Rapid Fire Thoughts: Texas 27, Baylor 16

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Texas wasn’t overly impressive, but they played a mostly clean game after a rough start. Here are rapid fire thoughts on Texas’ 27-16 victory over the Baylor Bears.

Texas wasn’t overly impressive, but they played a mostly clean game after a rough start. Here are rapid fire thoughts on Texas’ 27-16 victory over the Baylor Bears.

Pre-halftime thought: The punter has regressed immensely. After his dismal performance in Dallas and two weeks of practice, he continued to struggle with the lights on in Austin. His first two punts traveled a total of 53 yards. Punting is one of the most individual aspects of football. There’s not much to be said aside from do better, and players know this. Which is why it must be incredibly frustrating for Ryan Bujcevski right now.

Pre-halftime thought: Defense came to play in the first two drives. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer’s arm strength greatly limited what the Bears were able to do. His accuracy hasn’t waned too much, as he was 14-of-22 for 124 yards, but his arm strength his a massive governor on the Baylor offense. Texas did allow some over the middle passing, but there’s nothing on the perimeter for the Bears.

Pre-halftime thought: Tom Herman spoke during the bye week that the team improved the most at rushing offense and rushing defense. It wasn’t particularly clear in the first half. Texas ran the ball nine times for 38 yards. It was the emphasis obviously, as UT completed one single pass in the first quarter for a loss of one yard. The passing game came to life in the second quarter, but it was by no means a riveting offensive performance.

Pre-halftime thought: Missing two starting offensive linemen, Baylor found ways on their third drive to take the pressure off the OL and get the ball out quickly both on the perimeter in screens and over the middle. However, the pressure did mount on Brewer and the Bear run game as the half went on. BU rushed 12 times for 28 yards, with 11 yards on one John Lovett carry.

Pre-halftime thought: Baylor’s third drive ended in the red zone with three points. It was their only red zone opportunity of the half.

Pre-halftime thought: Sam Ehlinger’s first quarter stat-line: 1-of-2, -1 yard. 2 rushes, 5 yards.

Pre-halftime thought: The first penalty wasn’t on a player, but rather on the coaching staff after they spoke about additional punishment for penalties.

Pre-halftime thought: The Longhorn offense slept for most of the first half, and a second-quarter sack of Ehlinger deep in Texas territory made it appear as if that slumber would continue. Then, from an empty five wide set, Ehlinger found an open Tarik Black for 72 yards. Black couldn’t get to the end zone, but he helped revitalize a struggling offense with that catch and run. Speed would have helped, as Baylor held Texas out of the end zone after the Longhorns had first and goal on the nine, but Cameron Dicker added three points to give Texas a 6-3 lead.

Pre-halftime thought: Tom Herman has an impressive commitment to 12 personnel. Texas brings two tight ends on the field for a significant number of snaps. Epps and Wiley both had one target apiece in the first half with no catches to show for it.

Pre-halftime thought: Cameron Dicker is a good kicker. He is not exceptional, he is not poor. He is a good kicker in a sport where quality can be tough to find.

Pre-halftime thought: Moore can jump and receive. He has become Texas’ go-to deep threat not only for his solid footspeed, but also for his elite vertical jumping ability. He was targeted twice and caught both targets including one for a touchdown.

Post-halftime thought: After a scoreless third quarter in their last appearance, Texas marched down the field out of halftime 75 yards to make the game 20-3. It started with Bijan Robinson, was aided by Brennan Eagles and Jake Smith, and was finished off by Ehlinger with a one-yard rush. After Texas’ woes in the game’s third quarter this season, a steady touchdown drive was a major bonus.

Post-halftime thought: Ehlinger has taken plenty of hard hits, and the decision to go to Keaontay Ingram twice inside the five instead of running a consistently reliable QB power play Ehlinger. Texas eventually called 11’s number, but following his score he had to enter the medical tent for the second time. He eventually left it, but it was evident he was feeling the effects of several big hits.

Post-halftime thought: Baylor’s offense did not come out of the gate strong in the second half, but did move down the field on it’s second possession following a Texas three and out. Brewer worked the quick passing game, about all he can do, and Baylor did run the ball well. The drive was snuffed out by a sack from Ta’Quon Graham and a tackle for loss from Juwan Mitchell. Once again, a decent Baylor drive was held scoreless after John Mayers missed a 43-yard field goal.

Post-halftime thought: Joseph Ossai hurt his shoulder at the end of the first half. He entered the locker room early and left it after the second half began. Jett Bush played the series, and the Longhorns held Baylor scoreless. On the next bears possession, Bush took the field again, and Ossai remained on the sideline.

Post-halftime thought: Targeting is so improperly enforced, it’s a joke. D’Shawn Jamison tackled like they teach in the instructional videos. At least they got the call right upon review.

Post-halftime thought: Juwan Mitchell led the Longhorns with 12 tackles, including two for loss. Eight different Longhorns logged a pass breakup. Still, despite a good game from the Longhorn defensive front, Texas managed a single sack from Moro Ojomo.

Post-halftime thought: After allowing Baylor to score its first touchdown of the game, Ehlinger dropped back on third and medium and looked for Jared Wiley. He thought Wiley was open, but Mark Milton left his assignment and cut across to Wiley and deflected the ball. JT Woods ended up with it, and gave Baylor the ball with a short field.

Post-halftime thought: Even though it was evident Charlie Brewer struggled with deep passing, Texas still decided to respect it for much of the game. As a result, many short routes were open for the Baylor quarterback. Texas did a decent job of tackling, but the limited nature of the Baylor offense should have been evident from the start.

Post-halftime thought: Baylor made it a 11-point game with 7:37 left following the Woods interception. They were aided by a short field, but Texas’ defense was unable to stop the dink-and-dunk Baylor offense.

Post-halftime thought:

Post-halftime thought: An 11-point lead with 7:37 left typically results in conservative play-calling from Tom Herman. On this occasion, the play-calls were outside zone, then a big pass over the middle to Wiley. They faced a third and short following Wiley’s reception, ran a trick play, and was held short. It didn’t look like Herman’s typical conservative play-calling, but the end result was the same.

Post-halftime thought: Baylor had 4:01 to score 11 points, and luckily for Texas Joseph Ossai returned to the field. On fourth and two with the game on the line, it wasn’t Ossai who made the play but rather Chris Brown.

Post-halftime thought: Overall, Texas exited with a win. It wasn’t impressive, but it was a win nonetheless and those haven’t come easy for the Longhorns this year.

(Cover photo courtesy of Texas Athletics)