3 reasons why Texas football could cook Baylor on Black Friday

Bijan Robinson, Texas football
Bijan Robinson, Texas football /
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Blake Shapen, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Blake Shapen, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The regular season finale is a little bit less than 24 hours away for head coach Steve Sarkisian and No. 24 ranked Texas football. Texas is set to host the Baylor Bears and head coach Dave Aranda at home at the friendly confines of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on Nov. 25 (Black Friday), with the kickoff time set for 11 a.m. CT.

Texas has a shot to win its second game in a row, and reach the eight-win mark to round out the regular season if it can beat Baylor on Black Friday.

Sark and the Longhorns come into this finale matchup against Baylor with a record of 7-4 (5-3 Big 12) following the decimation of the Kansas Jayhawks on the road in Lawrence on Nov. 19. Thanks to a career day from star junior running back Bijan Robinson, Texas topped Kansas by the dominant final score of 55-14.

Meanwhile, Baylor comes into this game with a record of 6-5 (4-4 Big 12) following a wild last second-loss to the No. 4 ranked TCU Horned Frogs in a rivalry game in Waco on Nov. 19. Baylor fell short to TCU by the final score of 29-28 in Week 12 after the Frogs literally nailed a last-second field goal.

Texas should have the edge in this game, as more than a one-touchdown favorite to nab the win on Black Friday.

Why Bijan Robinson and No. 24 Texas football could dominate Baylor on Black Friday

With that in mind, here’s a look at three reasons why the Longhorns will cook the Bears in Week 13.

Mistake-prone Blake Shapen could have a long day ahead against Texas’ stout defense

Redshirt sophomore Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen is having a tough run in the last few games. Since Shapen returned from an injury he suffered in Baylor’s Week 7 loss on the road to the West Virginia Mountaineers, he’s registered just three passing touchdowns and six interceptions.

Shapen is hitting a rough patch to conclude the 2022 regular season. This looks to be a case of opposing defenses testing his ability to hang under pressure in the pocket and get the ball to his weapons on the outside, which is something that most teams didn’t try in the 10 games or so prior to Baylor’s lost to WVU.

I also don’t believe that Shapen presents many matchup issues for Texas through the air.

Shapen is most effective in areas where Texas is the strongest on defense. The two areas of the field where Shapen grades out the highest are intermediate and deep. But Texas tends to defend the intermediate and deep passing game to an extremely effective degree.

Texas is rarely allowing big plays in the passing game. In the last three games, Texas has allowed just under 200 deep and intermediate passing yards per game, along with 1.5 passing touchdowns and 1 interception per game.

Senior field cornerback D’Shawn Jamison is reading the field well this season and hasn’t let up many big plays. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore boundary corner Ryan Watts was a revelation for Texas this season. Watts is extremely effective this season at playing press coverage on an island. He’s giving opposing Big 12 wideouts all sorts of issues on the outside.

Teams are figuring out that they can just load up the box and force Shapen to beat them on the outside and downfield. And I’d imagine that Texas is going to do much of the same.

Given the strength of the Texas interior defensive line and the strong play of the linebackers and edge rushers of late, they should have the advantage in the trenches.

I really like how Texas matches up with Baylor along the interior of the line. Baylor’s interior offensive line isn’t having its best stretch in the last four games in pass pro. More than 64 percent of the pressures on Shapen during that timeframe were due to falts from the interior offensive line.

Texas generates most of its pressure from the interior of the defensive line, which should be able to make Shapen uncomfortable and potentially cause him to rush some throws.