Saturday, the Texas Longhorns will face one of its oldest rivals—Baylor—in a matchup that has all the makings of a do-or-die game for the Longhorn season.
Last season, The University of Texas lost a back-and-forth game to Baylor 24-10 in Waco. This year will mark the 60th time the two programs face off against each other in the capital city, with Longhorns fans hoping that this season's home field advantage might play a role in a Texas victory.
Baylor, losers of their last conference game against West Virginia on Oct. 3, come to Austin in hopes of moving up the Big 12 standing and competing for a conference title at the end of the year.
The Longhorns, and their fans, are still trying to get over the overtime loss to Oklahoma two weeks ago, which not only knocked Texas out of AP's Top 25 ranking but also put them at 1-2 in conference play. Add into the mix the debate over "The Eyes of Texas" still burning bright on Longhorn message boards, with the Longhorn band reported not to be traveling due to resistance to play the song. Even the school mascot Bevo isn't safe from controversy after being sued by a photographer it charged at the Sugar Bowl in 2019.
Dear Baylor Bears: you’d better strap-down your helmets, the Longhorns are our for revenge. Seriously, you’ll get… https://t.co/YebyNj45Vs— Ed (@Ed)1603152081.0
One of the only bright spots has been senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger threw for 200 yards and rushed for 79 more against the Baylor defense last year. This season, Ehlinger has continued being dangerous with both his arm and his legs, leading the conference in passing yards (1,211) and touchdowns (16). Combined with his five rushing touchdowns, Ehlinger is the proven dual-threat quarterback in the conference. But even with Ehlinger and the offensive successes, the Texas defense still ranks near the bottom of the conference in defensive efficiency.
The defense shouldn't be a problem this weekend however for the Longhorns. Baylor has struggled putting points on the board against good Big 12 competition, scoring only 21 points in two overtimes against West Virginia.
Longhorns fans of course are always nervous when senior quarterback Charlie Brewer comes to town. Brewer threw for a touchdown and rushed for one last season in the match up in Waco, but was forced to leave against West Virginia two weeks ago due to a shoulder injury.
After the Bears had to move their game last week against Oklahoma State back due to COVID concerns, Brewer has had two weeks of rest and should be ready to go for Saturday's game. The Baylor quarterback's arm is still something for Texas fans to keep an eye on as the game progresses on Saturday.
A Sam Ehlinger led football team has never beaten a Charlie Brewer led football team: 2015 - lost 35-14 2016 - inj… https://t.co/dT1f3JIIW9— Kyle Umlang (@Kyle Umlang)1603242485.0
The match between the Bears and Longhorns will be ugly. These are two of the most penalized teams in the conferences, and something UT will have to cut down on if they want to win against Baylor. The Longhorns beat themselves on many drives against the Sooners by jumping offsides and committing penalties that took big plays off the board.
To beat Baylor it will come down to three key questions.
- Can the Texas offensive line allow Sam Ehlinger and red shirt sophomore receiver Joshua Moore enough time to move the ball down field and keep Baylor linebacker Terrel Bernard out of the picture?
- Can the Texas defense contain Brewer?
- Can Texas cut out all the different distractions that have been circling this team all season?
The Longhorns are 12-4 coming off a loss in the Tom Herman era. The Longhorns season may be on the line as they try to protect home field against the Baylor Bears at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
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