Baylor no longer pushover in Big 12

Nick Castillo

Before Art Briles became the head football coach at Baylor, the Bears went 3-9 in 2007. Since then, Baylor has won 48 games and claimed its first Big 12 Championship in school history in 2013. 

While the Bears turned their program around, the Longhorns trended downward. Texas’ record since 2010 is 32-23. 

Texas has lost two of its four games this season, while Baylor is undefeated and ranked No. 7 in the country. Despite Baylor holding the upper hand, the Longhorn players have been calling out the Bears heading into their matchup this Saturday.

“They’re still Baylor,” senior wide receiver John Harris said. “Just because they started playing better, that’s good for them. We’re still Texas.”

Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs refused to recognize Baylor’s self-proclaimed title of “WRU” — Wide Receiver University. When asked about the Bears’ new moniker, Diggs said that “nobody’s ever heard of that.”

The quotes from Harris and Diggs provided bulletin board material for the Bears. Online message boards are full of people calling out Harris for being entitled and Diggs for being unaware of Baylor’s wide receiver prowess.

Texas players need to be aware of Baylor’s on-field ability, as the Bears lead the nation in points per game with 56.8. Baylor’s passing offense is ranked fourth in the nation, averaging 401.3 passing yards per game. Baylor also averages 239.8 rushing yards per game. 

The Baylor offense will be hard for Texas to defend, but the Bears’ defense will give the Longhorns their biggest challenge. Defensively, the Bears are sixth in the country in total defense, giving up just 250.5 yards per game. Baylor’s defense has recorded 18 sacks this season, a troubling stat for Texas’ young and inexperienced offensive line. While sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has only thrown one interception this season, the Bears may exploit the young quarterback, as they are the eighth best team in the nation in scoring defense.

The Longhorns will have their hands full Saturday, but the coaches are fully aware of the challenge in front of them.

“We know this — it’s a big test this week,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “They just generate points. It’s almost like watching a video game. You watch a play, it’s a touchdown there, and the next time they come back up, hand the ball off then they go score another touchdown. The quarterback is unbelievable — a Heisman candidate. Coach Briles has done an unbelievable job with that program. So it’s going to be a major test for us. We’re going to have to play well. We’re going to have to play above our head.”

While Texas may challenge Baylor early in the game, the Longhorns must realize that the Bears won’t easily be beat. Texas isn’t the Texas of old, and Baylor isn’t “just”
Baylor anymore.