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Texas will travel to Waco to face No. 16 Baylor in Week 9.
It’s essentially a must-win game for both programs, who each enjoyed a bye last week. The Bears only loss on the season up to this point was to Oklahoma State, and they have an impressive win over Iowa State on their resume.
The Longhorns haven’t won a game since Oct. 2. Steve Sarkisian’s team suffered two devastating losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, where they blew double-digit leads and collapsed in the second half. Although their record shows 4-3 on the year, Texas has proven, at times, that they can compete with the best teams in the country. However, that means nothing until they can find consistency and be able to close out games.
This matchup will feature two of the top offenses in the conference. Which one will make the least mistakes?
For only the second time this season, the Longhorns enter the contest as the underdog. Tipico Sportsbook views Baylor as the slight favorite by 2.5 points.
Staff predicts the game
Even with the bye week to prepare for Baylor, the Longhorns do not match up well against a team who wants to run the ball as much as the Bears do. Texas is in must-win mode, but the offensive line is a liability, and puts all the pressure on Bijan Robinson and whatever the passing game for Texas has turned into.
The game comes down to the trenches, and although they have had two weeks to prepare, there is no way the defensive and offensive lines for Texas have magically become worlds better. Baylor averages 239 yards rushing per game, and Texas gives up 200 yards rushing per game, which means the Longhorns very well could give up another 300 yard rushing performance.
The only person I have faith in when it comes to Texas is Bijan Robinson, and for the Longhorns to win, he will need more than 30 touches.
Texas has yet to prove they can stop the run or hold a lead, so I hope they prove me wrong.
Baylor 38, Texas 35
Finally, I am not the only one with some cajones around here to pick against Texas. Thanks for jumping to the other side, Kevin.
This is the make-or-break game for Steve Sarkisian in his first year. Win in Waco and a 9-3 season is still a real possibility, with a long chance at a Big 12 championship. Head back south with a fourth loss and 7-5/6-6 is looking more likely than not.
Baylor is going to run the ball down Texas’ throat. Running back Abram Smith is averaging 7.5 yards per carry and is tied for second with Bijan Robinson in the Big 12 with 10 rushing touchdowns. Backup Trestan Ebner is no slouch either.
Like Kevin, Robinson is the only Texas offensive player I trust at this point. Casey Thompson’s play has significantly fallen off since Texas Tech, the offensive line cannot pass protect, and wide receivers go missing for games at a time. Robinson led the Longhorns to a win against TCU but I am not sure he can do it again.
Please ignore where I picked Texas to win in a post last week. Either way, I will be right.
Baylor 32, Texas 27
I’ll be the positive one here.
Although there’s been disappointment after disappointment recently, the potential of this team is evident. Their backs are against the wall right now, and this is a must-win if they hope to have a chance to sneak into the Big 12 championship game.
Texas has clearly struggled with their run defense for the majority of the season. Unfortunately, Baylor has one of the top rushing attacks in the country. Pete Kwiatowski’s defensive unit will have to live by the ‘bend, don’t break’ mentality in this one. No one is confident in Texas’ defense, which is why Texas running back Bijan Robinson needs to control this game on the ground and keep Baylor’s offense off the field.
The Bears also lead the conference in turnover margin, and their defense sits atop the Big 12 with eight interceptions as well. Casey Thompson will need to have a much better performance this week and protect the football.
It’s time for the Longhorns to prove that they can play a full four quarters.
Texas 34, Baylor 28