Longhorns and Bears battle in Waco
Waco, TX – The Texas Longhorns are not used to being the underdog when facing the Baylor Bears, but that will be the case this weekend when the two square off at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Texas is 7-4 after taking down another instate rival Texas A&M, 27-25 in its last outing. It was a sigh of relief for the Longhorns offensively as they scored 27 points, which is nine more than they scored in the two previous games combined. Texas's losses have come to Oklahoma, Oklahoma Sate, Missouri, and Kansas State. A win over Baylor would give the Longhorns a winning record in the Big 12 and advance Texas over its counterpart in the standings.
Baylor is on a four-game winning streak after wins over Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. The 19th-ranked Bears have garnered national recognition after years of dwelling in the cellar of the Big 12 as they look for their first nine-win season since 1986. Baylor has never won five games in the Big 12 before. A win over Texas would be its sixth, which would be the first six-conference win season for the program since 1986 when it was in the Southwest Conference.
The storied rivalry between Texas and Baylor dates back to 1901. The Longhorns hold a 73-23-4 advantage in the all-time series. Baylor won 2010's matchup 30-22.
Texas has been shuffling quarterbacks as of late. Case McCoy will be starting against Baylor after he completed 16-of-27 attempts for 110 yards against Texas A&M. Case will not be the first McCoy to start for Texas, as his brother Colt was a big-time player for the Longhorns before heading to the NFL.
Freshman tailback Malcolm Brown is the primary weapon in the Longhorn's offense. Brown reeled off back-to-back 100-yard games before suffering an injury which caused him to miss two games. Since his return, Brown has been limited to just 72 yards in two games. The freshman is very capable of exploding for a big game, especially against Baylor's defense that is on the field more often than most.
Jaxon Shipley recently returned from an injury to give the Longhorns some depth as well. Shipley was leading the team in receiving before suffering a knee injury. Shipley will provide McCoy with an easy target as the freshman wide out catches nearly everything thrown his way.
Texas will need to get a big performance out of its defense as it faces Baylor's high powered offense. Baylor's coach Art Briles weighed in about is respect for the Longhorns' defensive unit in his Monday press conference.
"Oh they are good. They are really good. They have got good people. They don't recruit, they choose. And they have chosen good people over the past two years. They have got good schemes, and they are playing with a lot of confidence. It's a great match up. It is a great match up for college football."
Texas's defense lives up to the hype of Briles as it is ranked ninth in the nation and top in the conference in total yards of offense allowed.
Despite the incredibly strong defense, Texas's coach Mack Brown knows stopping Baylor will not be easy. The main reason for that is its Heisman candidate quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Brown admitted his admiration for the Baylor quarterback's abilities
"I would compare him to what Colt and Vince did for us because when you got the guy under the center that we have to try to stop, he is the dominant player they have. Now they've got some really good ones around him, but he is the focal point. He's their confidence. He's their heartbeat. When he walks in that huddle they all believe that they're going to win the game, and that's something that culture has changed".
Griffin III's number back up everything said about him. The quarterback is second in the nation in total offense and passing efficiency. He has led Baylor to the sixth best scoring average in the nation and the second best total yards of total offense average.
If having a Heisman candidate at quarterback was not enough, Baylor also has a superstar at running back in Terrance Ganaway. The senior is finishing his career strong as he set a career-high in rushing yards his last time out with 246 yards and two touchdowns on 42 attempts.
Kendall Wright has also been an intricate part of the offense. Wright is one of the top receivers in the country with 1406 yards and 12 touchdowns on 95 catches.
Baylor's numbers indicate they are a poor defensive squad. Although the numbers are poor, 470 yards of total offense per game and 36.7 points allowed per game, they are also skewed. The Bears' defensive unit is on the field much more than any average team due to its high powered offense, therefore it is highly likely it will give up more yards and points.