Keys to the Game: vs. Baylor

Wills Layton

Get the running game back on track

Aside from the one screen pass that junior John Burt took 90 yards, the offense was quite frankly offensive to watch versus Oklahoma State. Freshman Sam Ehlinger could not get it going through the air or on the ground, and the running back duo of freshman Toneil Carter and junior Chris Warren III could not generate any more than 36 yards combined. 

Ehlinger ran for over 100 yards against both Oklahoma and Kansas State, but without that kind of production on the ground, the offense stalls. Passing lanes close up
because there is no run game to keep the defense honest.

Baylor does not have a lot going for them at the moment, but the one thing they do have is a decent run defense. Last week, the Bears held a ranked West Virginia team to 118 rushing yards. While the matchup favors the Longhorns, the run offense will have to get on track to put the game away.

Shake off the disappointment   

Texas has suffered a handful of disappointing losses this season, from losing in double overtime to USC to the gut-wrenching overtime loss to Oklahoma State
last weekend.

A loss to the Bears would be almost as catastrophic as last year’s loss to Kansas. In order for the Longhorns to make a bowl game, they will have to win three out of the final five games, starting with their match against Baylor this weekend.

The Longhorns have been able to rebound from disappointment already this season, winning San Jose State after their loss to Maryland and rattling off two Big 12 victories following the USC loss. In order for the team to move forward and collect the three wins necessary for a bowl game, shaking off the disappointment is a must.

Continue the defensive performance 

Prior to last Saturday’s game, Oklahoma State had scored over 41 points in each of its victories. Holding the Cowboys to 10 points in regular time and 13 overall was quite a feat.

Throughout the entire season, Texas has shown elite defensive ability. The USC game was the first glimpse — the Longhorns controlled the run game and limited Heisman candidate Sam Darnold’s effectiveness. In both the Iowa State and Oklahoma State games, the defense limited the opposing offenses to a combined 20 points.

While Baylor may not pose as much of a challenge to the Texas defense, the team needs to keep up the pace and maintain the strong performance regardless of its opponent.