Baylor running back Johnny Jefferson runs against Texas during the first half at McLane Stadium, Dec. 5, 2015. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Football

Texas vs. Baylor: Four questions facing the Horns

Posted October 28th, 2016

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Four questions facing Texas in Saturday’s game against Baylor:

1. Will Texas hand Seth Russell his first-ever loss?

Texas is less than a year removed from its 23-17 upset win over Baylor, but the Bears’ offense ended up being guided by a fourth-string quarterback for much of the loss. Seth Russell was sidelined by a neck injury for last year’s meeting in Waco, but he’ll be with the Bears on Saturday and is 14-0 as a starter. Russell has thrown for 1,470 yards and 16 touchdowns, and only four of his 177 passes have been intercepted. Russell is completing 57.1 percent of his passes, and he ranks fifth in the Big 12 in passing efficiency with a score of 152.1.

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AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 04: Shock Linwood #32 of the Baylor Bears runs the ball against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Baylor’s Shock Linwood runs the ball against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

2. Will Baylor Shock Texas with its ground game?

At 175.6 yards per game, Texas ranks sixth in the Big 12 and 78th in the nation in rushing defense. Opponents are averaging 3.9 yards per rush in their games against Texas, and Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine (214 yards), Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill (135), UTEP’s Aaron Jones (123) and Cal’s Vic Enwere (110) each had 100-yard games. Three different Bears have had a 100-yard performance this year: Shock Linwood (237 vs. Iowa State), Terence Williams (126 vs. Iowa State) and JaMycal Hasty (105 vs. Rice).

UT wide receiver Devin Duvernay (2) hauls in a touchdown pass against OU cornerback Jordan Thomas in the third quarter at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday October 8, 2016. Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman
UT receiver Devin Duvernay (2) hauls in a touchdown pass against OU cornerback Jordan Thomas in the third quarter at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday October 8, 2016. Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman

3. Will Devin Duvernay get more than one look?

A one-time Baylor recruit who ended up in Austin in the wake of the Bears’ sexual assault scandal, Duvernay has made a splash as a freshman. His 80 and 75-yard touchdown catches are Texas’ two longest plays of the season, and he also had a 63-yarder against Oklahoma. Duvernay, though, only has 10 catches, and that 80-yarder was the only throw that went his way in last week’s 24-21 loss to Kansas State. Will Duvernay get more work against the nation’s sixth-best passing defense?

Ishmael Zamora (8) of the Baylor Bears celebrates after the Baylor beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys 35-24 at McLane Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Ishmael Zamora (8) of the Baylor Bears celebrates after the Baylor beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys 35-24 at McLane Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

4. Will Texas finally give Baylor a test?

Baylor is unbeaten, ranked eighth in the country and is beating its opponents by an average of 26.5 points. But have the Bears really been tested, though? Four of Baylor’s wins have come against teams that currently have 1-6 records, and Oklahoma State had to travel to Waco on Sept. 24. Texas currently boasts a losing record, but the Longhorns haven’t been beaten at home. Baylor, however, has won four of the last six games in this I-35 rivalry.

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