Texas needs a great pass rush and effective ground game to upset Baylor

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Texas wins if…

...its defensive ends are the force they have been throughout most of the season. Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed have both wreaked havoc on Big 12 quarterbacks, registering 10 and eight sacks, respectively. That trend will have to continue in Waco on Saturday for the Longhorns to have a chance to pull the upset. The once-prolific Baylor offense has fallen on tough times the last two weeks. Through six Big 12 games, the Baylor offense was averaging nearly 600 yards and 57 points per game, helping the Bears earn a Top 5 ranking. Oklahoma State was the first team to derail Art Briles’ offense, holding the Bears to 17 points in its only loss of the year. Last week in Fort Worth, TCU held Baylor to just 27 points, also well below their season average. Bears starting left tackle Spencer Drango is out for the remainder of the season with a back injury, so Jeffcoat’s and Reed’s job of getting to the quarterback should be a little easier Saturday. If those two can create pressure and save Greg Robinson from having to blitz, it will allow the Longhorns secondary to better deal with the weapons the Bears will trot out at wide receiver. Antwan Goodley has amassed more than 1,200 yards receiving for the Bears this year, so any help the secondary can get from the pass rush will go a long way. Texas wins if they can make Bryce Petty’s life hell on Saturday.

 

Texas loses if…

...it can’t get the ground game going. The best way to slow down a high-flying offense such as Baylor’s is to keep it off the field as much as possible, and that is done by successfully running the football. It won’t be an easy task. The Baylor defense has the No. 26 rushing defense in the country, so the offensive line will have to take it upon themselves to be more physical the Baylor front seven to move the ball. A gameplan like the one the Longhorns employed in their game against Texas Tech, when they rushed for 281 yards, should do the trick Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. While running for 280 yards will be a daunting task, Oklahoma State proved that you can move the ball on the ground with success against Baylor. If the Longhorns cannot get the ground game going, it will force Case McCoy to go from game-manager to game-changer, and that has proven to be problematic in the past. Texas loses if they can’t move the ball on the ground.