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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 8:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Texas Memorial Stadium (100,119) -- Austin, Texas. Television: ABC. Home Record: Baylor 2-1, UT 2-1. Away Record: Baylor 1-1, UT 2-0. Neutral Record: Baylor 0-0, UT 0-1. Conference Record: Baylor 0-2, UT 1-2. Series Record: UT leads, 73-24-4.
GAME NOTES: A couple of struggling Big 12 teams are set to square off in Austin, as the Texas Longhorns play host to the Baylor Bears.
Texas climbed as high as No. 11 in the top-25 after a 4-0 start. However, the Longhorns have since fallen out of the national rankings following back-to- back losses to 17th-ranked West Virginia (48-45) and 10th-ranked Oklahoma (63-21). In fact, they trailed the rival Sooners last week, 27-2 before recording a first down.
Meanwhile, Baylor has also suffered consecutive shootout-type losses after a 3-0 start. The Bears lost a wild 70-63 thriller at WVU on Sept. 29, and this past weekend were dealt a 49-21 loss by TCU. The Bears are in the midst of a stretch that will see them play on the road four times in a span of five games.
Texas has won 12 of the last 14 meetings with Baylor to take a commanding 73-24-4 series lead.
When Baylor takes the field, rest assured points will be scored. The Bears currently lead the nation in passing offense (398.4 ypg), while ranking second in total offense (567.6 ypg) and fourth in scoring (47.6 ppg). Quarterback Nick Florence leads the nation in total offense (404.4 ypg) and is second in the Big 12 with 374.8 passing ypg, while Terrance Williams leads the nation with 166.0 receiving yards per game. The team's 19 TD passes through five games have averaged a ridiculous 35.6 yards. However, the offense struggled against TCU, committing six turnovers. Florence, who threw for a school-record 581 yards in his previous outing, was intercepted four times.
Unfortunately for the Bears, their high-powered offense is often canceled out by their porous defense. The team enters this tilt ranked dead-last in the nation in total defense (558.8 ypg) while allowing a staggering 41.6 points per contest. Last week, the Bears were trailing 28-21 through three quarters, but TCU put three unanswered touchdowns on the board in the final frame to put the game away. While the defense has struggled mightily to get stops, the unit has shown a penchant for generating takeaways. In fact, under defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, the team is 11-0 when recording two or more takeaways and has averaged 2.8 takeaways over the last 10 games dating back to 2011. Six different defenders have intercepted passes this season.
On the other side of the field, Texas currently owns the nation's 10th-ranked scoring offense (42.5 ppg) and 13th-most efficient passing game (161.74 rating) behind sophomore quarterback David Ash. The Longhorns have committed only six turnovers, tied for the second-fewest in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Additionally, they are sixth in the FBS in offensive third-down efficiency, converting 54.0 percent (47-of-87) of their attempts. However, UT fell behind early last week at Oklahoma and was never able to recover. Ash connected on 13-of-29 passes for 113 yards and two interceptions in the loss. Case McCoy also got some action, completing 5-of-8 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
The Longhorns were trailing 36-2 in the third quarter when they finally got into the end zone thanks to their defense, as Carrington Byndom intercepted a pass and went 28 yards the other way for a score. By then however, the damage had already been done. OU went on to dismantle the Longhorn defense for 30 first downs and 677 yards of total offense. Entering this week, Texas ranks 94th in the nation in scoring defense (32.5 ppg) and 99th in total defense (449.7 ypg). Still, the unit ranks sixth in tackles for loss (8.2 per game) and has picked off eight passes this season, returning two for TDs. Also, the Horns haven't been handed any favors in the scheduling department, as three of their last four opponents had an offense ranked among the top-10 nationally in either scoring or total offense. That won't change this week.
This matchup features a couple of ultra-talented teams that have fallen off track, mostly due to defensive lapses. For example, during its four-game winning streak to open the season, Baylor forced 10 takeaways and lost just four turnovers. But in their last two games, the Bears have forced zero takeaways while committing seven turnovers. That kind of turnover differential is tough to overcome, particularly on the road against a team like Texas.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 45, Baylor 42
10/17 10:55:39 ET
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