcome some negative thoughts before the kick.
“As a kicker, you're not supposed to think, ‘Don’t miss.’ But I was thinking, ‘Don’t miss.’ But I was confident enough in practice, and it made it almost easy because we do it so much.”
* D’Onta Foreman had 100 yards rushing on 13 carries - in the first quarter. He had 17 carries for 128 yards rushing (7.5 ypc) and 2 TDs at halftime and finished with 32 carries for 250 yards (7.8 ypc).
D Foreman now has 1,105 yards rushing this season, becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher for Texas since Jamaal Charles in 2007.
“We just always believe,” said Foreman, who had four huge carries for 24 yards on Texas’ game-winning drive to a 39-yard FG by Trent Domingue with 46 seconds left.
“We never let outside noise interrupt what we want to do and want to accomplish this season. Things haven’t been going our way for the most part, and we just have to keep fighting, and today we did.”
On all the noise about the future of Charlie Strong at Texas, D Foreman said:
“Personally, for me, I’m not going to say that I took it personally or anything like that. But I just wanted to go out there and play for him, play for the team, so I hope he’s here next year.”
* Offense got into tempo right away with some nice runs by D’Onta Foreman followed by the 40-yard TD pass from Shane Buechele to Armanti Foreman to tie the game 7-7 with 11:19 left 1Q.
* A Foreman had a 51-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter but was caught from behind and stripped of the ball at the BU13 - and the Bears recovered at the BU2.
But A Foreman, who had a tough drop in the end zone late against K-State last week, made a difficult, 38-yard catch on the left sideline to the BU26 on UT’s game-winning FG drive.
“I knew I had to come out here and make big plays,” A Foreman said. “Last week, I just kept replaying that (drop) moment in my head.
“I told myself when I get that opportunity to make that big play again, I’ve got to make it. I feel like I did that tonight.”
After his fumble in the Baylor game, A Foreman said D Foreman told him to forget about it - that D Foreman had fumbled against OU and Iowa State - and you have to move on.
“I’m always confident in myself,” A Foreman said. “I do beat myself up a lot. But I’m always confident in myself. I don’t ever give up on myself.”
* After the Texas offense finally came to life midway through the 4Q and cut BU’s lead to 34-32 on a Buechele-to-Andrew Beck 7-yard TD pass, UT’s exhausted defense came up with HUGE plays by Chris Nelson (sack for minus-6) and stop by Chris Nelson for minus-2 yards to help force a punt and give the ball back to UT’s offense with 3:10 left, trailing 34-32.
“We still have unfinished business to do,” Nelson said. “But you can tell we’re coming together as a team. Through all the downs, we keep each other up in practice.”
* Before that defensive series, Breckyn Hager gathered the defense and said he told them, “It’s time to be all about that action boss.”
* Holding on Baylor RG Blake Blackmar against Paul Boyette in the end zone results in a safety - and Texas 16-14 lead - with 8:43 left in 2Q. The play came after Armanti Foreman was stripped of the ball at the BU13 and the Bears’ recovered at the BU2.
* Texas went up 23-14 after taking possession following the safety and goes 6 plays in 66 yards, fueled by a 40-yard catch and run by Collin Johnson on third-and-11, setting up a 9-yard TD run by D'Onta Foreman.
* Defensive pressure from Malik Jefferson and Breckyn Hager on Baylor possession midway through 2Q resulted in a batted pass by Jefferson, and a sack by Hager that caused a Seth Russell fumble on fourth down and great field position for Texas at the UT48.
* Kris Boyd doesn't get thrown out of the game for targeting on a hit on Baylor QB Seth Russell ... (didn't think the call would come back from the booth that way ... )
* Defense holds BU to a FG (that put Bears up 31-26 with 2:16 left 3Q) despite BU having goal to go.
* HALFTIME STATS/THOUGHTS
* D'Onta Foreman had 100 yards rushing in 1Q, finished half with 128 yards on 17 carries (7.5 ypc) and TD runs of 37 and 9 yards.
* Shane Buechele was 7 of 13 passing for 164 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT and was sacked twice.
* Armanti Foreman has 3 catches for 104 yards, including a 40-yard TD reception (and a fumble after a 51-yd catch)
* Michael Dickson averaged 55.3 yards per punt on 3 punts, and Buechele added a pooch punt of 36 yards
* Texas with 4 sacks: Breckyn Hager, Charles Omenihu, Naashon Hughes, Jason Hall (.5), John Bonney (.5)
* Tackles: John Bonney, Jason Hall, Chris Nelson, Poona Ford (each with 4)
* Baylor won the TO battle 2-1 in the first half, but Texas turned its one turnover forced into a TD, and Baylor's 2 forced turnovers resulted in a BU safety that gave Texas its 2-point difference - 23-21 - at halftime. The TO battle ended 2-2.
* Charles Omenihu comes off the bench for a 1Q sack
* Texas went up 14-7 on a 37-yard TD run by D'Onta Foreman shot out of a cannon right up the middle, one play after PJ Locke picks off Seth Russell on a deflection caused by Kris Boyd.
After 3:55 of action, there were three TDs scored. Texas scored 2 TDs in a 14-second span.
* Texas opening drive for a TD - something that hadn't happened since the Cal game - tied the game 7-7 with 11:19 1Q.
The drive included D'Onta Foreman 6 carries for 35 yards - 5.8 ypc and Shane Buechele 2-2 passing 53 yards - including 40-yard TD strike to A Foreman
* The defense was on the field double the plays of the offense in the second half - 48-28 - and it showed with a bunch of missed tackles (none that will be shown more on SportsCenter than Seth Russell's hurdle of Dylan Haines in a shades of BYU QB Taysom Hill moment circa 2014)
* The offense failed to convert five straight third downs from the end of the 2Q through the beginning of the 4Q. In a four-hour game in real time, the offense went more than an hour without converting a third down.
* BU went up 28-26 with 8:21 left 3Q after going 78 yards in 10 plays, taking 3:45 off the clock, converting all three third-downs on the drive.
Only good thing that happened for Texas on the drive was Kris Boyd was not ejected for targeting on Seth Russell.
Terence Williams capped the drive with a 2-yard TD run
* After Texas had 1st-n-goal from BU14 following a 40-yd run by D'Onta Foreman, the 18-Wheeler Package stalled.
* BU cut UT's lead to 23-21 right before halftime by going 81 yards in 13 plays and taking 4:09 off the clock (and Texas called timeout with 14 seconds left in the half when Baylor has no timeouts, and the clock is running - apparently because Texas' D wasn't lined up correctly).
Coming out of the Texas timeout, Russell threw a fade route, 25-yard TD pass to KD Cannon over Holton Hill, who was in perfect position to break it up or pick it off if he would have turned around and looked for the ball.
* The new wrinkle of Tyrone Swoopes at RB got worse as the game wore on.
* Baylor QB Seth Russell running wild, including a first-quarter, 50-yard TD run and finished with 21 carries for 138 yards (6.6 ypc)
* Baylor RB Terence Williams running 24 times for 180 yards (7.5 ypc) and a TD.
* Baylor finished with 68 carries for 398 yards rushing (5.9 ypc)
* Perfect deep-ball pass from Shane Buechele to Armanti Foreman resulted in an A Foreman catch-and-run for 51 yards. But he got caught from behind and was stripped of the ball at the BU13. It was recovered by Baylor at the BU2 with 8:46 left 2Q.
* Despite early success and 21 points scored by the offense in the first half, Shane Buechele and the offense struggled to get into a rhythm in the third quarter (1-of-2 passes for 16 yards and 0-3 on third down)
* Texas too many men on the field flag on defense with Baylor facing third-and-5 from the UT39 with just under 10 minutes left in 2Q. Fortunately for Texas, the drive ended with a Breckyn Hager strip-sack as Baylor went for it on fourth-and-12 from the Texas 35.
* Baylor tied the game 14-14 after going 5 plays in 75 yards in 1:39 and caps a TD drive with a 20-yard pass from Seth Russell to Ishmael Zamora (who appeared to push off on Holton Hill on the play) for the catch and run into the end zone.
In less than 6 minutes of play, 4 TDs were scored.
* Brandon Jones personal foul flag after kick return for taking a swipe at BU player right in front of official.
* WR Lorenzo Joe suffered what appears to be a season-ending shoulder injury in the game.
As I reported on Wednesday - Malik Jefferson didn’t start against Baylor. Neither did LB Anthony Wheeler, DE Charles Omenihu nor RG Patrick Vahe.
Ed Freeman and Tim Cole started at LB in place of Malik and Wheeler ... DE Bryce Cottrell started in place of Omenihu ... and Jake McMillon started at RG for Vahe.
But with the exception of Vahe, who didn't play - most everyone else mentioned above made plays - whether they started or not.