Texas 56 - Baylor 50
Barely hanging on against the Bears: Longhorns offense comes back to life
There is no satisfaction at 5-2 for the Texas Longhorns or their fans; there never has been. There is way too much pride and history to allow 5-2 to be at all satisfying. So, if you listened to the fans sitting in the stands or in the parking lot or on the radio after Saturday night's game, they sure didn't sound like they were celebrating a win. It sounded like the reaction you hear after a loss.
Still, the Texas Longhorn offense managed to get the ball last on a night when the last team to have the ball would win. And they beat a Baylor team 56-50 that stood toe-to-toe with them — on both offense and defense.
On offense this was a circus: two good football teams moving the ball up and down the field, giving whiplash to the fans.
On defense this was an embarrassing laugher of a game. Texas and Baylor ran up almost 1200 yards of offense and 106 points. The Texas defense gave up over 250 yards rushing — again, while holding Baylor's Nick Florence to under 300 yards passing, which is a victory of sorts.
The Texas defense is so bad that the words "worst ever" are starting to get thrown around a lot: "worst ever" secondary, "worst ever" rushing defense, "worst ever" defense.
On Saturday, the "worst ever" was just good enough, because the Texas offense found their stride. Longhorn Daje Johnson took a hand-off on the first play of the game and ran 84 yards to put Texas our front. It was the kind of fast start the Horns needed badly in order to overcome the "disaster in Dallas."
No one will mistake these Longhorns for a good team, but going 2-2 during the most difficult stretch of the season — beating Oklahoma State and Baylor, nearly beating West Virginia — is not bad for this underachieving football team.
Texas can still end up 9-3 (I'm not counting on a win against a top ranked K-State to end the season), or 6-6. Who knows? With the exception of a very bad Kansas team coming to Austin next week (11:00 a.m. kickoff), all of the other four games on Texas' schedule will be tough. Texas Tech destroyed West Virginia, Iowa State beat TCU and Iowa and nearly beat K-State, TCU hammered Baylor and took Tech to three overtimes, and Kansas State looks like a top 5 team.
Texas is winning on the thinnest of margins. A blown play here, a turnover there and the Longhorns find themselves staring up at the wrong side of the scoreboard.
It's time for defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to begin living up to his hype. He has shown no ability to make mid-season adjustments to this embarrassing "worst ever" defense, and it's time for Mack Brown to begin holding his defensive coaching staff accountable for the disaster. Maybe that means calling them out, maybe it just means he stops apologizing for them, but it is time to force the issue as opposed to what he seems to be doing.
"The only thing we're evaluating now is wins," said Brown about the defense after the game. "Really and honestly. And it's not me being a smart-aleck. We're trying to win games. Stats are out the window. The positive was we forced a couple of field goals, forced a couple of punts. Had two turnovers. That's the positive."
The negative was more than obvious to anyone watching the game.
The Longhorn offense is good enough to win the rest of the games whether that happens lies directly on the shoulders of Manny Diaz and Mack Brown.