A win is a win for Baylor, but Saturday's outing at Texas wasn't pretty.
In Charlie Strong's first meeting with offensive guru Art Briles, the Longhorns made life difficult for the normally high-flying Bears offense, limiting it to just a single touchdown in three quarters of action as Baylor eked out a 28-7 win in Austin.
Quarterback Bryce Petty, who came into the day with a chance to make a big statement in the Heisman Trophy race, was mediocre at best and looked out of rhythm all afternoon. He found Antwan Goodley with a nice touch pass for a score in the third quarter, but otherwise couldn't find much consistency in the passing game.
The senior finished the game just 7-of-22 for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Petty was also sacked for the first time all season thanks to an active front seven by Texas. Malcom Brown and Cedric Reed, a pair of potential 2015 NFL Draft picks, played much better than they have the past few weeks. Linebacker Steve Edmond talked a good deal about Baylor earlier this year -- he was reprimanded by the Big 12 for calling the team trash -- but backed things up with a quality performance in which he sacked Petty and racked up a number of tackles in run support.
Texas was nearly shut out for the first time in four decades, but actually found some success in moving the ball against a normally stout Baylor defense. The Longhorns didn't score until the game was decided late in the fourth quarter but still managed to post a solid 4.6 yards per rush behind tailbacks Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown. They were hampered by going 6-of-17 on third down.
Despite coming in with a 2-2 record and as a significant underdog to a team in the top 10, the Longhorns were in the game for most of the afternoon. They nearly played the Bears to a draw but had a 98-yard drive turn into a backbreaker just before halftime when Tyrone Swoopes fumbled and Baylor recovered. The offense wasn't the same after that and Baylor eventually came away with a win.
Considering the chaos around college football on Saturday with so many teams in the top 25 either losing or getting a scare, Baylor is lucky to walk away with a conference road win. It wasn't pretty, but it still counts in the win column.