Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Senior guard Brooke McCarty walked off the court on Monday night to the sight of a standing ovation and with her head held high.

The scoreboard of No. 6 Texas’ game against No. 3 Baylor showed a 93-87 victory for the Bears. And although they’d missed out on their biggest win of the season, the Longhorns felt they’d left it all on the court at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas entered the battle of the Big 12’s top two teams determined to avenge its 81-56 loss to the Bears on Jan. 25, fighting tooth and nail with Baylor to force an 11-11 tie with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

The Bears awoke from their slumber, launching a 9-2 run fueled by six Texas turnovers. McCarty had an answer, though, as the senior guard sank a pair of consecutive open threes to cut the Baylor lead to 23-19 at the break.

“I thought our turnovers in the first quarter set us back a little bit,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “I thought we were playing very well defensively, but we just got in too much of a hurry.”

Desperate to shake the stingy Longhorns, Baylor hit even harder in the second quarter. The Bears began to crash the glass, out-rebounding an undersized Texas squad, 17-7.

McCarty kept Texas above water once again, lighting up the Bears for six points as the Longhorns cut the lead to 39-35 with 50 seconds before halftime.

But Baylor ended the quarter with a pair of unanswered buckets to claim a 43-35 lead at the half.

“I can’t look away from the rebounding number,” Aston said. “It was very clearly the difference in the game, and there were critical moments where we couldn’t get a defensive rebound.”

The Longhorns finally landed some punches of their own in the third quarter as Joyner Holmes began to expose the Baylor frontcourt. The sophomore forward gave an edge to a Texas team that’d been struggling to keep pace all night, scoring four points and totaling five boards in the quarter.

Atkins brought the crowd to its feet with 5:33 left, finishing on a fastbreak layup to give Texas a 51-50 lead — its first since 7:10 remained in the first quarter.

The one-point advantage lasted just 15 seconds as Baylor senior guard Kristy Wallace sank a floater on the baseline, igniting a 14-5 Baylor run. The Bears created separation once again, entering the fourth quarter with a 68-59 lead.

The Bears went for the knockout punch in the final quarter as Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox sunk a right-handed hook shot, plus the foul, to give her team a 77-62 lead with 6:44 left in the game.

Despite the game seemingly being out of reach, Texas kept fighting. McCarty continued to let it fly, drilling four three-pointers and posting 16 points in the quarter.

A late Longhorn comeback fell just short as the Bears escaped Austin with a six-point win.

McCarty finished the night with a career-high 32 points on 7-of-9 shooting from deep. The strong performance was a welcomed sight for a player who has shot just 32.5 percent from 3-point range all season.

Holmes also continued to show progress in the starting slot, finishing just shy of a double-double performance with 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Longhorns (22–5, 13–3 Big 12) hope to rebound from Monday’s loss as the Big 12 tournament, and a possible rematch against Baylor, looms in the distance.

“I think as a competitor you never want to lose,” McCarty said. “But at this point we can’t drown in our sorrows. We have to move on to the next game. We’ll see them again.”

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

With eight seconds left on the clock in double overtime and a one-point deficit for Texas, junior guard Kerwin Roach II drove right and threw up a long runner in a desperate, final look.

But like so many of Texas’ shots on Monday evening, the floater fell short and Baylor grabbed the rebound.

Baylor 74, Texas 73.

It was a pivotal loss for a sliding Texas team that dampened any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. After posting an impressive 11–2 home record through its first 13 games, Texas has now dropped back-to-back games at the Frank Erwin Center for the first time this season.

“They are really upset,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “And some of these guys are really angry, because some of those guys put their egos aside and came together in terms of attacking and battling. But obviously we came up one stop short.”

Texas missed 11 of its first 12 shots as Baylor took an early 13-6 lead.

The Longhorns rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, a fact that Baylor took full advantage of in the opening half. Even with freshman guard Jase Febres — the team’s top marksman from three — back in the starting lineup, Texas shot a miserable 2-of-11 in the first half from deep.

The Longhorns converted on just one field goal at the midway point of the half. And even then, the points came on contested mid-range jumpers. The offense was flat.

With under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Baylor scored on an easy layup off an inbound pass, forcing Texas head coach Shaka Smart to burn a timeout. That break proved to be the turning point of the opening period.

“Particularly in the first half, they didn’t let (poor shooting) get them down,” Smart said. “We had some good looks we didn’t make. We got the ball inside pretty well a few times where we didn’t put it away. That happened a couple times.”

Out of the timeout a three by junior guard Eric Davis Jr. gave Texas a badly needed spark. Roach got a dunk off a steal, then freshman forward Mo Bamba brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk off the lob from the junior guard to cut the lead to one.

Moments later, the same duo connected on an identical, yet even more spectacular, alley-oop, and Texas took its first lead since the opening seconds.

The two teams traded baskets and entered halftime separated by a single possession, with the Bears clinging to a two-point advantage.

The Longhorns missed four uncontested shots from behind the arc to open the second half, including an airball from Davis as Baylor jumped out to an early five-point lead.

But it was Bamba who set the tone again for Texas. A huge rejection on Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led to a layup on the other end for Bamba — Texas’ first points of the second half after nearly five minutes.

Baylor maintained a two-possession advantage until the 11-minute mark. Whether it was mismatches or a lack of effort from Texas, the Bears had little trouble abusing the Longhorns on both ends of the court. Texas looked deflated as Baylor pressed the attack, pulling ahead by eight with four minutes to play.

But the Texas players kept grinding. On the heels of a technical foul by Baylor, a late three from freshman guard Matt Coleman and a scoop layup under the rim brought the Longhorns within one with 30 seconds left in regulation. Moments later, Coleman went to the line, calmly hitting two free throws to tie the game for the Longhorns at 56.

Baylor missed a final look from deep as the two teams headed into overtime. Neither squad was able to command an advantage in the ensuing five minutes. After a pair of free throws from Roach tied the game at 64, the two teams headed into a second overtime period.

Again both teams failed to create any meaningful separation.

Texas and Baylor traded layups on both ends as time ran down. With under 15 seconds to play, Baylor took a one-point lead on a dunk inside.

“I knew that Mo was going to block the shot, and I was just hoping for a good miss,” Lual-Acuil Jr. said. “And thankfully I went up and I got it.”

The late runner by Roach proved just off the mark, and Texas (15–11, 5–8 Big 12) saw its postseason hopes suffer a massive blow in disappointing fashion.

“Slow starts make it tough,” Smart said. “That being said, our guys battled and forced overtime, forced double overtime. But even as we took the lead, they weren’t able to stop them.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

WACO, Texas — The No. 6 Longhorns entered Thursday night’s road game against No. 3 Baylor with hopes of a season-defining victory. Those hopes were shattered as Texas fell to the Bears in an 81-56 blowout. Here are five takeaways from the game.

Cox commands attention in first quarter

The Longhorns walked into the Ferrell Center with their sights locked on Baylor forward Kalani Brown. The 6-foot-7-inch center has tortured defenses all season, averaging 21.7 points and crashing the boards for 9.3 rebounds per game.

But with Texas determined to contain Brown, Baylor forward Lauren Cox broke free. The sophomore made the Longhorns pay in the first quarter, going 3-for-3 from the field and sinking all five shots at the free throw line for 11 total points.

The Bears won the opening quarter in every way, out-rebounding, out-shooting and out-hustling the Longhorns to take a 28-18 lead at the break.

“I expected (Baylor) to be really passionate and energetic in the way that they played,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “But I’m surprised by our team’s lack of composure and competitiveness in the first quarter.”

Baylor shuts down McCarty in the first half

Senior guard Brooke McCarty is the engine for the Longhorns, and that engine couldn’t start in the first half.

The League City native found herself at the mercy of Baylor guard Kristy Wallace, unable to create penetration and get open looks for her team.

McCarty totaled just four points on 1-of-8 shooting at the half as the Bears laid into the Longhorns, outscoring them 22-9 to break the game wide open.

Texas shot 26.5 percent in the first half as the Bears entered halftime with a commanding 44-27 lead. The 17-point deficit marked the most the Longhorns had trailed all season.

Brown explodes in the third quarter

With the Longhorns still doozy from the first half, Brown hit her stride in the third quarter.

The 11th-highest scorer in the nation owned the paint, exploiting Texas’ defense for nine points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Brown got the undisputed victory in her highly anticipated matchup with junior forward Jatarie White, crashing the glass for four rebounds to White’s one in the third quarter.

Texas had no answer as the Bears cruised into the final quarter with a 64-42 lead.

Baylor doesn’t ease up in the fourth quarter

The Bears kept their foot on the gas in the fourth quarter, tallying four offensive boards and forcing four Texas turnovers.

Wallace continued to win the battle against McCarty, finishing with 27 points on the night, including nine in the fourth quarter alone.

“(Wallace) controlled the game from the jump,” Aston said. “She made a lot of plays for (Baylor) and had a big game.”

The Bears kept their starters in until the final buzzer sounded, securing a dominant 81-56 victory at home.

Texas shows glaring flaws in loss

The 25-point trashing is Texas’ largest loss since 2016 when the Longhorns fell to Baylor, 74-48, on Feb. 29.

Frontcourt scoring proved fatal for the Longhorns as senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and White combined for just 11 points. Three-point woes also plagued Texas as the Longhorns shot an abysmal 3-for-15 from behind the arc.

For a Texas team that fell just short to No. 1 UConn in a 75-71 heartbreaker on Jan. 15, Thursday’s blowout defeat is a step backward.

“It is frustrating when you don’t show up,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “They out-worked us, had more energy and played with passion. They were a team tonight, and we weren’t.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

WACO, Texas — Three looks inside and zero points to show for it.

Late in the second quarter of No. 6 Texas’ 81-56 loss to No. 3 Baylor on Thursday night, sophomore guard Alecia Sutton received an inbound pass near the left block, a half-step in front of her defender. Another dribble would have given her a chance at a layup.

Instead, Sutton just glanced inside and dribbled back near the top of the key to reset the offense. She noticed junior forward Olamide Aborowa wide open on the opposite side of the lane and lobbed a pass.

Aborowa mishandled the catch. She pump-faked once, then pitched it to Jada Underwood in the middle of the floor. The sophomore wing hesitated, then tried for an up-and-under post move right before the shot clock ran out.

A thicket of long-limbed Bears loomed in the paint. The Longhorns couldn’t explode their way through it. They tried dancing around it instead, but never found the right rhythm. The ball rimmed out, completing a sequence that encapsulated Texas’ night.

“I didn’t think they played scared. I just didn’t think they matched Baylor’s passion,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “There’s been a couple of times this year when we haven’t done that. And this was by far our worst performance as far as simple things like competition.”

Baylor sophomore forward Lauren Cox collected the rebound and found freshman guard Alexis Morris on the outlet pass. Morris zoomed to the opposite end of the court and hit a mid-range jumper in transition, putting Baylor up 44-25 with 41 seconds left in the quarter.

Senior guard Brooke McCarty dripped in a buzzer-beating floater to end the half, but Texas was ultimately exiled to the perimeter. The Bears finished the game with seven blocks — including six from Cox alone — and out-rebounded the Longhorns, 50-34.

“I would say that their size and their length definitely makes it a little bit more difficult,” junior guard Lashann Higgs said. “But we’re just not competitive. They out-competed us. They were just tougher than us and were playing with a purpose.”

The Longhorns struggled just as much from outside. Texas launched plenty of open triples and jump shots, but the ball rarely found the bottom of the net. McCarty and fellow senior guard Ariel Atkins combined to shoot just 8-for-30 from the field and 3-for-10 from three for 27 points.

Atkins’ composure suffered. Once the game slipped away, she began setting the ball on the floor after every call against Texas rather than handing it to the referee. She committed seven of the team’s 16 turnovers.

“It is frustrating when you don’t show up,” Atkins said. “They out-worked us, had more energy, they played with passion. They were a team tonight and we weren’t.”

Baylor (18–1, 8–0 Big 12) was one of the toughest opponents Texas (15–4, 6–2 Big 12) has played all season. 

Still, Aston knew her team could have performed better.

“I was a little surprised — a lot surprised by the lack of composure and competitiveness,” Aston said. “It was just a little bit of an old-fashioned butt-kicking.”

The Longhorns can’t afford to dwell on the loss. The Big 12 doesn’t allow teams much time to rest between games, and Texas is no exception.

“You’ve just got to go on to the next thing and just get back into the gym,” Higgs said. “Baylor wanted it more, so we can’t dwell on it.”

Texas hosts Iowa State at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We have to turn the page really quickly,” Aston said. “(Friday) will be more of a mental day. It’s not one of those times where you can go in there and run them to death or try to fix a competitive thing. They know — they’re competitive players. They know that they didn’t show up tonight. We have to turn the page and get ready for Iowa State.”

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

After earning a victory on senior day against Oklahoma on Wednesday, the Longhorns took to the road for their season finale on Saturday afternoon, facing off against No. 18 Baylor in Waco.

Texas stole the show on the Bears’ senior day festivities, ending the regular season in style with a four-set victory.

Baylor opened the floodgates early, starting off the first set with an 11-2 advantage. However, the Longhorns stayed the course and came back to take the set 27-25.

Two of Texas’ seniors, Chiaka Ogbogu and Ebony Nwanebu, played a big part in mounting the comeback. The duo combined for 26 kills over the course of the match.

“I think the majority of the time we were trying to play catch up,” senior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu said. “I’m really proud of how we came back and kept pushing.”

The second set saw Baylor go neck-and-neck with Texas through the majority of the set. With both teams deadlocked at 20, the Bears strung together a 5-1 run to close the set out.

The Longhorns once again played a close third set, playing to a tie game at 21. They followed that with a 4-2 run to close out the set, topped of by a pre-serve error that gave Texas the set.

The fourth set saw the scales tip heavily in favor of the Longhorns, as they opened the floodgates with a 8-0 run and never looked back to claim the match.

“We set the tone for how we wanted to finish it,” Nwanebu said. “I think we executed that very well.”

This game saw Texas notch four players with double-digit kills, emphasizing a strong team effort in defeating a top-25 team on the road. At the end of the afternoon, the Longhorns were outright Big-12 champs.

Apart from the numbers, it was the point-at-a-time mentality that powered Texas through to the finish line. With a stout senior leadership core, the younger players always have someone to turn to in the huddle after each point.

“I’m really proud of Chiaka (Ogbogu),” Nwanebu said. “She told us that we were going to win, and if she saw someone’s face drop, she made sure that it changed.”

With the regular season wrapped up, Texas will take a 18-game win streak into the postseason, being one of two teams in the country with a perfect conference record.

Texas’ postseason positioning is up to the NCAA selection committee, who will determine whether or not Texas and Gregory Gym will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Despite only two losses on the season, there is still a question mark surrounding the Longhorns’ seeding among coaches and players alike.

“Hopefully we get to host, but you never know,” Nwanebu said. “We’re always prepared for anything.”

The Longhorns won’t have to play the waiting game for long. The NCAA Tournament selection show is slated to set up the bracket at 8 p.m. on Sunday before tournament action kicks off on Nov. 30.

Texas traveled to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday in hopes of earning its second-straight conference win. No. 8 TCU proved to be a tough matchup for the Longhorns, though, as the Horned Frogs defeated Texas 24-7. The rest of the Big 12 was also in action with four other conference games on Saturday. Here’s how they shaped up:

Texas Tech unable to snap losing streak
Texas Tech has been on quite a skid since it began conference play. While the Red Raiders were undefeated in non-conference play, they have only produced one win against a Big 12 opponent thus far in the season. Texas Tech looked to get back on track over the weekend as Kansas State traveled to Lubbock, but the Wildcats stunned the Red Raiders behind backup QB Skylar Thompson’s game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Texas Tech came out slow against the Wildcats, but the Red Raiders showed their usual brand of high flying, up-tempo offense behind QB Nic Shimonek’s 405 passing yards by the end of the first quarter. However, Kansas State showed their own version of a prolific offense, keeping up with the Red Raiders the entire way. The game would ultimately enter overtime after a late Kansas State two-point conversion. In overtime, Thompson sealed the Wildcats win, throwing an eight-yard touchdown. With the 42-35 defeat, Texas Tech now sits on a four-game losing streak.

Oklahoma wins stunner in Bedlam rivalry
All eyes were on Saturday’s game in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as two of the top Big 12 contenders went head-to-head in one of the biggest rivalries the conference has to offer. This year’s Bedlam matchup would prove to be one of the most memorable, setting offense records while racking up 114 total points and more than 1,400 yards.

Coming into the matchup, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, each led by Heisman candidates at the QB position, held one loss. The game would prove to be an epic back-and-forth with baffling offense stat lines in the passing and running games. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph each threw for five touchdowns, but in the end it would be Mayfield remaining at the top of the Heisman campaign. The senior ended his day with 598 yards passing on top of the five scores. After the 62-52 shootout victory, the Sooners now sit at No. 5 in the AP Poll.

Baylor earns first win
The Bears have seen their fair share of disappointment in 2017, starting the year with eight-consecutive losses to kick off head coach Matt Rhule’s tenure. Baylor has been able to keep a few of its conference games surprisingly close, but the team has never been able to hold on to a lead till the end.

That changed Sunday, as Baylor overwhelmed Big 12 bottom-feeder Kansas in a 38-9 victory. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer led the scoring barrage against the Jayhawks, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Bears wide receiver Denzel Mims would also show out in the victory, with 122 yards on just five receptions. While the win does not help the Bear’s conference championship hopes very much, it does provide a good boost of confidence to Rhule and the rest of his first-year coaching staff.

Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

With a few minutes remaining in the second half and holding a 1-0 lead, the Longhorns were on the cusp of sealing a victory over Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.

But that never came to fruition as the Bears fought back for a 2-1 win in overtime, with Baylor midfielder Julie James delivering the golden goal.

Baylor came out aggressive in the first half against the No. 4-seeded Longhorns, pressing with a flurry of attacks led by junior forward Lauren Piercy and All-Big 12 first team forward Aline de Lima. 

De Lima and Baylor attacked the holes in the Texas defense with three shots on sophomore goalkeeper Nicole Curry in the last 10 minutes before halftime, but the Longhorns held strong despite only putting up one shot on goal.

“We need to return the physicality and just play a little quicker,” head coach Angela Kelly said in an interview on the TV broadcast prior to heading to the locker room. “We gotta stop giving the ball back as soon as we win it.”

On the offensive side of the ball, freshman forward Haley Berg and sophomore forward Cyera Hintzen had often been the creators and scorers for Texas this season, but both were held without any real quality opportunities against Baylor’s defense. 

Texas found a moment of brilliance from junior midfielder Katie Glenn, who scored in the 72nd minute. 

Fresh off of All-Big 12 first team honors, Glenn slipped through the Baylor defense and scored after receiving a through ball from Berg.

The momentum was short-lived for Texas, though, as Piercy’s strike off a cross tied the game up with under two minutes to play in regulation.

Texas had been 5–1 in overtime games this season entering Wednesday’s match. In overtime, the Bears led a gashing attack. De Lima delivered a through ball to James, who sealed the win in the 99th minute with a golden goal.

Texas’ excellent regular season performances have put themselves in a good position for the NCAA tournament, but an early exit in the Big 12 tournament will hang over the Longhorns’ heads. Now, Texas must sit at home and wait for an NCAA tournament selection.

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Dominant defensive performances aren’t anything new for Texas this season, but freshmen running backs Toneil Carter and Daniel Young are.

As the Longhorns headed down the tunnel following their victory in Waco Saturday afternoon, not many people in McLane Stadium looked twice when the scoreboard read Texas 38, Baylor 7.

It wasn’t the score that jumped out. It was who did the scoring and how they did it –– on the ground. Texas’ run game, which has been absent for the majority of the season, finally gained a glimpse of traction in the Longhorns’ victory over winless Baylor.

But it wasn’t the 250-pound junior running back Chris Warren III who put the Longhorn running game back on track. It wasn’t even sophomore Kyle Porter, who sat out for the second-straight game due to injury. It was two freshmen: Toneil Carter and Daniel Young, who have seen limited playing time thus far, and even spent time on the scout team.

“Those kids get better everyday. It’s incredible how hard they work and how hard they run,” junior linebacker Malik Jefferson said. “They were scout team at one point and now they're starters and trading in and out. I commend them for everything they're doing. They've been patient with it and let the process take care of itself and you see the success they had on the football field.”

Neither Carter nor Young broke the century mark in the blowout victory, but both proved efficient. Young averaged 8.6 yards per carry after bouncing out to the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown which gave Texas its 38-7 lead in the final moments of the fourth quarter.

And he wasn’t the only freshman running back who had a breakout performance. Toneil Carter averaged 4.7 yards per carry and emerged as the Longhorns’ leading rusher –– just the second time this season a non-quarterback has led the team in rushing.

“They broke tackles, which was encouraging to see,” Herman said. “They slivered around in there when things weren't blocked perfectly … I was proud of them. They protected the football which is always a concern when you're playing true freshmen at running back but I loved what I saw.”

The Longhorn offense wasn’t clicking early, especially in the first quarter where Texas’ only points came after junior defensive back DeShon Elliott returned an interception for a touchdown.

The offensive woes peaked in the second quarter after the defense recovered a Baylor fumble inside the red zone. The Longhorn offense not only failed to get in the endzone, but also saw the field goal attempt blocked to keep the score at 7-0.

However, once Buechele and the offense found its rhythm, it didn't look back. The Longhorns went to the quick-tempo offense early and often. And it not only led to points, but also confidence.

“When we can go fast, it helps a lot with our offense especially just keeping the defense off the field,” Buechele said. “They played a lot of snaps today, they played unbelievable. It was really good to see our running backs and offensive line work the way they did. “

The Longhorn offense now looks forward to its next challenge: a road test against No. 10 TCU. But even after the win Saturday, the 4-4 record is still in the back of some players’ mind.

“It sucks,” Jefferson said. “Because we should be a lot better honestly. But we’re not gonna play like we’re 4-4. We’re still gonna play like we're contending for something.”

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

Hours before his team took the field at McLane Stadium in Waco and routed a winless Baylor team, 38-7, head coach Tom Herman had already seen exactly what he needed to see.

For a team coming off back-to-back, gut-wrenching losses, with its season teetering on an unstable pendulum, Texas could not afford to look past the now 0-8 Bears.

“We had talked all week about this being the most important game of the season,” Herman said. “Not because of what had really happened in the past or who we were playing or what their record was but the fact that it was the next one.”

And so at 5:45 a.m. at Texas’ team hotel, Herman saw words put into action.

“I was shocked,” Herman said. “A 5:45 a.m. wake-up call — there was no dopey-eyed guys, there was no ‘wipe the sleep out of their eyes.’ None of that stuff. They were intense and ready to go from the word ‘jump.’”

In a game that they could not afford to lose, the Longhorns (4–4, 3–2 Big 12) wore down Baylor with another solid defensive outing coupled with a relatively steady offensive performance.

The Longhorns’ defense came up huge on just the third play from scrimmage.

Baylor quarterback Zach Smith’s pass over the middle on third-and-8 was a little high as it tipped off of his intended receiver’s hands, which left safety DeShon Elliott in the right place at the right time. The ball fell right into Elliott’s hands for his team-leading sixth interception of the season. The junior returned it to the house for a touchdown to put the Longhorns up 7-0 early.

From there, Texas stayed in control in a game that was never really close.

“I don’t know if you can get started any better than that,” senior safety John Bonney said. “We took that momentum that DeShon gave us and just kept rolling with it the rest of the game.”

Texas took a 21-7 lead into halftime after two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele — who made his third start of the season in place of injured freshman Sam Ehlinger — scrambled to find sophomore wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass.

Later, after a fumble by Baylor punter Connor Martin set the Longhorns up at Baylor’s own 28-yard line, Buechele kept the ball on a zone read, sprinted up the middle and raced past Baylor defenders for a touchdown, putting Texas up 21-7. Buechele even sprinted all the way up the tunnel in the northeast corner of McLane Stadium.

“He showed us a little speed,” senior wide receiver Lorenzo Joe said. “He kept on running through that tunnel. We started joking around calling him Forrest Gump. That was big for him.”

A couple of freshman running backs helped put things completely out of reach in the second half. Toneil Carter and Daniel Young each dashed for touchdowns, and junior kicker Joshua Rowland tacked on an 18-yard field goal to help the Longhorns shut the door in Waco.

While Saturday was a step in the right direction for the Longhorns, it was a small one in the grand scheme of things. But Texas avoided what it couldn’t afford to do — suffer a colossal letdown against a struggling opponent — and handled business. Next Saturday is another big one, as the Longhorns head to Fort Worth for a showdown with No. 10 TCU.

Asked after the game where he thinks the Longhorns are headed with four games left on the schedule, Herman avoided any bold prophecies. He just stuck to his mantra.

“Oh, I don’t know. I just want to go 1-0 this week,” Herman said. “The big picture is irrelevant right now.”

Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns aren’t heading into Waco with Big 12 Championship aspirations — not anymore. 

At 3–4, 2–2 Big 12, Texas’ sights have shifted from winning the conference to just getting back into the win column and making a bowl game. If it wasn’t clear after Texas’ loss in the Red River Showdown, it seemed evident following Texas’ 13-10 overtime loss to Oklahoma State — its second-consecutive conference loss — pushing the team down to sixth place in the Big 12.

“We’ve got an opportunity to send these seniors out with a bowl game, something they haven’t had in the last two years,” head coach Tom Herman said following Saturday’s loss. “We’re gonna do everything possible to go on the road against Baylor this week and go be 1–0 in Waco.”

The Longhorns now enter the final five games of the season. With games against No. 4 TCU and No. 22 West Virginia on the docket, earning bowl eligibility won’t be an easy task for the burnt orange.

“I’m tired of being that team that hasn’t made a bowl game or (that) wins five games, because we aren’t that team talent-wise,” junior linebacker Breckyn Hager said. “And we’re definitely not that team coaching-wise.”

But Texas must first face Baylor, an 0–7 team still looking for its first win. Despite the Bears’ winless record, however, Herman and his team know Saturday isn’t a guaranteed win. 

“Turn on the film,” Herman said. “If you want to look at the record — this is me speaking to the team — then you’re looking at the wrong thing. Turn on the film: This is a good football team, and this is a football team as hungry and as eager for a win as we are.”

Baylor fans watched the Bears lose their first two games to Liberty University and UTSA — at home. Although the Bears have yet to win since then, things have looked more promising after the team nearly beat then-No. 3 Oklahoma and then fell just two points short against No. 22 West Virginia last week. 

Now they have their eyes set on 3–4 Texas for their first win, and Herman knows his team can’t take the Bears lightly. 

“We’re not good enough,” Herman said. “I told our team, ‘We’re not good enough to not play our A-game and beat anybody.” 

Texas is set to take on Baylor at 11 a.m., marking the Longhorns’ first matchup in Waco since the burnt orange’s 23-17 over the Bears in 2015. That matchup saw a bench-clearing altercation that broke out between the Longhorns
and Bears. 

Junior offensive lineman Patrick Vahe said he didn’t travel with the team for that game because of injury, but he hasn’t forgotten what he saw unfold on his television two years ago. And expects to see the same intensity this
go around. 

“I was watching on TV, and it was pretty intense,” Vahe said. “The sidelines clearing and all that … it was intense. I feel like it’s gonna be the same way, regardless of the record. Baylor plays their heart out every single week … we can’t turn our backs on Baylor, because they will come out swinging.”