AUSTIN, Texas — Baylor stepped in the ring with rival Texas and proved it could win a fight of attrition.
The seventh-ranked Bears, usually known for lighting up the scoreboard with long passes from quarterback Bryce Petty to an array of receivers, instead ran the ball and made game-changing plays on special teams to thump Texas 28-7 on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.
The Bears ran for 241 yards, including all the yards on a clinching 75-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive that running back Shock Linwood capped with a 1-yard dive. Linwood finished with 148 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Baylor (5-0, 2-0 in the Big 12) threatened to shut out Texas at home for the first time since Houston did so in 1976. But Texas running back Johnathan Gray ended that bid on a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:14 left in the game.
For the Bears, it was an efficient performance in every aspect.
“I think we won the game in three different ways,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “I thought we made enough plays offensively. I thought special teams were just very critical. And then defensively, you pitch a shutout for 58 minutes in the ball game on your opponents floor, you’re going to have a good chance to win.”
Still, Texas remained within striking distance for much of the game.
Baylor led by a touchdown midway through the third quarter when
punter Spencer Roth took off running on fourth-and-5 from his own 33. Roth gained 19 yards on the play and, more importantly, breathed life into the Baylor offense, which hadn’t scored to that point.
“If (Roth) feels like he can do something, that light’s not red, it’s green,” Briles said. “I thought it changed everything.”
Roth said it was the first run of his career at any level.
“It was so spontaneous, I didn’t have time to be scared,” Roth said.
Three plays after Roth’s run to the Texas 48, Petty hit wide receiver Antwan Goodley for a 30-yard touchdown pass that put the Bears ahead 14-0 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.
Linwood’s touchdown with 11:00 remaining in the fourth quarter gave Baylor its three-touchdown, game-sealing margin.
Texas (2-3, 1-1) failed to move inside Baylor’s 40 until late in the game, when the Bears were ahead 28-0. The Longhorns couldn’t make big plays when they had a chance to put pressure on a Baylor offense that sputtered for almost three quarters.
“What’s key for us is we don’t know how to win yet,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said. “We don’t know how to finish.”
The Texas defense kept Baylor’s offense out of the end zone for the entire first half, but the Bears made the first break of the game with a special-teams play.
The Longhorns sent kicker Nick Rose out to try a 52-yard field goal despite the fact that Rose was only 3-for-6 this season, with a long of 42.
Baylor defensive tackle Beau Blackshear got a paw on the low kick, sending it wobbling toward the Texas sideline. Baylor safety Terrell Burt scooped up the loose ball and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown.
Burt’s return would be the only score of the first half, as each defense came up with a goal-line stand.
Petty ran inside the Texas 1-yard-line and officials reviewed the play to see if he scored. The replay put the ball inside the 1 and the Bears faced third-and-goal from there.
That’s where the Longhorn front stood up to a Baylor drive that began at the Bears’ 17.
“I like how we fought,” Strong said. “They went out and, with the exception of two drives, I think we played very well on defense.”
Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown stopped Linwood for no gain on third down and Texas’ front turned back Petty’s sneak on fourth-and-goal, a stop that stood up to replay.
Texas then began a march from its 1 that would travel to the Baylor 1. Swoopes appeared close to scoring on a 6-yard run from the Baylor 7. There was no replay, however, and Swoopes fumbled the snap on the next play and Blackshear recovered for Baylor. So Baylor took a 7-0 lead to the break.
Swoopes finished with 79 passing yards in the first half, while Petty had 43. Texas out-gained Baylor in the first and second quarters 190-130.