WACO — Matt Rhule knew the blueprint his Baylor team needed follow in order to beat Texas. Instead of another moral victory, he just came away more disappointed.
The Longhorns scored the final 24 points of the game and the Bears had just two drives of more than 25 yards in their 38-7 loss on Saturday afternoon.
“We went into that football game feeling like it was a game we could win, feeling like we had a good plan defensively, and just weren't able to get anything going enough on offense,” he said. “When they blitzed, they brought it. They came, and obviously, you could see at the end it almost got a little out of hand there in terms of our inability to pick up some of those blitzes.”
Baylor dropped to 0-8 for the first time since 1969 when the Bears finished 0-10. They are one of three remaining winless teams in the country.
The Texas offense wasn’t great. It didn’t have to be. The Longhorns’ defense shut down the Baylor offense for much of the game holding the Bears to 249 total yards and 31 rushing yards and just four conversions on 18 3rd down attempts.
“(The defense) is carrying us right now,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “I think it's a bit of a badge of honor for them right now knowing that we're going to need them to play great for the rest of the year in order for us to have a chance to win.”
Baylor seemingly didn’t have a plan at quarterback to start the game. Sophomore Zach Smith started the game but was pulled for freshman Charlie Brewer after the first series. The two traded series throughout the game.
Smith finished 4-for-11 for 37 yards and an interception, while Brewer went 17-of-27 for 181 yards. The only Baylor touchdown came on a 2-yard rush by freshman John Lovett, his third of the season.
Texas didn’t have any such controversy despite two semi-proven starters. Sam Ehlinger stayed back in Austin due to an injury and sophomore Shane Buechele slotted back into the starting lineup after missing time due to shoulder and ankle injuries.
“It's been tough, I’m not going to lie,” Buechele said. “You just have to stay focused. I think that's just the main thing, the players and the coaches around me helped a lot just keeping me focused. It was good to be back out on the field and being able to go compete with my guys.”
DeShon Elliot, the conference leader in interceptions, got to work right away, returning Smith’s second pass of the game for a touchdown.
The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter, but Buechele faked out pretty much everybody in the stadium, including the Baylor defense, scampering for a 28-yard touchdown with four minutes left in the half.
The score would start a run of 24 unanswered points for Texas, which held the Bears scoreless in the second half.
A Longhorns touchdown pass was negated by a holding penalty in the third quarter, and Grayland Arnold intercepted Buechele on the very next play. It was just the second interception of the season for the Bears.
“It can be discouraging at times and disturbing, as well,” he said. “Like we know the playmakers that we have. We see it every day at practice like we've just got to translate that over to the field and make the plays happen. I feel like now the rest of the corners are going to be like, ‘okay, I've got to get me one.’”
Baylor is away from McLane Stadium for the next two games, traveling to face off with winless Kansas next Saturday at 11 a.m. before taking on Texas Tech in a neutral site game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Nov. 11.
Texas heads to Fort Worth for a prime-time matchup against undefeated No. 4 TCU next Saturday night.
“I think if we can play as well as we have in the passing game the last couple weeks and still be able to defeat blocks and get off blocks and stop the run, I don't know how much better, but I think the sky is the limit,” Herman said. “These kids are more and more confident. Even the key backups are performing for us right now. I'm excited to watch them progress.”