The fate of Texas’ season is hanging in the balance, as any hope of reaching the Big 12 championship either will continue or end after Saturday’s game against Baylor.
After dropping two consecutive games to the Oklahoma schools, the Longhorns are fifth in the conference standings, and badly need to pull off a win against Baylor in order to help themselves stay in contention. Texas does not really have a clear path to the Big 12 Championship, as they need to win out, and also rely on a couple other teams to lose in order to shake the conference up.
Iowa State helped them out last week by beating Oklahoma State, but if Texas does not beat Baylor this week, that win does nothing for them.
The Longhorns do not match up well with Baylor, as the Bears are home to the No. 9 rushing offense in the nation averaging 240 yards rushing per game, while Texas has been giving up a horrendous 200 rushing yards per game. The Longhorns gave up at least 200 yards rushing in all of their losses this season. In their four wins, Texas has not allowed an offense to rush for 200 yards.
If Texas cannot take advantage of the two weeks to prepare for Baylor’s outside zone running game, they will quickly find themselves with three straight losses and out of contention for the Big 12 title.
It will take a huge performance from the defense, and also Texas’ offense who looked abysmal in the loss to Oklahoma State. If Texas needed anything from Casey Thompson these past couple weeks, it was for him to get back to full strength, because what we saw against Oklahoma State looked like a completely different player that lacked confidence and accuracy.
Taking everything into consideration, it is time for my weekly bold predictions for Texas’ matchup against Baylor.
Casey Thompson throws for at least 250 yards
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Thompson has been hit or miss in regards to the numbers he has put up during his starts, as he has two games with 300 yards passing, but the rest of the games he has thrown for less than 180. Texas needs a huge bounce-back game from him in order to win this matchup, and more importantly, they need him to have a strong second half.
The second half has been where the offensive production not just sputters, but dies. Thompson needs to be more decisive, and if need be, he must rely a tad more on his legs rather than making that terrible offensive line block for long periods of time. I expect Sarkisian and the staff took a hard look at what plays work for Thompson’s skill set and what does not, so this prediction is based solely off assuming adjustments were made.
Bijan Robinson will get at least 25 touches
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Whether it is in the run game or the passing game, Bijan Robinson needs to get as many touches as humanly possible in order for Texas to have a chance to win this game. This is obviously not on him as he does not call the plays, but rather trusting Steve Sarkisian giving his best playmaker the ball. In each of the two losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, he saw a decline in touches in the second half. That cannot happen again, especially with the inconsistent play from Casey Thompson and the receivers. If he is rolling, don’t take the ball out of his hands. It really is that simple.
Cameron Dicker will make three clutch field goals
Tim Warner/Getty Images
After calling for his job after the first couple weeks, Cameron Dicker has proved me wrong and been automatic hitting his last seven attempts. This matchup has the makings of a close game, and based off the offense’s recent struggles of finishing drives off in the red zone, Dicker will need to be on his A game in order for the team to capitalize on their drives.
The defense will hold Baylor under 200 yards
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
This will likely be the deciding factor in the game, as like I previously stated, Texas is 0-3 when teams rush for 200 yards and 4-0 when they do not. The defense needs to step up in a major way to slow down this rushing attack.
Just like the offense in the Oklahoma State game, the defense fizzled out in the second half. Going into halftime, the Longhorns had held Jaylen Warren to just 55 yards, but let him run wild in the second half as he finished the game with 193. Alfred Collins and Ovie Oghoufo will likely be the guys who have the chance of making the biggest impact on the game, along with linebacker DeMarvion Overshown who is returning from a concussion. It is quite simple, if they don’t hold Baylor below that 200 mark, they will lose.