Texas Puts Away the Bears, 45-21

The fourth-rated Texas Longhorns, facing a bigger opponent named "Letdown," overcame early-game hurdles to blow out the Baylor Bears, 45-21. Initially, it appeared Mack Brown's squad suffered zero hangover effect from its first loss of the season last week against Texas Tech, bursting to a 14-0 edge.

But just as a blowout appeared a guarantee, the Longhorns seemed to slumber a bit, while Baylor's star freshman quarterback Robert Griffin woke up. Suddenly, the big 'dog Bears had tied the game 14-14, silencing the burnt orange crowd in the process. Could Texas be in for its second straight defeat?

Senior defensive back Ryan Palmer answered, knifing through to intercept an errant Griffin toss along the line of scrimmage and scampering into the end zone. His clutch catch and run the other way gave Texas a lead that Baylor never came close to jeopardizing. The 'Horns, in fact, rolled to 31 unanswered points.

Baylor knew it would need Robert Griffin to have a big day to have a shot at an upset, and head coach Art Briles showed no fear in giving his young triggerman that opportunity. Inevitably, he hit on some plays, causing Longhorn fans early headaches and a realization the green and gold now has some athletes as well.

But with Will Muschamp's orange defenders swallowing up the Bears' ground game (sans Griffin scrambles), it forced the Baylor QB into a perfection he couldn't reach. The opponent's leading rusher coming in, Jay Finley, was repeatedly stuffed at the line of scrimmage, only making his final numbers respectable (10 rushes, 45 yards) with a 40-yard romp against Longhorn third string reserves. He otherwise had five yards on nine futile tries.

Offensively, Texas again wasn't quite as efficient as it had been in earlier games, but its overall firepower proved more than Baylor could keep up with.

It appears Colt McCoy's ultra-accurate short passing game has been figured out, with defenders jumping routes more and more over the last few weeks. However, with the return of Quan Cosby, along with Jordan Shipley's continued All-America-type season, Colt was able to ring up a near-record five touchdown passes despite suffering two early picks.

The Longhorns serious Heisman candidate also hit the 300-yard mark to further boost his awards standing, though he paid by taking some serious shots throughout the contest.

It wasn't all Colt, however. For the first time in several weeks, the Longhorns unveiled a stout rushing effort, and it aided the UT quarterback's aerial performance in a major way. For the home stretch, Texas needs to keep developing that two-pronged attack.

As many Longhorns have been clamoring for, Fozzy Whittaker was unleashed, gobbling up 77 yards on a number of clutch carries, while former starter Vondrell McGee pushed for another 55.

For the game, Texas rolled to nearly 500 total yards (494) while holding Baylor to a fairly harmless 272. The only thing preventing an even bigger blowout was the Bears' good fortune in recovering all four of their fumbles.

In the end, neither that luck nor Griffin's propensity for big plays was nearly enough.

Texas, still high in the BCS world, remains in the hunt for not just the conference crown, but the biggest trophy of all.

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