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Big 12 Championship Bound Bears: Baylor Beats Texas 24-10

See you all in Dallas in two weeks

NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With better players and better coaches, Baylor (10-1, 7-1) beat Texas (6-5, 4-4) 24-10. Regardless of what happens next week at Kansas, Baylor will play in the Big 12 Championship Game in two weeks.

Baylor made the fans a little nervous early. The Bears opened the game with a nice run by John Lovett, and then a big gain by Chris Platt. But Platt fumbled at the end of the play and the Longhorns recovered.

Texas—as was the story almost all day—achieved nothing with the advantage. The Longhorns ended up punting. They would do that on their next four drives. Baylor’s defensive line created solid pressure. James Lynch nabbed two sack today, which made him Baylor’s career sack leader. The only time Texas scored (excluding a run with a second left) was right before halftime when Baylor allowed a 68 yard run with 18 seconds left. Cameron Dicker made a 47 yard kick to make the halftime score 7-3.

The Bears scored in a variety of ways. Lovett was a monster:

Charlie Brewer left the game in the 4th quarter after being hit with the crown of the helmet by a Texas defender. Strangely the play was not reviewed. Tom Herman whacked his face into a Texas player’s helmet before the game. But a concussed Herman couldn’t lead Texas to much this season either. Brewer left the game and did not return after the concussion.

Brewer finished 16-of-25 with 221 yards and a touchdown strike. He also took flight for a score:

Jameson Houston and Terrell Bernard were incredible. On their only non-punt drive of the 3rd quarter, the Longhorns targeted Houston on 3rd and 4 and 4th and 4. Both times he defended well and ensured an incomplete pass. Bernard got consistent pressure on Ehlinger, joining the defensive line in ruining the Longhorn’s slim shot to make the Big 12 title game. Texas had as many unsportsmanlike conduct penalties as they had points through the first 59 minutes of the game (3).

Denzel Mims, like many Bears, deserves a special shout today. He had seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. He was one of a handful of players that elected to remain at Baylor. He also decided to come back for his senior year. In the preseason, he said his goal was to win the Big 12. That seemed laughable to many. But Mims is a man who made more plays than anyone wearing Burnt Orange has made this season. On 4th and 5 from the Texas 44, Rhule elected to go for it. Mims made a beautiful contortion to haul the pass. Then he had this touchdown:

Texas had the ball down 24-3 in the fourth quarter. Texas finally drove and had 3rd and 4. Texas then had a lineman pick up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Texas could not convert facing such long odds. They haven’t done much this decade with the short odds it takes to win in Austin, so it’s not surprising they decided to just surrender the game and punt after that.

The Longhorns added one final garbage touchdown. With five seconds, they called a timeout to run it in. That score, like Texas’ season, meant nothing. Good for Texas to play Baylor within 14 though. The late betting money on the Longhorns looked less stupid with that score.

The Bears had a big special teams day. Isaac Power pinned a few punts deep in the first half. John Mayers made his only field goal attempt. Arnold brought in every punt.

This was a massive day for Baylor. They guaranteed a shot at their third Big 12 title this decade. That’s not easy to do. Texas ensured today that they would finish the decade without one. But the Bears showed today they aren’t Texas. They’re a good deal better, and as the next decade approaches, they have better players and a better coach. While Senior Day calls for looking back, the Bears have every reason for optimism in the next decade. But talk of the future season can wait in Waco. This one still matters for Baylor.