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NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season has officially ended with Baylor falling to Texas 38-27 in Austin, finishing the year at 6-6. Baylor finishes the year on a 3 game losing streak, giving up 38 points in two of those contests. Baylor surrendered 30 or more points in 5 of their final 8 games of the season, after holding every opponent in 2021 to below 30 points. In this game, it was the run game of Texas that truly took a hold of the Bears and proved to be the key as the game rolled on.

Bijan Robinson showed up and showed out, carrying the ball for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns, with the vast majority of the production coming in the second half. The Baylor defense had no answer for his physicality and vision as time ticked off the clock. 2nd RB Roschon Johnson had a nice day as well, carrying the ball 13 times for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns. Overall, the Texas run game managed 6 yards per carry when adjusted for sack yardage lost. In the passing game, Quinn Ewers wasn’t special, but he did what he was asked, finishing the day with 194 yards on 12/16 passing, though he did have a sack fumble returned for a touchdown by the Baylor defense, and committed an intentional grounding in the endzone on the first drive of the game, resulting in a safety. Xavier Worthy, unsurprisingly, was the main target in the passing game for Ewers, snagging 7 catches for 62 yards. No other Texas receiver caught more than 2 balls. Once the Longhorns decided to lean on their run game, the Bears truly had no answer, and Bijan showed why he is one of the top pro prospects in the country.

As for Baylor, it was a lot of the same that we’ve seen this year, just without the running game. Whether it was abandoned by the coaching staff or the reads kept telling them to pass, the Bears only ran the ball 39 times for 101 yards. Even taking out sack yardage only nets Baylor 3.3 yards per carry, not a result this group is used to seeing. Through the air, Blake Shapen finished with 179 yards and 2 TDs on 18/36 passing, plus 1 interception. Most of that was in the first half. as Shapen never found any semblance of a rhythm in the second. The Baylor offense struggled mightily to move the ball in the second half and were shut out. The only points the Bears could manage in the second half came off of a defensive scoop and score. This game truly was a microcosm of the Baylor season, moments of greatness with too many moments of “OOPS” mixed in.

The Baylor defense had a few bright spots, like the scoop and score and the safety, plus another fumble. But when it came down to hard nosed, make a stop, football, Bijan and the Texas line won out. The pass rush does deserve some credit this game, as they registered 5 sacks and 6 TFLs. You won’t win as many games as you’d like if you’re opponent can score 38 points though, especially when your offense isn’t based on high scoring and tempo.

There isn’t a Baylor fan out there who would tell you this wasn’t a disappointing game, and a disappointing season. It was rare that a team ever looked “better” than Baylor, and today Texas had the best player on the field in Bijan, but overall never appeared to be in another league than the Bears. They were just able to execute more often and for longer. But that’s football. Much of last season’s success was built on being able to outlast teams, being able to say you can’t beat us for 4 quarters. That was not this year’s team. Coming off of a 12 win season, a Conference Championship, and a dominant Sugar Bowl win, expectations were high for the Bears, and rightfully so. But I don’t believe anyone grasped just how much the team was losing to the NFL. There was so much talent to replace, and add in that the Bears were often on the wrong end of the Lord of Luck, this season felt like it never got off the ground.

The Bears still have a bowl game to play in this year, and my hope is that we land somewhere close to home so the attendance will be decent (and I’m selfish and would like to go). The team gets the benefits of the extra practices, and hopefully can head into the offseason with the taste of victory to prepare for next year.