Down 21-10 early in the third quarter, Baylor turned into the aggressor, flexed its muscle and used a run of 21 unanswered points to top Texas, 31-24, Saturday at McLane Stadium.
The No. 16/18 Bears (7-1, 4-1) stay in control their Big 12 championship game appearance destiny. They also clinched a winning season.
Down by 11 – their second largest deficit of the season – the Bears immediately answered on a Gerry Bohanon 6-yard touchdown to cut the gap to 21-17. They then got a stop and then methodically worked their down on an 80-yard drive that was capped off on an inside give 1-yard touchdown run by tight end Ben Sims. That gave the Bears the lead 24-21 with 12:48 to play in the game.
Texas drove to midfield. The Longhorns faced a 4th-and-11 at the Baylor 49. They tried a fake punt on what was described as an RPO for punter Cameron Dicker. He looked as if he would pass. But when it wasn’t there, Dicker tried to run for it and was stopped for only a 2-yard gain.
Baylor made Texas pay for the gamble marching 53 yards, the final 32 yards when Abram Smith took a toss play to his left, slipped away from a tackle, reversed his field and went to the other side of the field, used a block and scored. The Bears never looked back at 31-21.
Texas narrowed it 31-24 with 4:40 to play on a Dicker 27-yard field goal and got it back at its 32 with 2:03 remaining. However, Baylor’s defense forced four straight incompletions from Texas quarterback Casey Thompson to turn the Longhorns over on downs and put it away.
The Bears were their own worst enemy with two Bohanon interceptions, one that led to Texas taking a 7-0 lead early in the game.
However, the Bears answered in the period when they used some trickeration on a reverse where Tyquan Thornton used a 6-yard touchdown pass to R.J. Sneed who was left uncovered.
In a showcase battle of running backs, Smith had the better day against Texas’ Bijon Robinson. Smith rushed for 113 yards. Robinson finished with just 43.
Baylor’s defense collected two turnovers, a fumble recovery by Jalen Pitre off a Joshua Moore fumble that would have given Texas a first down as it was driving deep into Baylor territory in the middle of the second quarter.
The second was the most critical. Following Bohanon’s second interception that allowed Texas to start at the Baylor 34 with 27 seconds to play in the half. Thompson threw for Xavier Worthy in the end zone but J.T. Woods was able to knock it away. On the following play, Woods came up with an interception off of Moore’s hands and return it.
The Bears have split the last 12 meetings with the Longhorns going back to 2010. They travel to TCU next Saturday.