Few people expected Texas to blast Baylor so convincingly. Texas opened its final season in the Big 12 with a 38-6 rout over the rival Bears, bringing an end to a regular-season series that began in 1901. The Longhorns (4-0, 1-0) finally got off to the fast start that had eluded them so far this season. They cranked up the offense early in the game and Baylor (1-3, 0-1) had no answers. The Texas defense continued its run of dominating performances.
The game plan under Texas offensive coordinator Kyle Flood was to play smash-mouth football from the opening whistle. The offense executed the plan from the start and took Baylor’s fans out of the game. It was a Week Four matchup that fizzled right in front of their disbelieving eyes. There were no fourth-quarter heroics required this week of the Longhorns. It was a change of pace for Texas after pulling away from Wyoming late last week and the hard-fought win against Alabama the week before.
The Sack Exchange
The Longhorns’ defense got off to a roaring start in the first series when linebacker Jett Bush and lineman Byron Murphy each had a sack against backup Baylor quarterback Sawyer Robertson. Lineman Vernon Broughton quickly got into the act with another Robertson sack early in the first quarter. Murphy finished the game with two sacks and edge rusher Justice Finkley also got to the quarterback.
Robertson was under siege throughout the game. The sophomore transfer from Mississippi State was sacked five times and held to 203 yards on 20-of-35 passing. The Texas defense held Baylor without a touchdown, and Longhorns linebacker Jaylan Ford intercepted a pass for his second pickoff of the season.
Jonathon Brooks Is the Real Deal
The Texas running game that finally came to life the week prior against Wyoming showed up again. Jonathon Brooks, fresh off his 164 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, kick-started the Longhorns’ offense with a 40-yard scoring romp. Brooks ran the ball nine times for 63 yards and two scores in the first half as Texas got off to a fast start.
Brooks tallied 106 yards on 18 carries with no fumbles. Texas lost two of the three fumbles it committed against Baylor. Brooks has solidified his place as the team’s top running back with his productivity and ball security.
Texas Offense Makes an Appearance
The Texas offense scored an average of 13 points in the first half during its first three games. It came out on the attack against Baylor and led 28-6 at halftime. Quarterback Quinn Ewers hit seven different receivers in the first half while connecting on 11 of 14 passes for 122 yards. He also ran for a 29-yard touchdown. Ewers finished the game with 293 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-23 passing.
Tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders was the secret weapon this week for Texas. He led all receivers with five catches for 110 yards. Backup Gunnar Helm caught two passes for 37 yards and seems to be working himself more into the game plan as the season progresses.
Texas has held opponents to 12.5 points a game through the first month of the season. The Longhorns completely shut down the Baylor running game. The Bears managed just 60 yards on 31 attempts. Their leading rusher was backup quarterback RJ Martinez, who entered in the fourth quarter and ran three times for 22 yards. The most productive Baylor running back was Dawson Pendergrass with 21 yards on six carries.
Baylor converted only five of 18 third-down attempts. Baylor’s offense simply could not stay on the field. Ford led the Longhorns with eight tackles, while freshman linebacker Anthony Hill turned in another solid game with six tackles.
The Texas defense is shaping up as the best to come along since 2009 when the Longhorns went 13-1 and lost to Alabama in the National Championship. Co-defensive coordinators Jeff Choate and Pete Kwiatkowski rotate players liberally along the defensive line and the secondary.
The Big 12 Meat Grinder Continues
Baylor appeared flat in its Big 12 finale against the hated Longhorns. The Bears barely put up a fight while playing before a sold-out home crowd at McLane Stadium. It was mystifying, especially considering Baylor came into the game 2-2 against Texas over the last four years and had not lost at home to the Longhorns since 2017. Texas left Waco for the final time with a win and improved its overall record against Baylor to 81-28-4.
Next up for the Longhorns is Kansas (4-0, 1-0). The Jayhawks are led by quarterback Jalon Daniels, who is ranked 17th nationally in QBR. Kansas will return to Austin next week for the first time since pulling off its 57-56 win in 2021, the year Jayhawks Head Coach Lance Leipold took over the program.