Texas Football: Winners & Losers from the Week 8 Game vs. Baylor
The Longhorns had to suffer Baylor's spread offense, and their vulnerability on defense showed despite the 56-50 win in Austin on Saturday.
Aided by a couple of critical turnovers, Texas was able to hold off the Bears just enough to secure the victory.
Joe Bergeron and Josh Turner were the standout performers from Saturday, but a host of other playmakers also make the list of winners.
On the losing side, a number of defensive contributors put in forgettable outings.
Here are the winners and losers from the win against the Bears.
Winner: Joe Bergeron
Two weeks after rushing for a career-high four touchdowns against West Virginia, Joe Bergeron busted that mark with a purpose.
In the 56-50 Texas win over Baylor, the sophomore running back one-upped his best by finding the endzone five times while posting 117 yards on 19 carries.
As the featured component of the Texas running game, which was dominant at the point of attack all night long against a lousy Baylor defense, Bergeron looked fresher and quicker than in recent weeks.
Operating without the presence of Malcolm Brown has been a challenge for the running game, but with more physically impressive performances like this, there is reason for optimism.
Winner: Josh Turner
On a night when the Texas defense was lit up for over 600 yards of offense, only a few players offered impact performances.
Sophomore defensive back Josh Turner was one of them, and his breakout game in the secondary really helped the Longhorns secure the win.
Turner recorded six tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a critical interception. And for a group that has struggled with poor tackling and inconsistencies in performance, Turner answered the call in a big way.
Winner: Daje Johnson
It seems that D.J. Monroe has moved aside in order for true freshman Daje Johnson to earn more touches.
Johnson took Texas's first play from scrimmage 84 yards for a touchdown, showcasing his elite speed in the open field on a perfectly executed scheme of blocks down the field.
Although the Pflugerville, Texas, product only finished with 114 yards, the increases in Johnson's looks on offense has opened up more potential for home run hits like his burner on the first play of the game.
Winner: Mike Davis
With Mike Davis's three critical dropped passes fresh in mind, his statistical performance is hard to ignore.
Six catches for 148 yards, a career-high, and a touchdown was everything Texas needed in the deep passing game, but Davis has to work on his consistency in catching imperfect balls.
The junior pass-catcher is really close to turning the corner, but the struggles that have plagued him in recent seasons look to be lingering. And until those inconsistencies have been withered away, Davis cannot get over the hump.
Winner: Johnathan Gray
With Malcolm Brown still suffering from an ankle knock, the brunt of his touches have been given to true freshman Johnathan Gray, and the former Aledo, Texas, standout has answered the bell accordingly.
Gray picked up 56 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, in addition to one reception that went for 15 yards. His 25-yard scoring run, complete with a crowd-pleasing juke, was his first touchdown of his career.
If Joe Bergeron can successfully pound the ball up the middle, Gray's shiftiness in and around the open field is a complement that figures to produce.
Obviously, Brown's presence will only better the situation, but the Gray and Bergeron combo is no lousy duo.
Loser: Kenny Vaccaro
The senior safety, praised as the leader and enforcer in the Texas defense, had a quiet performance against Baylor in a game that offered plenty of open-field opportunities to make plays.
While Kenny Vaccaro occasionally made the strong play, his availability over the course of the game was inconsistent.
Vaccaro is very capable of turning his game to another level, but much of that looks to come when the rest of the defense can take care of itself.
With the number of defenders missing tackles, Vaccaro's violent style is rendered much less effective.
Loser: D.J. Monroe
Forever regarded as Texas's worst-kept secret, D.J. Monroe still lacks the sufficient carries that would please the majority.
Monroe had just three touches from scrimmage, recording just nine yards. His biggest impact, however, looks to be in the return game where the senior busted off a 70-yard return to help spark a touchdown drive.
So, as Daje Johnson looks to get phased into the offense a little bit more, Monroe's touches look to be disappearing.
Loser: Jaxon Shipley
The Texas offense features several pieces that work in specific pieces of the game plans.
Mike Davis runs the deep threat, the running backs and speedsters operate in the short game and Jaxon Shipley is very much the intermediate guy that has the giddy-up to create big plays.
The sophomore receiver picked up only three touches Saturday and hauled in a single reception for 15 yards.
Shipley's production has slowly died from early on in the season, when he looked to be a much larger piece in the Texas offense.
His limited production will hurt the Longhorns down the road as Shipley's impact connects the short and deep and offers a more well-rounded offensive product.
Loser: Manny Diaz
For what seems like the umpteenth time this season, Texas is reeling defensively after facing a top-notch offense.
And however much credit one can give to the Baylor offense, something has to be said for the lack of defensive pressure and ability to stop the Bears' spread attack. All the talent appears to be there, but when that is not enough, the finger has to point towards the coaching staff.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz experience some good success last season with a veteran defense, but with youth seeping from every position, the problems are deeper than inexperience.
Loser: Quandre Diggs
There will not be many nights where Quandre Diggs struggles in the secondary, but pitted against the uber-talented Baylor receiver Terrance Williams, Diggs had a very forgettable game.
The signature play that should be highlighted in film is the 80-yard, double-move touchdown catch that had Williams wide open behind the secondary.
The good news here is that Diggs never let up, playing his tenacious brand of football for the length of the contest.
However, he will want to buckle down after turning in one of his worst performances of the season.
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