Texas Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Baylor
The No. 25 Texas Longhorns (4-2, 1-2) and the Baylor Bears (3-2, 0-2) are set to clash on Saturday in a game that shows promise of a lively scoreboard.
Both the Horns and Bears are coming off of blowout losses and are on the rebound for some better fortunes on both sides of the football.
Texas lost 63-12 to Oklahoma, which clobbered the Longhorns for the second year in a row, taking the game last season 55-17.
With injuries all across the board, severing lines of experience, talent and chemistry, the Longhorns will be challenged by even more youth as the season progress.
Starting with Baylor, the Longhorns will see their schedule ease in the next few weeks. Here are five keys to beating the Bears.
Get at Least One More Defensive Stop
With the kind of broken defense that Baylor will bring to Austin Saturday, not unlike the broken defense that Texas will field, preventing scoring drives may prove to be the most important challenge of the night.
When Baylor and West Virginia finished with a 70-63 final score, the Mountaineers built up a big enough lead offensively to hold on for the win.
Points are not exactly a premium for the Bears' top-ranked passing offense, so the Longhorns would do well to make them so.
And as long as Texas is getting stops, it will force Baylor's defense to match it.
Find the Running Game
It is no news that the Longhorns maintain their best options on the ground, with a slew of running backs to carry the load.
But against West Virginia, Texas stuck to its game plan, but the ground game simply did not produce. A week later against Oklahoma, it was virtually non-existent as the entire offense struggled.
Granted, the absence of Malcolm Brown has applied more pressure on Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray. Brown's game is a healthy dose of the two others, and his impact has never been overstated.
If the Longhorns stand any chance of winning Saturday, finding their running game early and often will give them the best shot.
Texas coughed up the ball three times against Oklahoma, and the turnovers only worsened the circumstances for the Longhorns.
Baylor boasts the nation's top passing offense, so affording it extra possessions with silly giveaways is the opposite of a winning strategy.
A clean and disciplined game from the Longhorns is critical.
On the other side of the equation, the Longhorns need to create turnovers against Baylor's offense.
But on top of that, Texas has to score off those takeaways.
We saw the result of missed opportunities on turnovers against West Virginia, as the poor execution and missed field goal directly impacted the final score.
If those points are up for grabs, Texas cannot leave them on the field.
Tackle, Tackle, Tackle
As the broken record keeps spinning, the Texas defense has to come out with a focus and willingness to tackle with a purpose.
It seems preposterous that so many defenders have blown their tackling assignments, leading to big gains and scoring plays for the opposing offense. And until those issues are resolved, it will plague this team for better or for worse.
Against a Baylor team that will spread it out, there will be plenty of open field tackles to be had, and the Longhorns will want to see them executed, or the scoreboard will be busy.