Press Box Observations: Texas vs. Baylor

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Here are three observations from Saturday’s loss to Baylor.

Griffin made case to win Heisman, Vaccaro hopes he wins it

With Alabama’s Trent Richardson and Stanford’s Andrew Luck not playing Saturday, Robert Griffin III made the most of the opportunity to impress Heisman Trophy voters, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns while running for two others. One of Griffin’s childhood friends, safety Kenny Vaccaro, was one of a few Longhorns who vowed to deny Griffin a signature Heisman moment before he led the Bears to their second straight win over Texas.

“He’s a world-class sprinter with a world-class arm,” Vaccaro said. “I hope he wins. I’m not saying that because I want him to win it on us. But, as a person, he’s one of my good friends. We train together — hats off to him.”

Hills, Johnson fill in nicely for banged-up backs

Malcolm Brown, who has been nursing a turf toe injury for the last several weeks, was scratched out of the lineup Saturday. Fellow freshman tailback Joe Bergeron still hasn’t fully recovered from a hurt hamstring, so it was up to fourth-stringer Jeremy Hills, fullback Cody Johnson and speedster D.J. Monroe to establish a productive running game. The trio played much better than they did against Missouri, combining to run for 189 yards on 31 carries.

“The injuries to our running backs in the last four games really hurt because that’s who we became,” said head coach Mack Brown. “The passing game grew up tonight. If you combine the passing tonight, take away the turnovers and run the way we did mid-season, you have a chance to be really good.”

Pass-catchers put on impressive performance

Texas had its first 300-yard passing day of the season, thanks largely to its receiving corps. Marquise Goodwin and Jaxon Shipley each had over 100 yards. Goodwin’s longest reception went for 80 yards and Shipley’s went for 78 with both wideouts getting the majority of their yards after the catch on those plays. Texas’ tight ends also had a coming out party. Blaine Irby made an acrobatic grab in the back of the end zone to score for the third straight week and Luke Poehlmann caught a 2-yard touchdown, his first career catch.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a shootout,” quarterback Case McCoy said. “We needed to throw ball. We were doing great moving the ball down the field. We didn’t come out and execute in the second half.”