Texas would be a Big 12 contender if it could hold on to a lead in the second half.
The Longhorns blew a big second-half lead for the third game in a row on Saturday in a 31-24 loss to No. 16 Baylor in Waco. The loss means Texas’ Big 12 title hopes are effectively over and Baylor is still in the thick of the mix for a spot in the conference title game.
Texas (4-4) took a 21-10 lead with 8:49 to go in the third quarter after a 14-play drive to start the second half. But Baylor responded with a touchdown just four minutes later and took the lead with 12:48 to go in the game after a 14-play drive.
Baylor (7-1) made it 21 consecutive points after Texas went for a fake punt facing 4th and 11 at midfield. The fake gained just two yards and Baylor went 53 yards in three plays for a 31-21 lead on a drive capped by Abram Smith’s 32-yard TD run.
Texas got the ball back with less than three minutes to go but was unable to get close to having a legitimate chance at a game-tying touchdown. Heck, the Longhorns didn’t even get a first down.
Three weeks ago, Texas was leading Oklahoma 41-23 with 2:45 to go in the third quarter before the Sooners scored 25 consecutive points on the way to a 55-48 win. Two weeks ago, Texas had a 24-13 lead over Oklahoma State early in the third quarter before the Cowboys scored 19 unanswered points on the way to a 32-24 win.
Guess what? Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are also in the thick of the Big 12 race with Baylor and Iowa State. Texas has shown numerous times this season that it’s capable of being one of the best teams in the conference. It just can’t actually play like one for an entire football game. Or when it does, those showings come against teams like Texas Tech.
The Longhorns are now 2-3 in the Big 12 with a trip to Iowa State looming next week. UT will be an underdog at ISU. If Texas loses in Ames, it needs to win out against Kansas, West Virginia and Kansas State to finish above .500 in both the Big 12 and overall.
Baylor is a legit contender
Baylor should not be ignored in the race for the Big 12 title. The Bears’ only loss of the season came to Oklahoma State in early October and Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Nov. 13. A 3-1 finish to the season could be enough for Baylor to make it to the Big 12 title game.
Gerry Bohanan threw two first-half interceptions but was solid in the second half and ran for a TD. Baylor rushed 39 times for 202 yards on Texas’ defense as Smith finished with 113 yards on 20 carries.