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Longhorns hold off Bears in high-scoring contest

The SportsXchange

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Longhorns showed Saturday that they don't have much defense. The Baylor Bears showed they have even less.

The scoring at Royal-Memorial Stadium happened early. It happened late. It happened everywhere in between, too.

When it was over, Texas got five touchdowns from running back Joe Bergeron and just enough from its defense en route to a 56-50 victory over the Bears.

The win wasn't pretty, but it was much needed for the Longhorns (5-2), who were reeling after consecutive losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma.

"I thought we grew up some tonight," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We did better. We didn't panic. We didn't get down."

The turning point came on the last play of the third quarter, when Baylor running back Glasco Martin fumbled the ball after he was hit by Texas linebacker Steve Edmond. The ball was recovered by safety Mykkele Thompson.

Texas quarterback David Ash took advantage on the next drive as he found Mike Davis on a perfectly blocked screen play for a 15-yard touchdown pass and a 56-43 lead.

The Bears still made it interesting.

They cut the lead to 56-50 with 1:57 left in the game on a quarterback sneak by Nick Florence, who finished with 352 yards passing and four touchdowns (two passing).

But instead of going for a typical onside kick, Baylor elected to squib kick about 25 yards down the field.

Bad choice.

The Longhorns recovered easily.

"It wasn't executed properly," Baylor head coach Art Briles said. "You can say their guy made a good play and our guy didn't, but it simply was not executed the way it was drawn up and the way we practiced it since Aug. 1."

Once Texas got the ball back, Bergeron, who had four touchdown runs in the first half, did what he had done all day. He picked up what he needed to, gaining three yards on third-and-1, allowing the Longhorns to run out the clock.

"Really I just see the goal line," Bergeron said of his short touchdown runs. "I see the hole that the line makes and the little creases that the line gives me. We tell them to give a little crease, and I just roll with it. I see the crease. I see the touchdown. I see the goal line. That's it."

That was enough.

For a while, it looked like the last team that had the ball would have to score to win.

The offensive explosion began on the first play from scrimmage, when Daje Johnson took a handoff on an end-around and blew past the Bears defense for an 84-yard touchdown run.

Baylor tied the game on an 8-yard run by Florence.

The teams went back and forth until the Longhorns appeared to break things open late in the first half.

Tied 28-28, Texas running back Johnathan Gray scored on a 25-yard run for a 35-28 lead. The Longhorns defense, which allowed 607 yards on the day, forced a rare three-and out.

Texas, which gained 525 yards on the day, followed with a 14-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Bergeron for a 42-28 lead.

But Baylor came back behind Florence, who completed 30-of-41 passes for 352 yards.

The Bears kicked a field goal to end the first half. Jordan Najvar recovered a fumble by Florence in the end zone for a touchdown on the first drive of the second half. After a defensive stop by Baylor, Aaron Jones kicked a field goal to bring the Bears within 42-40.

But that was as close as it would get.

"Baylor had beaten us two years in a row, and we got back on top," Brown said. "What this league has become is the one who scores the most points wins."

The Longhorns offense scored enough. Texas quarterback David Ash looked good, completing 19 of 31 passes for 274 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Mike Davis had a great game, catching six passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. And there was the ground game, which was led by Bergeron and gained 251 yards.

"I thought our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage," Brown said.

Still, there will be cries throughout the week in Austin about the struggles of the defense, which allowed 255 rushing yards and couldn't seem to get stops until the fourth quarter.

Brown doesn't think it's as bad as many are making it out to be.

"The only thing we're evaluating now is wins," Brown said. "Honestly, that's not being a smart alec. We're trying to win the game. Stats are out the window. The positive thing is we forced a couple of field goals. We forced a couple of punts, and we had two turnovers."
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