It’s all over at Royal-Memorial Stadium. No. 9-ranked Texas, a 16-point favorite today, has beaten Baylor, 23-17.
It was Texas’ fourth straight win over the Bears.
The big storyline of the day: It was Shane Buechele, not Sam Ehlinger, who led Texas to the win. Ehlinger played all of 11 snaps before exiting the game with a shoulder injury on the opening drive. It was the first we’ve seen of Buechele all season, and the junior backup certainly looked a bit rusty. He overthrew a handful of receivers but also logged UT’s second longest touchdown pass of the season and a win over Baylor for the third straight year.
Still, this one was anything but easy. Baylor, having reached Texas’ 17-yard line with 12 seconds left, took three shots into the end zone. Brandon Jones couldn’t corral an interception on the first, Charlie Brewer threw incomplete on the second and Charles Omenihu forced Brewer into a bad pass on the final one.
Why Texas (6-1, 4-0) won
Things could have gone south when Ehlinger exited and Buechele — who hadn’t played all season — took over. But the Longhorns reached bowl-eligibility by relying on their defense and the running game. Keaontay Ingram had UT’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season. And, just like we saw against TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma, Texas put it away in the fourth quarter with a pair of clock-chewing drives. Those drives didn’t yield points, but they did keep the ball away from Baylor. And the defense held at the very end, denying the Bears three shots at a final-minute upset.
Why Baylor (4-3, 2-2) lost
You can’t say the Bears didn’t have their chances. There was a dropped touchdown pass that forced them to settle for a field goal; another dropped third-down pass that forced a punt, which Texas turned into a touchdown drive; and two dropped interceptions. And down only a touchdown with five minutes left, Baylor couldn’t get a first down. The Bears’ final chance required them to go 97 yards in the final two minutes. Baylor came close, but couldn’t score.
How the Top 10 has fared:
No. 1 Alabama is playing Missouri this evening.
No. 2 Georgia lost 36-16 at No. 13 LSU.
No. 3 Ohio State beat Minnesota, 30-14.
No. 4 Clemson is off this week.
No. 5 Notre Dame beat Pitt, 19-14.
No. 6 West Virginia plays at Iowa State this evening.
No. 7 Washington and No. 17 Oregon are currently in overtime.
No. 8 Penn State is leading Michigan State late, 17-14.
No. 9 Texas beat Baylor, 23-17.
No. 10 Central Florida won its 19th straight game, 31-30 over Memphis.
The off week couldn’t be coming at a better time. All eyes are on Ehlinger’s shoulder. Texas’ remaining games are at Oklahoma State, then home vs. West Virginia, than at Texas Tech, then home vs. Iowa State and then at Kansas on the day after Thanksgiving.
Last year, Buechele was 27 of 34 for 256 yards, two total touchdowns and an interception in a 38-7 win in Waco. Today, he finished 20 of 34 for 184 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It was an up-and-down afternoon for him; his 44-yard touchdown pass to Collin Johnson in the second quarter was a nicely placed throw that hit the well-covered Johnson in stride down the right sideline. But he also threw Texas’ first pick since the Maryland game, overthrew several receivers and tried, but couldn’t find, Devin Duvernay on a handful of downfield shots.
Buechele’s touchdown to Johnson was his first scoring pass since last year’s Texas Bowl.
Seventeen unanswered points over the final four-and-a-half minutes — Johnson’s touchdown pass, a short touchdown run from Lil’Jordan Humphrey and a Cameron Dicker field goal — gave Texas a comfortable 23-10 halftime lead. But the Longhorns opened the second half cold, two drives ending with an interception and a missed 36-yard field goal.
That 13-point cushion evaporated into a one-score game to end the quarter — with Baylor driving. But the drive stalled at Texas’ 47 on a third-down sack by Charles Omenihu. That was Omenihu’s second sack of the game and his fifth in the last five games.
The Longhorns chewed up a lot of clock on the ensuing drive, but got no points off it when Dicker missed from 51 yards with the wind at his back. It was his second miss of the game.
Baylor, trailing 23-17, got the ball back with 5:51 left at its own 34. But Anthony Wheeler stopped John Lovett for a short gain, Brewer threw incomplete and he missed Chris Platt on third-and-7. The Bears punted it back with 4:46 left.
Texas: Cameron Dicker 40-yard field goal, 8:57
Baylor: Denzel Mims 19-yard pass from Charlie Brewer (Connor Martin kick, 3:08)
Texas: Dicker 35-yard field goal, 14:56
Baylor: Martin 46-yard field goal, 5:03
Texas: Collin Johnson 44-yard pass from Shane Buechele (Dicker kick, 4:21)
Texas: Lil’Jordan Humphrey 3-yard run (Dicker kick, 1:12)
Texas: Dicker 47-yard field goal, 0:00
Baylor: Hurd 2-yard run (Martin kick, 4:33)
Next up for Texas
An off week. The Longhorns’ next game is Oct. 27 at Oklahoma State.
The last five Texas-Oklahoma State games:
2013: Oklahoma State, 38-13 (Austin)
2014: Texas 28-7 (Stillwater)
2015: Oklahoma State, 30-27 (Austin)
2016: Oklahoma State, 49-31 (Stillwater)
2017: Oklahoma State, 13-10 in overtime (Austin)
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