Football falls in ugly fashion to Baylor 30-22

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When the ranked Baylor Bears walk into Austin and casually thump a helplessly unranked Texas team 30-22, nothing else is surprising.

But this one got red-in-the-face, helmet-kicking and meltdown-tirade-having ugly.

Late in the game, with Texas trailing by eight, a punt soared far behind returner Curtis Brown, but for some reason, he tried to make a play. When he muffed it, as Texas’ punt returners tend to do half the time, Baylor seemed to recover the ball. Symbolizing the entire 2010 season, Brown threw his helmet, screamed profanities and kicked his helmet, drawing a penalty. Texas coach Mack Brown consoled him to prevent further chaos from erupting on the sideline.

But after review of the play, the Longhorns were granted another chance. First-year starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert finally had his moment to march his team down the field for a win that meant something. He completed a pass, missed the next one, got sacked, then found Marquise Goodwin with breakaway, game-tying potential.

Fumble. Just when Gilbert was having a solid 22-of-39, 231-yard passing, 83-yard rushing kind of night in front of his predecessor, Colt McCoy, his receivers did exactly what they had consistently done all night – let him down.

“It’s part of football,” Gilbert said with his head down. “Those things happen, and they’re going to continue to happen.”

Instead of removing the bitter taste left by last week’s loss to Big 12 bottom feeder, Iowa State, the Longhorns kept chugging the vinegar. Their first home loss to Baylor since 1991 sends Texas deeper into the downward spiral of 2010. Now 4-4 on the season and 2-3 in Big 12 play, Texas can’t seem to find a way to slow its own demise.

“This is definitely a time of adversity, but the great teams come together in times like these, and we are a great team,” defensive end Sam Acho said in the post-game news conference. “We’re going to keep fighting and never give up.”

When Acho later repeated that answer on a different question, a reporter said, “We’re hearing a lot of the same answers from you guys, this has got to hurt. Tell me how you feel about this right now?” Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp snapped.

“I can honestly tell you they don’t feel good,” Muschamp said, raising his voice. “These guys are working their butts off, you understand that? All right, then let’s understand that.”

The tension eased when commander-in-chief Brown took the stage. After last week’s loss, it was Brown who spoke loudly, but this week, he seemed eerily defeated, admitting this is his most frustrating season at Texas.

“Congratulations to Baylor,” Brown said. “They have a good team. It’s by far the best they’ve had since we’ve been here.”

It was hard to tell whether the game was decided by Baylor’s talent or Texas’ ineptitude. The Longhorns had a 12-10 lead at halftime, thanks entirely to kicker Justin Tucker and his four field goals. But after Gilbert’s brief glimpse of brilliance gave Texas a nine-point lead to open the second half, Baylor’s fifth-ranked offense took control of the game. The Bears scored 20 straight points and held the ever-struggling Longhorns to just one more Tucker field goal.

“A couple of times throughout the game, our football IQ just seems to drop,” running back Fozzy Whittaker said. “Having as many losses as wins is a tough deal and a hard pill to swallow.”