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Breakfast with Bevo: Ten takeaways from Baylor 28, Texas 7

Posted October 5th, 2014

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s October 5th — 278 down, 87 to go.

And 34 till Baylor and Oklahoma play.

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YESTERDAY: The college football landscape — and, possibly, the future four-team playoff field — changed radically as No. 2 Oregon (last Thursday), No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 8 UCLA all suffered first losses. No. 7 Baylor didn’t though, cruising past Texas in the second half, 28-7. It was another great day for the MLB playoffs — the Giants went up 2-0 over the Nationals with a 2-1 win in 18 innings (Texas ex Brandon Belt hit the go-ahead homer in the 18th), and the Dodgers evened their series with the Cardinals with a 3-2 win. And Eminem closed Day 2 of the ACL festival.

TODAY: The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans square off in Arlington (noon, CBS). There are two American League playoff games in a TBS double-header (Orioles at Tigers, 2:45 and then Angels at Royals (6:30). And it’s the final day for Week 1 of the ACL Festival. Pearl Jam closes out the night.

TOMORROW: Texas-OU week kicks off with press conferences in Austin and Norman. On Monday Night Football, it’s the Seahawks at Redskins (7:30, ESPN).

Oct. 5 has a sports history. On this date, Giants slugger Barry Bonds hit his record-breaking 71st and 72nd home runs of the season, breaking Mark McGwire’s three-year old record (2001); the NFL fined Bengals coach Sam Wyche $30,000 for refusing to allow a female reporter into Cincinnati’s locker room (1990); Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson won his 324th career game, becoming the winningest coach in college football history (1985); and golfing great Walter Hagen died (1969).

Last year on Oct. 5, David Ash — still suffering from lingering effects of a concussion — was ruled out for that week’s Oklahoma game.

Today’s sports birthdays: Grant Hill (42), Rex Chapman (47), Patrick Roy (49) and Mario Lemieux (also 49). Other notables: Jesse Eisenberg (31), Kate Winslet (39), Neil Degrasse Tyson (56), Bob Geldof (63) and Steve Miller (71).

TODAY’S TRIVIA: When Eddie Robinson’s Grambling State team beat Prairie View A&M on Oct. 5, 1985, he won his 324th career game, edging him past whom for the top spot on the all-time coaching victories list? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)

TODAY’S LEAD: BAYLOR 28, TEXAS 7. Ten thoughts, observations and tidbits from Saturday’s loss:

No. 1: Baylor was Baylor: It took awhile, but the Bears’ offensive finally woke up thanks to that big fake punt in the third quarter. The Bears (5-0, 2-0) have now outscored teams 255-62 through five games, Bryce Petty (7-22-111, 2/0) moved into the No. 2 spot on Baylor’s all-time TD passes list (with 42), Shock Linwood (28 carries for 148 yards, 1 TD) had his best game of the season and the Bears came close to handing Texas a home shutout loss for the first time since 1976. Baylor’s winning with an overwhelming offense and an underrated defense. Texas, with its defense ranked 20th nationally, gave the Bears a scare, though.

“Sometimes it’s going to be like that,” Petty said. “It was ugly, but it’s a win nonetheless. Anytime you go out there, I would much rather it be ugly than pretty. We got the win, which is exactly what we wanted to do. It wasn’t exactly how I planned it, but we got it done.”

No. 2: Texas was Texas: This is getting a little repetitive, isn’t it? The defense played very well, well enough to give the Longhorns a chance, but offensive problems doomed the Longhorns. Tyrone Swoopes (16-34-144, 0/2) was erratic, either overthrowing or underthrowing targets, even the open ones. The running game looked a little better, with Johnathan Gray scoring his first TD of the season, but the Horns were still out-rushed by the Bears and couldn’t sustain drives beyond two long ones of 90-plus yards that yielded one touchdown and one lost fumble. Texas is in real danger of falling to 2-4 with Oklahoma on deck.

What were the Horns saying after the game?

Charlie Strong, on how to teach this team to win: “Well, it’s a process.”

Play-caller Shawn Watson, on whether Swoopes looked nervous: “Today it did. Today it did, absolutely. … And you know, I talked to him about it during the game, just staying calm in the pocket and keeping his eyes where his work was … a  young quarterback, you go through this with them. There are a lot of speed bumps with them, and you just have to keep working.”

Watson, on Swoopes’ development: “I look at it like he’s a freshman. His game experience last year was more as a runner, and he wasn’t in a whole lot of game plans. He’s still gaining confidence in what he’s doing. It’s a process with the players.”

Strong, on keeping the defense positive: “They understand that is how we are going to win, and the plan to win is go play great defense. We have to do that, and we know where we are offensively and the players understand.”

Malcolm Brown, on the offense’s struggles: “I’ve noticed it. I don’t like it at all. I definitely want to go out and match the defense. To win a game, you have to go out and score some points.”

John Harris, on the offense’s struggles: “The offense is just hurting themselves. We are hurting this team. We’ve just got to score points. … If we can’t score, then we aren’t going to be able to compete in the Big 12. That’s just a fact of the matter.”

Strong, on that critical failed 98-yard drive: “We cause our own destruction, and we can’t do that.”

No. 3: What does it all mean?: Did this game tell us more about Texas or Baylor? I vote Baylor. It was the first true test for the Bears, who’d beaten up SMU, Northwestern State, Buffalo and Iowa State. Texas’ defense looks legit. The Bears looked lethargic on offense, seeming more intent on delivering body blows to the body rather than looking for a knockout punch by running Linwood rather than testing Texas’ secondary. Baylor’s still undefeated and has the inside track to the Big 12 title, with tests against TCU at home this week and then a road trip to Norman on Nov. 18 to go. The Bears get K-State at home to close the regular season. Texas, meanwhile, continues to look like its fortunes will ride on (a) the defensive effort and (b) any offensive contributions Swoopes and company can muster.

No. 4: The Whys of Texas: Why try that 52-yard field goal attempt early, especially after the defensive momentum generated by stopping Baylor on its first drive and given the fact that Rose has really struggled this year? Why not actually use Daje Johnson, if you’re going to place him back on the field? He was non-existent even before he tweaked his hamstring, as Strong told us after the game. Why isn’t defensive coordinator Vance Bedford going to answer questions after games anymore? And why not see what Jerrod Heard can do?

No. 5: Five key phases of the game (and who won them): Offense (Baylor, 389-334 in total yards); Defense (Texas); Special Teams (Baylor); Turnovers (Texas 3, Baylor 0) and 3rd-Down Conversions (Push — Texas 6-17, Baylor 6-18).

No. 6: Offensive game ball: RB Johnathan Gray. He’s averaging only 12 carries a game this season (Brown’s averaging 13), but looked quick Saturday. He averaged 6.6 yards a carry and scored his first TD since the win over Iowa State last year on Oct. 3, 2013 — almost a year to the day.

No. 7: Defensive game ball: LB Steve Edmond. He must’ve had lots of eyes on him after the “trash” comments on Baylor in the spring. But Edmond was all over the place Saturday — a game-high 17 tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. Those 17 tackles were a career high for him, too.

No. 8: Toeing the line: Texas, a 16½-point underdog, lost by 21.

No. 9: Sweet tweet: From former Statesman staffer Matt Obernauer (@mattobernauer).

“HELP WANTED: Offense. Opportunities available on o-line and at skill positions. Please contact C. Strong, Austin, #Texas”

No. 10: Milestones: Texas leads the overall series (74-26-2) and has won 17 of the last 22 vs. Baylor — that’s the optimist’s view of things — but the Bears have now won four of the last five over the Longhorns, for you pessimists. … Baylor was one of only two teams in the country (New Mexico State) that hadn’t allowed a sack all season, but Texas got to Petty three times. … Gray moved from 22nd to 19th on UT’s all-time rushing list, passing Selvin Young, Shon Mitchell and Gib Dawson along the way. … Harris’ streak of a TD catch in four straight games was snapped, but the streak tied for fifth in UT history. … and speaking of snapped streaks, Swoopes’ streak of 77 straight passes without an interception was stopped too; it ranked 10th on UT’s all-time list.

Up next for Texas: Oklahoma, on Saturday, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (11 a.m., ABC). The formerly fourh-ranked Sooners (4-1, 1-1) lost at TCU yesterday.

Our coverage from Texas-Baylor: Kirk Bohls isn’t calling for Texas to start Heard over Swoopes, but does think the freshman should be given a shot to see some action ($) and Cedric Golden wrote on the huge day for the defense ($) and the even huger pressure it’ll be facing moving forward. We also wrote about two key plays to the game ($) that occurred on special teams (the blocked field goal that turned into a Baylor touchdown, and the fake punt that woke up the Baylor offense), answered our five pregame questions facing Texas ($), had a Third and Longhorns rail of analysis ($), wrote on Johnson’s lifted suspension in our game notebook ($) and, for any of you who were at ACL or otherwise missed the game, wrote a quarter-by-quarter game recap ($).

How others covered it: The Dallas Morning News put Saturday’s results into this week’s perspective, saying the Texas-OU game took a hit with losses to the Horns and Sooners. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s game story centered on Baylor and its opportunity to move up in the polls ($). The San Antonio Express-News wrote on the Texas-Baylor rivalry’s impact from Saturday’s game. And the Waco Tribune-Herald wrote about the strange way Baylor won — with defense and special teams, not offense.

LONGHORNS REPORT CARD: Quickie grades, out of the Baylor game …

Quarterbacks: C-

Running backs: B

Receivers: C

Offensive line: C

Defensive line: B

Linebackers: A

Secondary: A

Special teams: F

BIG 12 STANDINGS

T1: Baylor (2-0, 5-0). Next, vs. TCU (2:30 Saturday, ABC)

T1: Oklahoma State (2-0, 4-1). Next, at Kansas (3 Saturday, Fox Sports 1)

T1: Kansas State (2-0, 4-1). The Wildcats are off this week.

4. TCU (1-0, 4-0). Next, at Baylor (2:30 Saturday, ABC)

T5: Oklahoma (1-1, 4-1). Next, vs. Texas (11 a.m. Saturday, Cotton Bowl, ABC)

T5: Texas (1-1, 2-3). Next, vs. Oklahoma (see above)

T5: West Virginia (1-1, 3-2). Next, at Texas Tech (11 a.m. Saturday, no TV)

T8: Kansas (0-2, 2-3). Next, vs. Oklahoma State (3 Saturday, Fox Sports 1)

T8: Texas Tech (0-2, 2-3). Next, vs. West Virginia (11 a.m. Saturday, no TV)

9. Iowa State (0-3, 1-4). Next, vs. Toledo (2:30 Saturday, no TV)

AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams.

Football: Texas got its second commitment for its 2016 class on Saturday in Manvel receiver Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. That’s two four-star wideouts for ’16.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson broke Bear Bryant’s previous all-time coaching victories record. Bryan, who retired three years earlier in 1982, won 323 games at Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama.

ON OCT. 5 …

1970: PBS, or the Public Broadcasting System, was founded.

1969: The first episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” aired, on BBC One.

1962: The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do” backed with “P.S. I Love You,” was released in the United Kingdom. On that same day, the very first James Bond film — “Dr. No” — was released as well.

TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 4-17. Texas’ record against ranked teams since 2010.

TODAY’S BIGGER NUMBER: 13.5. Average points per game for Texas with Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback.

TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 21. Years since Texas has started a season worse than 2-3; in 1993, the Longhorns started out 1-3-1 after five games.

OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.

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