As a way to survive the long, cold, football-less offseason—as well as the bittersweet teasing reports from spring practice—Hook ‘Em Headlines is hopping in the time machine and reviewing the best games from the 2012 season. At number four is the Longhorns’ good ol’ fashioned Texas shootout with Baylor.
Date: October 20, 2012
Location: Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
Recap:A week after the Debacle in Dallas against Oklahoma, Mack Brown broke character by electing to take the ball after winning the coin flip (he almost always defers to the second half), and Daje Johnson promptly proved Brown prophetic by turning a basic toss sweep on the first play from scrimmage into an 84-yard touchdown. Getting out first was key, as it quickly became clear that two of the conference’s most inept defenses were in the building, and that the team that had the ball last would probably come out on top. The Horns were once again plagued by the singular lapses that can decimate extended stretches of good play, as punter Alex King had a ball snapped over his head that set up an easy Baylor touchdown, and Quandre Diggs got beat in man coverage by Terrance Williams (granted, an awfully tough assignment) for an 80-yard score. Holding a 42-31 halftime edge, Texas struggled to put any amount of comfortable distance between themselves and the Bears until late in the third quarter when, clinging to a six point lead, linebacker Steve Edmond jarred a ball loose that was recovered by safety Mykelle Thompson. Seven plays and 46 yards later, Mike Davis took a David Ash screen pass into the end zone to push the lead to 56-43. After Baylor marched 94 yards to pull within six, Joe Bergeron—on a night in which he’d punched in five touchdowns—sealed the deal by rushing three times for the clinching first down (after fortuitously falling on his own fumble on second down).
Final score: Texas 56, Baylor 50
Key stat: This was no doubt the offense’s night, as they rolled up 525 yards and 56 points—and they did so knowing that, given the defense’s struggles, any missed opportunity at any time could end up being the difference in the game. It should also be noted, though, that after surrendering 31 points in the first half, the defense did limit the Bears to 19 in the second, and made them work for every single one of them. Case in point: Up 13 with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, they forced Baylor to go 15 plays and, more importantly, drain a valuable 5:24 off the game clock before the Bears could pull within 56-50, meaning Texas’ offense only had to convert one first down to end things. Sadly, this type of performance should be characterized as a win for the 2012 Texas defense.
Key play: On a night when Longhorn Nation was still in the throes of their 63-21 hangover, they desperately needed something—anything—to cheer about, and Daje Johnson’s 84-yard burst on the first offensive play gave them just that. Equally important, though, was Steve Edmond’s forced fumble late in the third quarter that directly led to a Texas touchdown. It was not only a turning point in the contest, but it was also the embodiment of what had been expected of Edmond all season—brutal contact, a stonewalled ball carrier, a game-changing play. For that, let’s call it a tie.
Player of the Game: Joe Bergeron, for his Tecmo Bowl-ish stat line of five touchdowns. While he almost gave it all away with his fumble (which he recovered) on the last drive, Bergeron could ultimately go to bed happy, knowing that somewhere, Kevin Mack was smiling.
You can contact Brent Stoller at [email protected]