Sam Acho

Photo Credit: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

When Sam Acho graduated from McCombs School of Business Honors Program in 2010, he had a long list of accolades on his résumé. 

But Acho, now a pass rusher for the Chicago Bears, had more than GPA points and internship experience.

“Sam defines champion in every way — on the field and off the field,” former Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “He works as hard as anybody I’ve ever been around.” 

As a student on the 40 Acres, Acho was charged with balancing the work necessary to be a starting defensive end for the Longhorn football team while undertaking an honors course load. But he met the challenge head on. 

Acho won the William V. Cambell Trophy, known as the “academic Heisman,” and played well enough for the Arizona Cardinals to take him with a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

Acho, who is quick to share the credit, said he recognized that he could not have succeeded at Texas without the help of others.

“The first thing I say is I had some good mentors,” Acho said. “I remember there was a professor in the business school named Herb Miller — he taught marketing. We would meet up once every couple weeks … and try and make sure that it was all being balanced.”

In addition to dishing out life advice, Miller guided Acho in an independent study that culminated in a 35–40-page research paper on how to build and maintain your brand as an athlete. Miller said Acho has all the right attributes to be a good leader.

“I think he’d be a great chief executive for a company,” Miller said. “He will be and is already a great ambassador for the University of Texas and the McCombs School of Business.”

Most NFL players in Acho’s position might relish the chance to be done with school and focus on football — but not Acho. After one offseason of relaxing, he enrolled in the Arizona-based Thunderbird School of Global Management, which has been a constant fixture in the top three of the U.S. News and World Report international business program rankings.

Acho is on track to graduate with an MBA in August, but his first offseason as a free agent complicated the path to graduation. Acho was put in the uncertainty of where he would play next, which led to significant emotional strain on him.

“One recommendation I have to anybody who wants to really test the limits emotionally, physically, whatever … test free agency,” Acho said. “You really find out a lot about yourself.”

Acho was relieved when Bears coach John Fox called with a contract offer earlier this month, but the move north and the beginning of offseason workouts complicated his plan to take classes in Arizona.  

“There’s a couple weeks overlap,” Acho said. “What I decided to do to counter that is a lot of the assignments we had to do — I did a lot of those early.”

The balancing act that began at Texas will not end when Acho receives his degree. The former Longhorn still participates in his family’s annual summer medical mission trip to Nigeria and is currently in the process of raising $2 million for the construction of a hospital there.

There is also a new challenge waiting for Acho at home.

“I’ve been married for about a year; I have a four-month-old son, so I think this offseason might be just spending time with them,” Acho said.

Senior linebacker Emmanuel Acho takes the field at last November's UT vs. Texas Tech game.

Photo Credit: Fanny Trang | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: This is the third in an eight-part series about Longhorns hoping to be drafted into the NFL.

At about this time last year, former Texas linebacker Sam Acho was eagerly awaiting draft day and would be eventually chosen by The Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round.

Now, his younger brother, Emmanuel, is playing the same waiting game. But don’t feel too bad for Emmanuel. He’s gotten some help from his big brother along the way.

“He helped me understand what was going to happen, so nothing shocked me,” Acho said. “As I put it, he gave me the answers to the test before I had to take it. I was not surprised by anything.”

Acho knew how to prepare for the physical and mental examinations that teams gave him throughout this process and during the NFL Combine. Although Emmanuel partially tore his quadricep while running the 40-yard dash, he felt he did enough to stand out to the coaches.

But Emmanuel isn’t stressing about who picks him on draft day or where he will go next year.

“In talking to my brother who went through the process last year, he told me not to worry where I got picked but just to get in the door,” Acho said. “As soon as you get in the door, which is the NFL, then you worry about making a team.”

Emmanuel knows that once he is drafted, there is still a lot of work to be done. But he feels that his versatility and high football IQ will help him come draft day. He said he doesn’t know if coaches have seen him play at the middle linebacker position enough.

But they definitely know he can play outside linebacker.

“Where you get drafted is more like stars coming out of high school; it is all about pride,” Acho said. “Once you are there, everyone is on a level playing field.”

On the field, Emmanuel and his brother are very similar, but off the field they are opposite. Emmanuel hopes Arizona drafts him so he can play alongside his brother again.

“I started playing ball before Sam and then all of a sudden he got really good, I don’t know where,” Emmanuel said laughing. “He stole the spotlight as usual.”

Once Emmanuel saw his brother get drafted, he knew that the NFL was a reality for him. He saw his brother improve during his senior year, leading the team with 131 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, 18 quarterback pressures and six pass breakups.

While Emmanuel was helping the Longhorns bounce back from 2010’s 5-7 season, Sam had an outstanding rookie season for the Cardinals. He had 40 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles. But Emmanuel hopes to top those numbers in his rookie season.

“Anything I do well is really as a result of him,” Emmanuel said. “He’s wishing I probably play better than him, as am I. But he had a heck of a season.”

Emmanuel’s stats speak for themselves. During his four years in burnt orange, he had 278 tackles (159 solo), 41 tackles for loss, eight sacks, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He helped Texas lead the Big 12 and rank sixth in the nation in rushing defense and 11th in total defense.

His teammates have been impressed with his performance and leadership over the years.

“One thing that stands out for me is that he’s been a consistent performer over the last four years,” kicker Justin Tucker said. “He racks up stats and not just those pretty stats. He’s in there making tackles and getting his nose involved on the plays.”

Beyond that, Emmanuel has been a leader for the Longhorns.

“I will say that Emmanuel has gotten a lot out of Texas,” head coach Mack Brown said. “But he has given more, and it has really been beneficial to the program.”

Emmanuel was named a finalist for the 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy, Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the Wuerffel Trophy. Both Emmanuel and Sam worked with charities off the field.

“Every time I look up he is doing something different,” Brown said. “With as hard as he works here, he goes to Nigeria for two weeks every summer with doctors and nurses. On a local basis, he is always at the hospital or reading to kids in East Austin.”

Although Sam has led the way and helped Emmanuel throughout this long process, they will continue to support each other and learn from each other next year — when they are both linebackers in the NFL.

“You know it’s not a reality yet, but come April 26, 27 and 28, that’s when it will hit,” Emmanuel said.

Printed on Thursday, April 19, 2012 as: Acho following familiar path to NFL

Most Important Longhorns

Editor’s Note: The Daily Texan will introduce one important longhorn football player each issue. Here is No. 10 of the Texan’s 10 Most Important Longhorns.

Temperatures are approaching 110 degrees, classes are drawing near and everyone is trying to make the most of the last few weeks of summer. It can only mean one thing — football season is upon us.

Texas wants to bounce back from a 5-7 campaign last year, but it’s going to need some help from a few experienced veterans and talented upstarts.

College football teams always have holes to fill as players graduate, transfer, leave for the NFL and suffer injuries. For Texas, no hole may be bigger than the one left by All-American defensive end Sam Acho, the Longhorns’ leader in tackles for loss and sacks in 2010.

Thankfully for Texas, his younger brother still has a year left.

Emmanuel Acho is set to be a Texas starting outside linebacker and one of the defense’s most productive members. Each of his last two seasons have been better than the last, with Acho registering 11 tackles as a freshman, 49 as a sophomore and 87 last season. There’s no reason to believe that he can’t continue the trend this season, and he has a great shot at eclipsing 100 tackles. Like his big brother, he’s smart, athletic and hardworking.

Question marks currently surround the Texas program, but the linebacker position is not a cause of concern. Senior Keenan Robinson is a preseason first-team All-Big 12 selection and Jordan Hicks, the top-rated linebacker coming out of high school two years ago, is poised to prove he belongs in the starting lineup. Along with Acho, a second-team All-Big 12 pick in 2010, they make up one of the finest linebacker corps in the country.

Saint Mark’s School won five games in 2006, Sam Acho’s senior year. In 2007, Emmanuel’s last season at the Dallas prep school, his team won all but one regular season game. The Longhorns are hoping for a similar turnaround. Acho may not be as dominant as his big brother, but he’ll be a big reason why Texas bounces back this year.

Printed on Thursday, August 4, 2011 as: Acho set for successful senior season

Jackson Jeffcoat, No. 44, lining up against Texas Tech in 2010. Jeffcoat suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss four games last year, but has been deemed healthy by head coach Mack Brown.

Photo Credit: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

Like the rest of the team, Texas’ defensive line disappointed last season but should be greatly improved this year. Bo Davis comes from Alabama, where his front four played a significant role in the Crimson Tide’s victory over the Longhorns in the national title game two seasons ago. He takes over a Texas defensive line that’s prepared to improve on the 31 sacks and the 138.6 rushing yards per game it allowed last season. Here’s a breakdown of Davis’ defensive line.

Position Leader — Kheeston Randall
In the Longhorns’ five wins last season, they gave up 69 rushing yards per game. In their seven losses, they surrendered a whopping 188. As Texas’ run defense improves, their win-loss record will too. Randall, the lone senior defensive lineman, should be the focal point of a better Texas run defense. His contribution of 13 tackles for loss last season was second on the team only to All-American Sam Acho, and his 39 tackles were among the best of the Longhorn defensive tackles. Senior linebacker Emmanuel Acho summed it up when he said, “Kheeston [Randall] is one of the best in the nation.”

Most to Prove — Taylor Bible
Bible was one of the most sought-after members of Texas’ most recent recruiting class, but was somewhat overshadowed by fellow 2010 signees Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks, especially after Bible redshirted last season. Now he’s back, and the No. 2 defensive tackle spot is up for grabs. “Taylor is definitely coming along, he’s been putting in work in the weight room,” Acho said.

Stock Rising — Jackson Jeffcoat
The majority of games are decided by whose quarterback performs the best, making essential those who can make a quarterback’s life difficult. Regarded by many as the No. 1 defensive end prospect from the recruiting class of 2010, Jeffcoat recorded 15 tackles last season, six for loss during a freshman year that saw him miss four games after suffering an ankle injury. But head coach Mack Brown claims “Jackson’s healthy,” and Jeffcoat should be up to the challenge of assuming the role of a starter in 2011.

Top Backup — Desmond Jackson
There are plenty of other worthy names that could go here, but Jackson, also a highly regarded defensive tackle coming out of high school last season, seems poised to see playing time despite being a true freshman.
“Desmond is benching 455 pounds,” Acho said. “He came in with a humble mind and was ready to work hard.”

Position Battle — Calvin Howell vs. Ashton Dorsey
Randall is the defensive line’s most reliable returner, but the question as to who will line up alongside him remains answered. Howell and Dorsey, both sophomores who recorded a pair of tackles last season, figure to be the two most likely candidates to break into the starting lineup.
“Right now, they need to separate themselves,” Acho said. “I don’t know if anybody has earned the No. 2 spot, so it’ll be their job to do that in camp.”

Fans still don’t know if their cable providers will carry the upcoming Longhorn Network, but they now know who will be hosting it.

Lowell Galindo will serve as the main anchor, Kevin Dunn will be both an anchor and a reporter, and Samantha Steele will be a reporter for the new UT/ESPN cable channel that will provide subscribers with 24/7 coverage of Longhorn athletics.

All three have Texas ties. Galindo grew up in San Antonio, Dunn attended Westlake High School and UT, and Steele is friends with former Texas defensive end Sam Acho.

“He was telling me about Austin all the time,” she said. “He’s probably the best advertisement ever for Austin. He’s obsessed with it.”

The network also announced that the studio will be on 32nd street, right by St. David's Hospital and just across the highway from campus. The eight-story office building is currently home to Texas Monthly, which will move out in early fall. There is also a wide plot of land near the production studio, which will give ESPN room to expand the site. The Longhorn Network will launch Aug. 26.

Updated on 08/05/2011 at 10:45 a.m.: location of studio

NFL Draft

Former Longhorn defensive lineman Sam Acho was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Acho will likely be moved to outside linebacker with his new team.

Photo Credit: Derek Stout | Daily Texan Staff

Prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, Arizona was the last place Sam Acho imagined he would be playing football.

On Saturday, the Cardinals surprised Acho when they selected him in the fourth round. Arizona didn’t bring in the former defensive standout for any type of workout or visit and caught him off-guard when the phone rang.

“I couldn’t even imagine being picked by the Cardinals,” Acho said. “I haven’t heard anything from them all the last couple months, so it’s a complete shocker to me.”

Arizona runs a 3-4 defense, and coaches told Acho they envisioned him as an outside linebacker. The Dallas native was recruited to Texas at that position, but transitioned to defensive end after two years.
Acho doesn’t see any trouble adjusting to his new role.

“I can learn that position easily,” he said. “I’ve done it before and I have a good feel for it.”

The NFL reverted to a lockout over the weekend, leaving draft picks without the chance to pick up their playbooks. Instead, Acho will seek counsel from former Longhorn teammate Brian Orakpo.

“I know he can give me a lot of good advice and we’re going to be running a similar defense as the Redskins, so I can’t wait to be able to talk to him about everything,” Acho said.

Steelers add another Horn

Curtis Brown will see some familiar faces when he begins the Pittsburgh Steelers’
training camp.

Brown will join former Texas star Casey Hampton on the Pittsburgh defense, as he becomes the fifth Longhorn on the Steeler’s roster — receiver Limas Sweed, and offensive linemen Tony Hills and Jonathan Scott are the others.

Head coach Mike Tomlin saw Brown work out in person during the Texas Pro Day in March, so it came as no surprise that Pittsburgh drafted the defensive back on Friday with the 95th overall pick.

What did surprise Brown was the fact that his name was still on the board at the end of the third round.
“I was waiting all day. I thought I was going to go earlier, but it didn’t happen,” he said.

Now that the waiting game is over, the Gilmer native can’t wait to get on the gridiron where his expectations for his rookie year are simple.

“Just being a player they can depend on in any situation,” he said. “Special teams — I’m down for that. If I make my way onto the field early, I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to contribute in any way.”

The 12th man

Chykie Brown was the last Longhorn to hear his name called on draft weekend, becoming the 12th Texas defensive back drafted in the past decade.

Baltimore nabbed Brown in the fifth round on Saturday with the 164th overall pick. The Ravens told the Houston native he lasted until the third day because of concerns about a forearm injury that ended his senior season after nine games.

But Brown had all but given up on watching the draft on TV when the Ravens came calling.

“I went to my cousin’s house down the street and we just turned the draft off and we just talked about some things to get my mind off of it,” he said. “I was actually in the car on my way home when I got the phone call and my heart started beating and I got excited.”

Now that he knows he’s wanted in Baltimore, Brown says he’s ready to get to work.

“They’re a team known for the defense and they like bigger cornerbacks, so I think I’ll fit in their scheme very well,” he said. “I just want to go up there and be able to show them what I’m about.”

With a bitter cold draft sweeping into Texas DKR Memorial Stadium, the Texas Longhorns witnessed the death of their disastrous 2010 season as rival Texas A&M triumphed 24-17.

Ending without bowl eligibility, the Longhorns (5-7, 2-6 Big 12) depart with a rare November exit after playing January bowl games the past two seasons. It marks the first time since head coach Mack Brown’s arrival in 1998 that the Longhorns fail to play in a bowl game.

“It’s not something you think about happening until it hits you,” said running back Fozzy Whittaker. “We really don’t even know what to do with ourselves right now – it was a really sad locker room.”

No. 17 Texas A&M (9-3, 6-2) entered the last of the traditional Thanksgiving matchups in the foreseeable future as the heavy favorite. The Aggies were led in the game by running back Cyrus Gray, who ran for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, including one monstrous 84-yard run in the second quarter that swung the momentum in the Aggies’ favor.

“They just made one more play than us,” said defensive end Sam Acho. “That’s the toughest part of all of this.”

But what really doomed Texas in the end was turnovers. The Longhorns had 359 yards – 140 rushing and 219 passing – just seven yards fewer than the Aggies’ 366, compiled from 128 passing and 238 rushing. But the four turnovers by Texas, two interceptions and two fumbles, cost the Longhorns in times when they seemed to be gaining momentum.

“They’re costly,” said offensive coordinator Greg Davis. “We all know how costly they are, and we put our defense in a bind.”

First-year quarterback Garrett Gilbert’s season finale epitomized his season – glimpses of greatness followed by epic collapses. Gilbert completed 20 of 37 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown but also threw two huge interceptions. With those turnovers, Gilbert ends his season as the nation’s leader in interceptions thrown.

“At this point, it’s tough to look back on the entire year,” Gilbert said. “No one in that locker room wants to feel what we’re feeling right now. The fumbles and interceptions just killed us.”

In shock and disbelief, most of the players were adamant in taking the blame after the loss.

“I can’t stand the taste in my mouth right now,” said safety Blake Gideon. “You couldn’t have paid me a million dollars to believe this would happen.”

But Brown expressed a different sentiment. Amid swirling rumors that he will shake up his coaching staff, Brown only fueled the speculation after the loss.

“It was obvious that our players were as good as theirs, but it goes back on our coaches,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of evaluation that needs to be done.”

Texas finishes with the most turnovers of the Brown era and the worst scoring year since 1991. The defense was the worst since the arrival of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp in 2008, but Texas’ coaching staff stood in defense of the current establishment.

“I think our program is in a solid foundation,” Davis said. “This is obviously a disappointing season, but these are some things that are correctable.”

Whether or not the same coaching staff returns, the seniors have played their final game in a Texas uniform. As the leader of the team, Acho sent a resounding message of what Texas’ worst season in 13 years means for the future.

“We learned as people what we could’ve done better,” Acho said. “I know that everything happens for a reason, and this team can come back with a fire and passion that Texas has ever seen before.”

Sam Acho can’t think of any other time in his life when he didn’t live up to expectations.

The senior defensive end joked that the lowest point of his athletics career happened in third grade when he missed a wide-open shot for his Tornadoes basketball team that would have won them the game. But then he got serious and explained he’s never experienced more adversity in his life than he has this year with the Longhorns.

From his freshman through junior years at Texas, Acho was a part of a team that had a 35-5 overall record and went to three bowl games, including last year’s national championship.

Last season he played a significant role in helping the Longhorns defense rank as one of the most elite in the entire country.

But now in his senior season, the Longhorns sit uncomfortably with a 4-5 record and may not become bowl eligible for the first time in 13 years if they don’t win at least two of their next three games.

But rather than sulk and give up, Acho sees this season as a blessing in disguise.

“I’m learning so much about myself, about this team, about persevering,” Acho said. “Obviously I would love to win, but if it had always been all roses my entire time in college, I wouldn’t have learned how to deal with situations that will face me later on in life.”

Acho’s maturity is refreshing. He doesn’t buy into what critics and fans think because he knows how hard his teammates and coaches work every week to fight on Saturdays.

“This team is never going to give up or quit no matter what,” Acho said. “We’re still working hard, we’re still fighting. We’re going to find a way to win.”

Mack Brown feels the same way. Following last Saturday’s massacre at Kansas State, the head coach gave a very pointed pep talk in the locker room.

“I told the kids that tough times are when people define who they are. I told them to stay strong and that I’m going to compete as their head coach and they need to do the same,” he said.

Though the Wildcats embarrassed the Longhorns with a 39-14 victory, Brown didn’t feel like his players quit.
“They actually played hard against Kansas State,” he said. “It’s hard to believe when the game turned out as bad as it did. But they didn’t quit.”

Brown said Monday that people expect him to be crawling on the ground with the way this year has gone. But he refuses to give up or give in to losing because he knows that his players are watching every move he makes and the one time he breaks down, so will the team.

This season has caused Brown to question his role at Texas more than he ever has in his 13 years. But after talking things over with his wife Sally, the two came to a mutual decision.

“Our role is to really try to help these young guys grow up and learn from hard days,” Brown said. “Because they’re going to have hard days their whole life. All of us do. When your back is to the wall, when you are struggling and when everybody is pointing at you, that is when you better stand up and stay strong.”
The Longhorns are at a low point right now, but the fact that they don’t have a quitter’s attitude is admirable. 

Texas’ once almighty defense is crumbling. And it’s because they don’t know how to fix their recurring problems.

Against UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor, Texas’ defensive woes were the same — they missed assignments, were unable to stop third down conversions and could not force enough turnovers. After each of those losses, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said, “We’ll just go back to the drawing board.”

Whatever Muschamp’s scheme was this week, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III conquered it. The dual-threat quarterback completed 16 of 24 passes for two touchdowns as he led the best Baylor team head coach Mack Brown has seen in his time at Texas to a 30-22 win. It was Baylor’s first win in Austin since 1991.

“The guy is unbelievable. I don’t know how he can be out of the Heisman talk,” Brown said. “He was the difference. He made play after play after play after play. He makes everyone else around him better.”

At first, Griffin appeared hesitant. On Baylor’s first series, the quarterback was introduced to senior defensive end Sam Acho, who tackled him and caused a turnover.

But Griffin found his groove in the second quarter when he connected with receiver Terrence Williams on a third-and-10 over the middle of the field. Williams escaped Texas safety Blake Gideon, found the open field and ran for a 59-yard touchdown to give Baylor a 10-9 lead.

“We didn’t make plays that we’re used to making around here,” Gideon said. “It’s just a matter of one guy not getting their responsibility one play, and offenses are exploiting it.”

Despite Gideon’s missed tackle, the defense halted Baylor’s running game for about two-and-a-half quarters, holding them to 5 yards on 21 carries. But late in the third, Bears’ tailback Jay Finley broke the seal for a 69-yard touchdown run. Finley, who had 250 rushing yards against Kansas State the previous week, ran over Texas in the third and fourth quarters for 116 yards.

Griffin continued to have success in the fourth quarter as he exposed Texas’ weakness at defending third downs. After the Longhorns held Baylor on the goal line for five plays, Griffin finally sneaked in for a 1-yard touchdown, putting the Bears up 23-19.

Baylor essentially sealed Texas’ fate on their next possession. Griffin started with a 28-yard keeper on a zone read, then found receiver Kendall Wright for 11 yards on third-and-10. Three plays later on third-and-nine, Griffin connected with Wright again, who weaved past safety Christian Scott for a 30-yard strike.

That made the score 30-19 Baylor.

“It’s hard to stop [Griffin]. He’s a dual-threat quarterback,” said junior linebacker Keenan Robinson. “You try to stop his feet, then he hurts you with the pass. You try to stop his pass, then he hurts you with the run. He’s a good, balanced quarterback.”

Texas’ defense ended up holding Baylor to 328 total yards, which was well below the Bears’ season average of 510.8 (the fifth best average in the nation). Acho and Robinson played solid defense, as they combined for 19 tackles and five for a loss of 30 yards. But those two can’t defend 11 players by themselves.

Now, just like every week, it’s back to the drawing board.

“We’ve just got to find a way,” Muschamp said after the game. “All we want to do is go back to work, watch the film and re-evaluate. I look forward to getting back to work.”

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.”