While last week was a must-win for the Longhorns in terms of Big 12 and national relevancy this year, this week's matchup with Baylor feels like a must-win to keep the the ship from sinking.
Mack Brown and the Longhorns need answers fast to avoid disaster on Saturday.
There's no doubt the Texas football program is taking on water after the beatdown in Big D. On Saturday night in Royal-Memorial Stadium we find out if Texas comes together and finds a way to plug the holes, or if the waters come flooding in to the point of capsizing.
There are questions all over the field for Texas because of injuries and poor play. Will the Horns find enough answers before kickoff to avoid disaster? The Hookem staff weighs in with our predictions.
I have absolutely no faith in the Texas defense. I have all kinds of faith in Baylor's offense. When Texas has the ball, I think the Horns will move it easily at times but then go into a funk for a few series in a row when Phil Bennett adjusts his defense. That short-lived funk will be just enough to allow the Bears to pull away. The only caveat is if Texas can turn over Nick Florence or the Baylor RBs cough up the ball. It's a sad state of affairs in Austin. The Horns have all kinds of problems and no solutions on the way.
Baylor 38, Texas 28
At this point, I can't pick Texas to win this football game. Alex Okafor said the players have no faith in their run defense, so why should I? As long as Baylor doesn't shoot themselves in the foot, I'm predicting a big day from Jarred Salubi and I'm guessing Nick Florence has a big day as well as long as he doesn't press and get himself in trouble with turnovers, which is one area where I think this defense can still do something. Yes, Baylor has one of the worst defenses in the country, but so does Texas. At this point, I want to see it before I believe that this team has something about them to bounce back and play with some fire to get this thing back on track. I think Texas will score some points, I just think Baylor scores more.
Baylor 41, Texas 34
There's no getting around how poorly Texas played last week. If they play that way in every game there's not a single one on the schedule I'd think the Longhorns could win. However, let's not forget this is a team that scored 41 and 45 points in the two weeks leading up to the Red River Rivalry, mostly without Malcolm Brown. The offensive line was beaten up by the Sooners on Saturday, but the Baylor line doesn't have the guys to do it again to Texas. We'll see an offensive performance more reminiscent of the first two Big 12 games from the Longhorns against the weak Bear defense. I'm not expecting drastic improvements from the Texas defense, so I think this one will be yet another shootout that comes down to a big fourth-quarter play. Against OSU the Longhorns came up with that play on 4th-and-6, against WVU they didn't after Alex Okafor's forced fumble. With the motivation to put last week behind them, I see the Longhorns coming through in that critical time of the game against Baylor.
Texas 48, Baylor 45
It's really hard to imagine Texas has enough confidence to win a shootout Saturday in Austin. The loss of Jackson Jeffcoat only makes matters worse for the Longhorn defense, as getting pressure on Nick Florence is the only shot Texas truly has to slow down the speed at receiver for Baylor. Texas will score, and should easily at times. Texas' ability to establish the run is going to be huge Saturday.
Baylor 41, Texas 30
I said last week I'd give the defense the benefit of the doubt one last time and obviously that wasn't a wise choice. This is a game where I don't expect a single showing of defense. Both Baylor and Texas are, statistically, two of the worst defenses in the nation. Both offenses, however, are top notch and can put up points. I see this being a shootout, Texas Tech style, and I see David Ash rebounding and having a good game. He'll put up some outstanding numbers like he did pre-OU, but then again, so will Nick Florence. The first one to get a stop wins this one and that may not happen judging from what we've seen this season from both of these teams. This time I'm going to give Texas' offense the benefit of the doubt. They aren't as bad as they played last week. They'll carry this team to a victory, but it will be a nail-biter.
Texas 54, Baylor 52