WACO — The Texas Longhorns showed up in Waco with some fight in them despite an otherwise dismal season.
The 20-0 score is nothing close to what us so-called experts thought would happen. Here are a few thoughts from the first half.
These teams don’t like one another. It got a bit tense near the end of the first quarter when the benches cleared after Duke Thomas’ interception. Baylor somehow avoided a penalty despite most of its players running all the way across the field to join the fray. Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
It’s good to see a little juice in a Texas-Baylor game. And what’s up with Texas finally showing up with some fight in a true road game? First time all year.
Texas defense? Wow
Vance Bedford just had his best coaching half of his Texas tenure. The defense , playing without starters Malik Jefferson, Peter Jinkens, Hassan Ridgeway, and Dylan Haines, threw a shutout and forced three turnovers. Baylor entered the game with 559 points through 11 games, the fourth most since major college football classification began in 1937 and they walked off the field with a goose egg in the first half.
This marks the first time Baylor was blanked in a first half since a 2011 loss at Oklahoma State. That was a spirited half of football by this defense. But can they keep it up for two more quarters?
The Baylor offense? Double wow
The Bears look nothing like a team that’s playing for a Sugar Bowl berth. The offense is out of sync, an issue compounded by quarterback Chris Johnson being knocked out of the game. The Bears are on their fourth quarterback of the season, Lynx Hawthorne and he has already served up a couple of interceptions.
This offense is plenty capable of putting points on the board but Briles’ bunch is clearly in a funk. That’s five straight scoreless quarters dating back to last week’s loss at rain-filled Amon G. Carter Stadium (not counting the overtime period vs. TCU).
The deep balls aren’t there still but Tyrone Swoopes has done a good job of guiding the Horns so far. He has a pair of rushing touchdowns and hasn’t turned the ball over though a Baylor corner dropped a sure interception on the goal line in the first quarter.
I’m surprised to see Jerrod Heard getting some action after that concussion last week. Given that there’s nothing on the line today but pride, I would have held him out of this one.
Chris Warren III is rumbling
It isn’t the pace he set against Texas Tech but Chris Warren III is giving this offense what it needs and that’s a physical presence in the run game. The big back has eight carries for 66 yards meaning he has rushed for 342 yard on 33 carries over his last six quarters. That’s over 80 yards a quarter if you’re scoring at home.
So what happens?
Baylor shows up in the second half but if it’s Lynx Hawthorne quarterbacking, I don’t see Texas giving up this lead. If Texas blows this, an expected long season in Austin will get a lot longer.
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