Horns Illustrated

Football gets back on winning track with 27-16 win over Baylor

Sam Ehlinger - Texas Longhorns Football QB
(photo courtesy of University of Texas Athletics)

AUSTIN, Texas — Coaches will say that there is no such thing as an ugly win, especially after two heart-rending, last-minute losses that have opened up a big can of doubt about a team. 

Given those parameters, the Texas Longhorns’ 27-16 victory over Baylor on a cool, sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was as pretty as a picture, and ultimately, produced one very large sigh of relief on the 40 Acres.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger passed for 270 yards and a touchdown and added two scores on the ground for the Longhorns, and came alive through the middle 30 minutes of the game when Texas opened up its offense more. He ended up hitting on 14 of his 22 passes and ran 15 times for 51 yards.

Around the Big 12: Oklahoma State remains undefeated, hosts Longhorns Saturday

With the victory, the Longhorns (3-2 overall, 2-2 in Big 12 play) got back on the winning track after consecutive conference losses to TCU at home and to Oklahoma.

“I'm always relieved to get a win,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “You know, I told you guys, my bosses and myself are completely aligned and on the same page. I don't know that the release of a win was any more today than in any other time we win. Winning is intoxicating. But it is also a very, very big relief anytime you get a win.”

The players then stood en masse...

The players then stood en masse near the middle of the field for the playing of The Eyes of Texas, temporarily defusing a powder-keg of emotions surrounding the school song while giving the Longhorns’ coaches, the school administrators and fan base a needed reprieve in the reaction toward the controversy surrounding the racial insensitivity of the song.

[VIDEO]Texas Longhorns Light The Tower / Eyes of Texas Plays over loud speaker on campus

“We talked about it as a team and I'm glad everyone participated in the song, glad that we all did that together,” Texas defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham said. “But we also stayed, you know, focused on the game itself, and I'm glad that we went out there executed the way we did.”

Baylor (1-2overall, 1-2 in Big 12 play) was led by quarterback Charlie Brewer’s 256 yards passing. Brewer directed two fourth-quarter scoring drives for the Bears, but it was too little, too late.

“We played so much cleaner ... with just five penalties,” Herman said. “Very few missed assignments from what I can see, and those were the points of emphasis over the last two weeks. 

“I’m extremely proud of the response to those challenges by not only myself and our coaches, but the leaders on our team of really stepping up and challenging, their teammates. I’m really, really happy for our program for university for fans to get a much needed victory.”

This was Baylor’s first game since losing Oct. 3 at West Virginia; the Bears postponed their Oct. 17 game against Oklahoma State and employed a 10-day program-wide shutdown of football activities due to a Covid spike on the team before returning to practice Oct. 18.

Baylor got on the...

Baylor got on the board first on a 22-yard field goal by John Mayers with just 49 seconds to play in the first quarter. The kick came after a 12-play, 67-yard drive by the Bears.

Texas answered with a 42-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker at the 12:10 mark of the second quarter that culminated a 52-yard, 11-play march. The Longhorns then grabbed the lead for good on Dicker’s second field goal of the game, this one from 23 yards, with 6:15 to play in the second quarter.

Ehlinger connected with Joshua Moore on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 1:53 to play before halftime to push the Longhorns’ lead to 13-3. The scoring toss came two snaps after a leaping, 42-yard circus catch by Moore that set the table.

“That play is just the result of countless hours of routes with him,” Moore said. “I can't even tell you how many times Sam’s thrown those routes to me. I appreciate Sam for trusting me the way he does.”

After picking up just 37 total yards in the first quarter, Texas ended the half with a 233-148 edge in offense at the half, thanks mostly to a 147-yard quarter through the air by Ehlinger.

The Longhorns took control of the game on the...

The Longhorns took control of the game on the first possession of the third quarter, driving 75 yards in 12 plays to Ehlinger’s 1-yard touchdown plunge. Ehlinger added to the lead with a 9-yard sprint around the right side for touchdown with 20 seconds to play in the third quarter to put Texas ahead 27-3.

The Bears cut their deficit to 27-9 with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brewer to John Lovett early in the fourth quarter. After an Ehlinger interception and a 32-yard return by J.T. Woods, Brewer hit Gavin Holmes for a 8-yard touchdown to draw the Bears to within 27-16 with 7:37 to play. But they would get no closer.

The Longhorns have now won five of the past six meetings overall between the two teams, who have now played 110 times through the years.

“I can't (overstate) it to finally have, you know, two really good weeks of practice, then translate that into playing well in the game,” Herman said. “A game like this should provide a lot of confidence [for us]."

Texas returns to play on Halloween afternoon with a crucial Big 12 dustup against undefeated conference leader Oklahoma State in Stillwater. 

“We know we've got a lot of work to do and we've got a top-25 team ahead of us,” Herman said of the Oklahoma State game. “We're by no means a finished product on any side of the ball, but to have that kind of performance [we had today] for the three-and-a_half quarters, I think, was very uplifting.”

A win over the Cowboys could set the table for a wild race to the Big 12 championship game.

“We never saw ourselves as out of it,” Graham said. “We definitely were disappointed about those two losses. But at the same time we always know that we have a chance to win the conference if we keep taking it week by week. Now it's on to the next, and it's time to focus on Oklahoma State.”

Exit mobile version