Bears’ playoffs hopes crushed Saturday

Freshman linebacker Clay Johnson attempts to tackle a University of Texas player during the kickoff return on Saturday at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. The Bears lost 35-34. Photo credit: Dayday Wynn

Jordan Smith | Sports Writer

Baylor dashed any chance of getting into the College Football Playoff this season after a one-point loss to the University of Texas Longhorns on Saturday by a final score of 34-35. In the wake of the loss, Baylor is no longer undefeated and has now dropped outside of the Top 10.

One of the factors that led to the loss was the late-game struggle by the offense to really have good production from their play calling when they needed it most. Even though Baylor had the most total offensive yards in the game with 624 yards of offense, they struggled when it came time for the fourth quarter – only managing one field goal in three offensive drives and only 128 yards of offense. In fact, when the Longhorns scored with seven minutes left in the game to go up 43-32, it was the first time Baylor had given up a score in the fourth quarter this season. Before Saturday, Baylor had outscored their opponents in the fourth quarter 45-0.

Baylor head football coach Jim Grobe said he was disappointed with the way that Baylor couldn’t close out opportunities they had during the game.

“We’ve won a lot of games fourth quarter and played some of our best football in the fourth quarter,” Grobe said. “I think when you have chances earlier in the game to make things happen and you don’t, sometimes that catches you, and I give Texas a lot of credit. I thought they played great late, and we came up a little bit short, but we certainly had our opportunities.”

Senior quarterback Seth Russell performed well with the passing game, going 14 for 28 with 226 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and one interception. He once again had a great game on the ground, rushing 21 times for 138 yards and one touchdown. Even though he had a good game in both rushing and passing, it wasn’t enough to get the win.

“We didn’t execute enough. We made a lot of mistakes, mental mistakes, and had too many penalties,” Russell said. “These tough games when it comes down to the wire, and who ever has the most penalties loses the game.”

Baylor accumulated a total of 10 penalties for 39 yards. Baylor also gave up six sacks in the game, which is the most sacks given up in a single game this season.

Russell isn’t too worried about the state of their team at this point in the season, even after their first loss of the season.

“I expect us to respond really well. You know we’ve had our backs against the wall this entire season, and I feel like our guys have responded really well with what we’ve been given,” Russell said. “Coach Bennett is doing a great job with those guys. Offensive side, we still have some things to work on for sure. For the most part, we have to stay healthy.”

Baylor will look to rebound from the UT defeat and take advantage of their home field excellence as they take on the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium. The game will be broadcast on FOX.

Baylor and TCU are tied in the overall matchup record at 52-52-7, with Baylor winning three of the last five match-ups at home. Since McLane Stadium was built, Baylor has a win percentage of 87.5 percent, which is the highest of any team in college football.