It’s halftime, and Texas is leading Baylor 21-7 at McLane Stadium in Waco.
The Longhorns are 7-point favorites today.
It should be at least 24-7, but we’ll get into that later.
What’s happened so far:
1. Don’t be fooled by the score. This isn’t a case where the Longhorns are cruising past a winless team. One of Texas’ three touchdowns was a pick-six. Another was set up by a Baylor miscue that gave Texas the ball at the 28-yard line.
2. Texas, though, clearly is the better team today. The Longhorns lead in total yards (231-131), passing (154 yards to 119), rushing (77-12), first downs (12-6). The Bears have committed two turnovers.
3. Shane Buechele, making his first start since the Iowa State game because Sam Ehlinger’s in concussion protocol, is 15 of 19 for 154 yards and a touchdown. He’s also the Longhorns’ leading rusher (5-45-1).
4. It took DeShon Elliott all of three plays to advance his Thorpe Award candidacy. Zach Smith’s pass over the middle went off the receiver’s hands and Elliott plucked it, then returned it 46 yards for a touchdown.
5. The running game? Non-existent. Again.
The Longhorns worked Toneil Carter and Daniel Young early. Neither distinguished himself — Carter’s averaging 2.5 yards a carry on 8 attempts (20 yards) and Young’s averaging 2.3 (4 carries, 9 yards). Chris Warren III? Two carries. Three yards. Kyle Porter? Hasn’t played.
And the Horns aren’t trusting their backs in key situations. Texas went for it on fourth-and-2, but ran it with Buechele (1 yard). On third-and-2 in the second quarter, it was a carry by Lil’Jordan Humphrey (no gain). That led to another fourth-and-2, and the Longhorns called a pass play (incomplete).
And this against the worst rushing defense in the Big 12.
6. The defense? Solid. Again.
There was Elliott’s pick-six. Holton Hill stripped Terrance Williams of the ball inside Baylor’s 20. The Bears have 121 total yards. They’ve committed two turnovers. And Baylor has only five first downs.
7. Joshua Rowland? Shaky. Baylor nose tackle Ira Lewis got a paw on Rowland’s first field goal attempt, from 27 yards out. It spoiled a golden opportunity for points courtesy of the defense; Holton Hill stripped Bears running back Terrance Williams of the ball inside Baylor’s 20.
8. Let’s talk third downs. Texas is winning the third-down conversions battle. Barely. And that’s not saying much. The Bears are only 1 of 8 on third downs, but the Longhorns are only 3 of 9.
On Texas’ first drive, on third-and-19, he ended up dumping it off to Chris Warren III for 2 yards. The second drive ended when he threw to Collin Johnson for 2 yards on third-and-6.
But on third-and-5 from Baylor’s 15 in the second quarter, Buechele found Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a touchdown. That capped a 90-yard drive.
On the next drive, Buechele converted a third-and-9 by escaping a pass rusher who had blown past Terrell Cuney and running around the right side for 10 yards.
9. Kris Boyd has been called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Antwuan Davis was called for one in the second quarter. All three were on
10. Holton Hill exited for the locker room early in the second quarter, possibly for concussion protocol. He looked wobbly after making an open-field tackle. He returned with about 5 minutes left in the half.
Boyd and John Bonney bit on a play-action pass from Charlie Brewer to Blake Lynch for 52 yards down to the 3. Baylor scored two plays later. Boyd had a shot at a pick late in the half, but settled for the pass breakup.
Texas: DeShon Elliott 43-yard interception return (Joshua Rowland kick, 14:06)
Texas: Lil’Jordan Humphrey 15-yard pass from Shane Buechele (Rowland kick, 9:42)
Baylor: John Lovett 2-yard run (Connor Martin kick, 8:38)
Texas: Buechele 28-yard run (Rowland kick, 3:51)
The Longhorns will get the ball to start the second half.
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