Video by Morgan Kilgo | Broadcast Reporter and story by Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
Baylor battled back from a 23-21 halftime deficit to take control of the game in the second half behind the strong rushing attack of sophomore running back Terence Williams and senior quarterback Seth Russell. However, it was the Texas Longhorns who persevered and pulled out a 35-34 win over Baylor after a game winning 39-yard field goal from senior kicker Trent Domingue.
Baylor’s defense had outscored its opponents 45-0 in the fourth quarter coming into the game, but Texas broke through, outscoring the Bears 9-3 in the final quarter.
“We had a great opportunity to win but again I don’t know how much it is the game got away from us but Texas just played good late,” said acting head coach Jim Grobe. “Texas is a good football team, especially at home. It’s a game that we could have won and we didn’t get it done. You have to give Texas credit for that.”
Both Baylor and Texas came out electric on offense, scoring on its opening drives in very quick fashion. For the Bears, it was a 50-yard touchdown run by Russell. Texas responded with a 40-yard scoring strike from freshman quarterback Shane Buechele to junior wide receiver Armanti Formean.
The Longhorns’ defense would then get in the mix, as they intercepted Russell’s pass on the Bears’ second possession. Texas would take its first lead of the game on a 37-yard touchdown run by junior running back D’Onta Foreman, to make it 14-7.
Texas would later add a safety and nine-yard run from Foreman, and Baylor would add a 20-yard scoring strike to sophomore wide receiver Ishmael Zamora and a 15-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver KD Canon in the first half. The Longhorns held a 23-21 advantage at halftime.
After the break, Baylor looked like an entirely new team. It committed itself to the rushing attack, mainly behind Williams and the underrated running ability of Russell.
Williams carried the ball seven times on Baylor’s opening drive, including runs of 26 yards and 25 yards before punching it in from two yards out, giving Baylor a 28-26 lead.
Baylor would continue to move the ball with great efficiency on the ground, as the Longhorns’ defense had no answer for Williams. However, Baylor would have to settle for two field goals from junior kicker Chris Callahan, the first from 27 yards and the second from 24, to increase the Baylor lead to 34-26.
In a game that was just as important for Texas as it was for Baylor, the Longhorns refused to go away. Texas responded with a six play, 79-yard drive, capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Beck. The Bears’ defense held tough on the two-point conversion as they stuffed senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes at the goal line, preserving Baylor’s 34-32 lead.
The Longhorns’ defense came up big against Baylor in the fourth quarter, sacking Russell twice, including on first down after the Bears had gotten inside the Texas 30-yard line. Two plays later, the Bears were forced to punt, when just moments earlier, it appeared they had gotten in position to ice the game.
On the ensuing drive for Texas, Buechele hit [Armanti] Foreman for a 39 yard strike that put the Longhorns deep in Baylor territory. Three plays later, Domingue put the Longhorns ahead for good, as Baylor sputtered in their final possession.
As dominant as Williams and Russell were with their legs at times, Texas was able to make one more big play. Russell finished with 180 yards rushing to go with 226 through the air with two touchdowns. Williams finished with 180 yards on the ground and a touchdown. The Bears accumulated 624 yards of total offense, but turned the ball over twice and allowed six sacks.
“We didn’t execute. We made a lot of mental mistakes, too many penalties,” Russell said. “These tough games, when it comes down to the wire, whoever has the most penalties usually loses the games and we definitely won that one tonight.”
Texas tallied 548 total yards of offense as [D’Onta] Foreman finished with 252 yards rushing on 32 carries and two touchdowns. [Armanti] Foreman finished with 142 yards receiving and a touchdown, but none bigger than the 39-yard reception that set up Domingue’s field goal.
“He’s [D’Onta Foreman] a really good, big back,” senior linebacker Aivion Edwards said. “He sits there and he’s patient and hits the hole. It’s hard to stop him. He did a great job tonight.”
Buechele was under pressure all night, but was good enough when it counted. He finished 12 of 21 passing, for 291 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Although disappointed in the loss tonight, there is no margin for error as Baylor continues forward into conference play. For the first time this season, Grobe said he will get to see the character of his team as they now respond coming off a tough loss.
“I would expect us to respond really well. That’s when you find out what kind of football team you’ve got and what kind of character you’ve got on your football team,” Grobe said. “This is one of those situations where we didn’t make the plays and we’ve got a lot to work on. I’ve got a feeling they’ll bounce back and work hard this week.”
Baylor will return home to take on TCU next Saturday at McLane Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.