In the final conference game of the season, the #12 Baylor Bears faced off against the unranked Texas Longhorns. It was game in which very few thought the Longhorns had a chance. The Bears were the highest scoring team in the conference and the 9-2 Bears looked like they would roll over the 4-7 Longhorns with ease. Then the nightmare scenario happened as Baylor fell to the Longhorns 23-17.
What to take away from Baylor’s Performance
- At the start of the game, Baylor had one healthy quarterback, Chris Johnson. When Johnson left the game in the middle of the 1st quarter with a concussion, Baylor was left without a quarterback. What should be fairly obvious from the score is that it’s hard to win without a quarterback. With no healthy quarterbacks left, the job fell to wide receiver, Lynx Hawthorne. With a mix of Hawthorne in at QB and snaps directly to the running backs, the Bears clawed back, and fell just short of completing a comeback at the end of the game. An impressive accomplishment considering the situation.
- This is a loss that cannot be blamed on the defense. They played admirably, and under normal situations holding Texas to 23 points would have guaranteed a victory. The defense forced Texas into 3-and-outs on five drives. After Texas jumped out to a 20-0 lead, the Baylor defense held Texas to only one field goal in the second half, which allowed the Baylor offense, to claw its way back into the game. It is to the defense’s credit, given the four offensive turnovers, and the general inability of the offense to do much through the entire first half that the game did not turn into a rout.
- Ultimately, the blame for the loss goes to the offense coordinator Kendal Briles. To start with, if you have one of something that is vital to your success, you should protect it. The playing calling in the first quarter was not designed to protect Johnson. Briles called several QB run plays in the early stages of the game and it was on a designed run play that Johnson was injured and forced to leave the game with a concussion. Then, after losing his only remaining quarterback, Briles’ play calling did not reflect the situation. He called on Hawthorne to pass the ball which lead to two interceptions. Finally at the half, adjustments were made, but even then the play calling was sometimes baffling. The Bears coaching staff might want to rethink some things because this loss is on them.
The Baylor Bears will conclude the season in Orlando, Florida when they face off against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 21.