Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) tries to evade Baylor linebacker Jordan Williams (38) on Nov. 23, 2019 in Waco. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Football

Texas vs. Baylor: Five questions facing the Longhorns

Posted October 23rd, 2020

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Five questions facing Texas on Saturday against Baylor:

1. Does Sam Ehlinger get his first true win against Baylor?

Technically, Ehlinger has beaten every team in the Big 12 in his impressive career. The Baylor square on his Big 12 bingo card is marked with an asterisk, though. The senior quarterback missed UT’s 2017 rout in Waco, and he was then injured on the first possession of UT’s 23-17 win in 2018. Ehlinger did start against Baylor last year, but he only threw for 200 yards in a loss. Ehlinger owns Texas’ single-game passing highs against five teams from the Big 12. He needs 357 yards to topple Case McCoy for UT’s best-ever performance against Baylor.

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2. Does Baylor look rusty after a long break?

Due to issues with COVID-19, Baylor has only played twice this season. And since last week’s game against Oklahoma State was moved to December, the Bears have also been idle since Oct. 3. Will it take the Bears a while to get going on Saturday? Texas has forced a punt on their opponent’s first drive three times this season, and the Longhorns have scored on two of their four opening possessions. In conference play, Texas and its opponents are locked in a 24-24 tie over their three first quarters.

3. Will the UT running backs continue to be grounded?

Texas actually ranks fourth in the Big 12 in rushing offense, but UT’s only 100-yard rushing performance belongs to Ehlinger. Junior Keaontay Ingram (89) and sophomore Roschon Johnson (63) have both topped 50 yards once. During the team’s last outing against Oklahoma, the running back trio of Ingram, Johnson and Bijan Robinson combined for 29 yards on 11 attempts. Baylor hasn’t given up a 100-yard game this season, but Kansas’ Pooka Williams and West Virginia’s Leddie Brown both ran for two scores against the Bears.

4. How much production does Texas get in the slot?

Jordan Whittington paced Texas with his 10 receptions in the Red River Showdown, but another injury will sideline the redshirt freshman for the next couple of weeks. With Whittington out, what other options does Texas have in the slot? Sophomore Jake Smith is currently listed as the starter. The Longhorns could also turn to Oregon graduate transfer Brenden Schooler and walk-on Kai Money. Smith has been limited by hamstring problems his fall and Schooler recently appeared on UT’s injury report. Texas expected both players at practice this week.

5. Does Jahdae Barron make a play against his former team?

Barron is a true freshman on the Texas roster, but he does have a significant tie to Baylor. Barron actually signed with Baylor this past December. He, however, was granted a release by Baylor following Matt Rhule’s departure and Dave Aranda’s hire. He later signed with Texas and is listed as a backup cornerback on the depth chart. As a backup, Barron’s stats are minimal (two tackles, one pass breakup). He has recorded a huge highlight, however. Against Texas Tech, Barron scored a touchdown when he recovered a blocked punt.

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