By Jenna Fitzgerald | Editor-in-Chief
In the culmination of a four-game homestand, Baylor football fell short Saturday in its attempt to secure final bragging rights against No. 3 Texas. The spirited 113-game rivalry with the Longhorns ended in a 38-6 loss, marking the Bears’ third loss on home turf this season.
While head coach Dave Aranda said he was “disappointed in the performance and the execution” against Texas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), he has no doubt that Baylor (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) is still a Big 12 championship-level team.
“I love this team. I’m in support of the team. I believe in the coaches,” Aranda said. “We have to be able to play better. In talking to the team, it was, ‘Hey, this either makes us or it breaks us. This moment right here.’ We can kind of say, ‘Hey, that performance is who we are, and all these things that are being said about us is who we are.’ Or, we can say, ‘That’s just what we did, and we’re working to get better.’ We’re going to push on through.”
Redshirt sophomore safety Devin Lemear said improvement starts with the team finding its energy.
“It starts with the players. It has nothing to do with coaches,” Lemear said. “It’s something you kind of have in you, and we have to find where that is within us. I feel like we spend too much time getting motivation from out here, out there, when we need to get the motivation from within ourselves. I feel like when we do that and we’re playing for the right reasons and not to prove somebody wrong, we’re going to be more dangerous.”
Although the sold-out crowd (49,165) undoubtedly showed up in what turned out to be an entirely student-facilitated blackout game, junior wide receiver Ketron Jackson Jr. echoed Lemear and said the players need to look inward for that energy.
“Don’t look for music, or don’t look for the crowd,” Jackson said. “The crowd brought a lot of energy, but we have to find that within ourselves if we want to be good.”
This shift in focus is especially important as the Bears leave the comfort of McLane Stadium for their first road match against new Big 12 foe UCF next weekend in Orlando, Fla. Lemear said the team has to leave its disappointment thus far in the rearview mirror and focus on what lies ahead.
“You just have to move past it,” Lemear said. “Monday, watch the film, and then Tuesday, it’s on to the next opponent. We have UCF, so you just have to watch the film, get better and move on. In practice, we have to make each other better. … Pushing each other more and more and more, hopefully the results will show.”
While a 1-3 record wasn’t what Baylor was hoping for in its nearly unprecedented season-opening four-game homestand, Aranda said he has confidence in the players and coaches to persevere.
“It’s always disappointing to lose,” Aranda said. “It stings, it hurts and it frustrates. You can think that that’s who you are, and when you think that, then you generally give up. So, I know our guys, the fight they have. And I know our coaches and just the belief they have in the team and the connection and all of it.”