Texas Plays at Baylor Saturday in Regular-Season Finale: Coming off a convincing Thanksgiving Day home win over Texas Tech, No. 23/24 Texas will close out the regular season Saturday (2:30 p.m. Central/FOX) at No. 9/7 Baylor (10-1, 7-1), which will be playing for the final time in Floyd Casey Stadium. The Horns (8-3, 7-1) are in a three-way tie for first in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma State and Baylor. However, the Cowboys are in control of their destiny. A win by OSU Saturday at home vs. Oklahoma clinches the league title. If the Cowboys lose to the Sooners, then the winner of the Texas-Baylor contest claims the Big 12 crown and an automatic BCS berth. Regardless of the OSU-OU outcome, UT wins a share of the league title with a win over Baylor.
Baylor Series Trends: Texas leads the all-time series with Baylor 74-24-2 and has won 17 of the last 20 meetings, including 13 of the past 15. The Horns have produced at least 400 yards of total offense 19 times in the last 20 meetings, including 525 in last season's victory. The only year in that stretch UT did not manage 400 total yards was 1995. The Horns have averaged 487.5 yards per game and allowed only 279.0 yards per contest against the Bears under Mack Brown (7,313 - 4,185). Texas has limited Baylor to just 1,274 rushing yards (on 459 attempts) (84.9 ypg) during the Mack Brownera, including just six rushing yards in 2009. Texas has held Baylor to 14 points or fewer in nine of the 15 matchups during the Mack Brown era, including four shutouts. However, last season's contest (56-50 UT win) produced the most combined points (106) in a Texas game. This year's game will mark the first with both teams ranked since 1990.
Long-Time Opponents: Saturday's game will mark the 103rd meeting between Texas and Baylor in a series that dates back to 1901. The 102 previous meetings rank as the third-longest series (by number of games) in school history. Texas A&M (118 games) and Oklahoma (108 games) are the only other opponents the Longhorns have played more than the Bears.
• Texas moved back into the national rankings this week (No. 23 - AP poll, No. 24 - USA Today Coaches, No. 25 BCS).
• UT is averaging 441.8 yards of total offense which ranks No. 4 in the Big 12. The Horns are averaging 200.7 yards on the ground (No. 3 Big 12) and 241.1 in the air (No. 5 in the Big 12). Baylor is second in the Big 12 in total defense (355.5 ypg) and fourth in rushing defense (133.8 ypg). The Bears are averaging 2.8 sacks per game which is tied 21st in the nation, while UT is 20th in the FBS in sacks allowed (1.2 pg).
• Senior QB Case McCoy, who has replaced an injured David Ash, made his 14th career start in the Texas Tech game. He is 6-2 as a starter this season. Ash has missed the last seven games and was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Nov. 25. He played in three games this year completing 53 of 87 passes (61 percent) for 760 yards. Ash ranks eighth on the UT career passing yards list (4,538).
• Already without Ash and RT Josh Cochran (missed the seven games due to a shoulder injury), the UT offense was dealt another blow whenJohnathan Gray, the team's leading rusher (780), suffered a season-ending Achilles injury vs. West Virginia. Malcolm Brown, who had averaged 20 carries in the previous three games before WVU, is taking on even more of the load at tailback. He has averaged 26.7 carries the last three games and 96.7 on the ground in the last six. He has nine rushing TDs this season (eight in the last five games) which ranks tied for fifth in the Big 12.
• Jaxon Shipley leads the team with 52 catches and ranks sixth in the league at 4.7 per game. Thirty-three of his receptions have gone for first downs, including three on fourth down. Mike Davis has 46 catches and ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 70.1 receiving ypg. Davis has eight TD receptions (tied for third in the Big 12).
• Eight players have scored a receiving touchdown and eight via the ground.
• Seven players have at least one reception of 45 yards or more this season.
• After surrendering an average of 7.0 yards per carry to BYU and Ole Miss, the UT defense has held its last eight opponents (K-State - 3.0; Iowa State - 4.0; Oklahoma - 3.9; TCU – 1.9; Kansas – 3.8; West Virginia – 2.3; OSU - 4.6; TTU - 3.4) to a combined 3.4 ypc (296 rushes, 1017 yards).
• In Big 12 games, UT is ranked third in total defense (355.4 ypg), but just more than two yards from first (353.1 - Oklahoma). The Horns are first in rushing defense (127.1 ypg) and fourth in passing defense (228.2 ypg). Baylor enters Saturday's game averaging 635.1 total yards (No. 1 in the FBS) overall, including 591.5 ypg in league games (No. 1 in the Big 12). The Bears have scored more than 40 points in all but two games this season.
• Senior Jackson Jeffcoat and junior Cedric Reed are two of the most productive defensive ends in the nation. Jeffcoat ranks second in the Big 12 and tied for 10th in the FBS in sacks (0.91 pg/10.0) and Reed is third in the league and 19th nationally (0.82 pg/9.0). They are one of only two duos in the nation to have 9.0 sacks apiece (Marcus Smith and Lorenzo Mauldin of Louisville). Reed is tied for eighth in the FBS in fumbles forced (0.36 pg/four) and Jeffcoat is tied for 18th nationally in fumbles recovered (0.27 pg/three). Reed has tallied 71 tackles (second on the team) and Jeffcoat has 67 (tied for third). They have also combined for 36 tackles for loss and 33 QB pressures. Jeffcoat and Reed are among 18 players on the midseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award. Jeffcoat is a Bednarik Award semifinalist.
• Having already suffered two big losses to their defensive unit this season, the Longhorns will now be without their leading tackler for the last two games of the season. They have been without junior linebacker Jordan Hicks, who ruptured his Achilles, since the Kansas State game (missed last seven contests). He was leading the team with 41 tackles at the time. In the West Virginia game, senior DT Chris Whaley suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first series of the game. He had started the first nine contests. Steve Edmond and Dalton Santos have picked up the slack at linebacker for Hicks. Edmond has 73 tackles (first on the team) and is tied for second on the team lead in pass breakups with five. He also recorded his second career interception vs. TCU. With Hicks' injury, Santos has seen his snaps increase and he has responded with 52 tackles over the last seven games (7.4 pg). Edmond suffered a lacerated liver in the Texas Tech game and will be sidelined for the Baylor contest and bowl game.
• DT Malcom Brown has been a key cog along the line. He had perhaps his best game as a Longhorn against Iowa State. The sophomore had a career-high 10 tackles, including one sack and one TFL, as well as one PBU. He shared the team's defensive player of the game award with Jeffcoat whose interception on the Cyclones' final drive helped seal the win. Brown had seven tackles and two tackles for loss vs. Oklahoma State. DT Desmond Jackson saw his role increase vs. West Virginia with the injury to Whaley and responded with career highs in tackles (8), tackles for loss (3) and sacks (2.0).
• Texas ranks 19th nationally in turnover margin at +0.73 per game after going plus-1 in the Texas Tech game. The Horns have hovered around the top 10 most of the season. The Longhorns have lost the turnover battle just twice this season (minus-1 vs. Kansas; minus-2 vs. Oklahoma State). Baylor enters the game ranked No. 15 nationally in turnover margin (+0.80 per game).
• Senior Anthony Fera has been solid both place-kicking and punting. He has gone 19-for-20 (.950) on field-goal attempts, including a career-best 4 of 4 vs. West Virginia and connecting all three times vs. both Oklahoma and TCU. Fera, who is a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, ranks tied for third in the FBS in accuracy (minimum 10 attempts). He has posted a career-long field goal twice this season. He had a 47-yarder vs. Ole Miss and nailed a 50-yarder vs. OU. Fera ranks 58th nationally in punting average (40.9). Twenty-six of his 59 punts (44.1 percent - 11th in the FBS) have gone inside the 20, and 30 have been fair caught (50.8 percent).
Holding the Tech Offense in Check: Texas Tech entered last week's game ranked No. 9 nationally in total offense (523.9 yards per game) and No. 22 in scoring offense (37.5 ppg). The Red Raiders managed just one offensive touchdown and scored a season-low 16 points. In addition, the 396 total yards of offense was the second-lowest output of the year (336 vs. TCU). The Longhorns will be facing another top-10 offense this season, as Baylor is ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring (55.4 points per game) and first in total offense (635.1 ypg).
Two 100-Yard Rushers: Texas has had two players rush for 100 yards in a game twice this season. Against Oklahoma, Johnathan Gray had 123 andMalcolm Brown had 120, and against Texas Tech Brown posted 128 and Joe Bergeron had 102. It's just the fourth time in school history that Texas has achieved the feat multiple times in one season, and just the second time it's been achieved with three or more different players. The Longhorns had two 100-yard rushers in three games in 2004 (Cedric Benson and Vince Young on each occasion), two games in 1996 (Ricky Williams and Shon Mitchell both times), and four games in 1970 (Eddie Phillips and Billy Dale once, Steve Worster and Jim Bertelsen three times). Overall, Texas has had two 100-yard rushers in a game 32 times in school history.
Defensive Improvement: Under coordinator Greg Robinson, who was hired after the BYU game, the defense has shown marked improvement. Robinson is in his second stint with Texas, having served as defensive coordinator in 2004 when Texas ranked No. 18 nationally in points allowed (17.9 per game), No. 16 in rushing defense (107.4 ypg), and No. 23 in total defense (320.1 ypg). Over the last eight games, UT is allowing just 3.4 yards per rush after surrendering 6.0 in the first three. The defense has cut the opposing offense's rushing output by 181.6 yards per game. In addition, Texas' 33 sacks in its last eight games is ranked first nationally in that span. The Horns had two sacks in the first three games.
|First 3 Games||Last 8 Games|
|Rushing Yards||308.7 pg||127.1 pg|
|Yards per Rush||6.0||3.4|
|Total Yards||491.3 pg||355.4 pg|
|Yards per Play||5.8||5.2|
|Opp. Comp. %||58.0||54.2|
|Red-Zone TDs||67% (8/12)||52% (15/29)|
|Sacks||0.67 pg||4.13 pg|
|Turnovers Forced||6||2.5 pg|
|Fumbles Forced||1||1.88 pg|
|Tackles for Loss||4.3 pg||8.38 pg|
Sack Differential: Texas has been one of the best teams in the nation in sacks by and against this year. UT has 35 sacks on the year while they have surrendered just 13. The plus-22 differential ranks tied for sixth in the FBS and third among BCS teams. In eight Big 12 games, UT has 33.0 sacks and surrendered just 8.0. The plus-25 sack differential is the best in the Big 12. Baylor is second at plus-13. In the last three games, UT has a plus-12 sack differential (15 to 3).
Streaks, Trends and Milestones:
• UT has won six of its last seven Big 12 road games, including two of three against ranked teams.
• Texas improved to 7-1 in Big 12 play with the 41-16 win over Texas Tech, marking the Horns' best league record this late in the season since going 8-0 in 2009. It is the eighth time under Mack Brown that UT has had a 7-1 or better league record.
• Texas has scored 30 or more points in seven of the last eight games (exception: 13 vs. Oklahoma State). The streak of six straight games with 30 or more points prior to the OSU game had been Texas' longest since 2009 (also six games - Oct. 24 through Nov. 26).
• The Longhorns' six-game winning streak was snapped in the Oklahoma State loss which was the longest since capturing 17 in a row from 2008-09. It was also tied for the fifth-longest current winning streak among BCS teams.
• Texas has outrushed five of its last six opponents (exception - Oklahoma State, 151 to 183) and won the battle for time of possession in five of the last six games (exception - Kansas, -1:08). During that span, the Horns have possessed the ball on average 5:10 more than the opponent.
• The Horns became bowl eligible for the 15th time in Mack Brown's 16 seasons with the win over Kansas.
• PK/P Anthony Fera has connected on his last 15 field-goal attempts, a streak which ranks No. 4 in the nation and tied for first in school history. Phil Dawson also hit a UT record 15 straight field goals in 1996-97. Jeff Ward had 13 in a row during the 1985 season. Fera's current field goal percentage of .950 (19 of 20) also ranks first in school history.
• The offensive line has recently done a tremendous job of keeping QB Case McCoy upright. The Horns entered the Kansas game having not allowed a sack in 61 pass attempts (last nine quarters). The streak was snapped at 84 when McCoy was sacked on what would have been his 24th pass attempt of the game. Texas is tied for first in the Big 12 by allowing just one sack per game in league play (also Oklahoma State). The Horns allowed one vs. the Red Raiders and have surrendered four in the last 205 pass attempts.
• Case McCoy ranks 10th on the UT career passing yards chart (3,587). McCoy moved from 11th to 10th with 221 passing yards vs. Oklahoma State, eclipsing Garrett Gilbert (3,301/2009-11). McCoy needs 187 to reach Shea Morenz (3,774/1993-94) in ninth.
• Mike Davis moved up in a pair of career statistical categories in the last two games. The senior posted nine receptions for 112 yards vs. Oklahoma State to move from fifth to fourth on UT career receiving yards list, passing Quan Cosby (2,598/2005-08). After another 112 yards vs. Texas Tech, Davis now has 195 career receptions for 2,727 career yards. He also registered his 10th career 100-yard receiving game against Texas Tech which ranks tied for second in school history with Jordan Shipley (2006-09).
• Jaxon Shipley had six catches for 43 yards vs. Oklahoma State. He moved from eighth to seventh on the UT career receptions list, passing B.J. Johnson (152/2000-03). With 1,914 career receiving yards, Shipley ended the game one yard shy of eighth place on the Texas career receiving yards chart – Limas Sweed (1,915/2004-07).
• Shipley caught a pass in each of his first 33 career games, a streak that was snapped vs. Texas Tech. In the West Virginia game, he surpassed his brother, Jordan (31/2007-08), for third longest in school history. Shipley has posted at least five receptions in 13 of the last 16 games (three vs. Iowa State, 2013; one vs. TCU, 2013).
• DE Jackson Jeffcoat posted three tackles for loss vs. Texas Tech. He moved into a tie for third on the UT career list with Cory Redding (1999-2002). Jeffcoat is averaging 0.64 sacks in his 38 career games which ranks No. 5 on the FBS active list. His 24.5 career sacks rank fifth on the FBS active list (see charts on page 19).
• OG Mason Walters leads the team with 49 straight starts, which is tied for the second-longest streak in the nation among offensive linemen (50, Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi St.). CB Carrington Byndom leads the defense with 37 consecutive starts. C Dominic Espinosa is second on the offense with 37 straight starts. DE Cedric Reed is second on defense (17).
Big Play Touchdowns: Texas has scored 12 touchdowns this season on plays of 45 yards or longer and those have been spread among eight players (also David Ash – 55-yard run vs. New Mexico State; Malcolm Brown – 74-yard TD reception vs. NMSU; Mike Davis – 57-yard TD catch vs. BYU, 49-yard TD reception vs. West Virginia, 47-yard TD catch vs. Texas Tech; Johnathan Gray - 45-yard TD run vs. Iowa State; John Harris – 54-yard TD reception vs. NMSU, Daje Johnson – 66-yard TD catch vs. NMSU, 85-yard punt return for TD vs. Oklahoma; Marcus Johnson – 59-yard TD catch vs. Oklahoma, 65-yard TD reception vs. TCU; Kendall Sanders 63-yard TD catch vs. K-State).
Injury Bug: The injury bug has hit some of the Longhorns' most important players this season. In the regular season finale at Baylor, Texas will play without at least five starters who have suffered season-ending injuries: QB David Ash (head), LB Steve Edmond (lacerated liver), LB Jordan Hicks(Achilles), RB Johnathan Gray (Achilles) and DT Chris Whaley (knee). In addition to those five that have been ruled out, RT Josh Cochran has missed seven of the last eight games with a shoulder injury (played sparingly vs. Texas Tech as a reserve blocking tight end).
• Ash averaged 304.0 yards of total offense in the three games he played, throwing for seven TDs and running for another.
• Edmond has a team-high 73 tackles, five pass breakups and two interceptions. He had started 10 of the first 11 games.
• Hicks was the leading tackler at the time of his injury, with 41 tackles in four games.
• Gray, despite playing in just nine games, still leads the team in rushing with 780 yards. His 86.7 yards per game ranked third in the Big 12 at the time of his injury.
• Whaley started the first nine games and became the first defensive lineman in school history to score two TDs in a season.
The Longhorns played without four offensive starters vs. Kansas State and three starters (two offense and one defense) vs. Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas and West Virginia, and five vs. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. In addition, WR/RB Daje Johnson (ankle) missed nearly all of the BYU game and each of the next two contests, but returned vs. ISU. TE Greg Daniels (foot) was injured against Ole Miss and missed the K-State contest. Two reserves are also out for the season. CB Sheroid Evans tore an ACL in the Iowa State game and LB Tevin Jackson did the same vs. Kansas. Gray (Achilles) and Whaley (knee) suffered season-ending injuries vs. West Virginia.