Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Baylor vs. Texas preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 30th, 2021; Waco, Texas; McLane Stadium
TV: ABC (Joe Tessitore, Greg McIlroy, Katie George)
Radio: Baylor Sports Network/ESPN Central Texas; Longhorn IMG Sports Network; Sirius 138/XM 199
Spread: Baylor -3
Fun Fact: Baylor lost 12 games in a row to Texas from 1998 to 2009, but since then, the Bears have won five of the last 11 meetings.
RB Bijan Robinson
The sophomore running back has himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation after leading the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards with 924 on the season so far, for a 6.3 yard per carry clip, and 10 touchdowns. He’s also doing it with big plays. Robinson has 25 plays (18 rushes/7 receptions) of 20-plus yards and that includes six of 50 or more (all runs). Robinson is third in the FBS with nine-straight games scoring a touchdown. He is the most explosive player in the league, and arguably the country, and Baylor will need to figure out how to slow him down to some degree.
LB DeMarvion Overshown
The linebacker is fourth in the Big 12 Conference with 56 tackles, along with 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks on the season. The veteran has played in 34 games during his career with 19 starts and has clearly become a leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Longhorns.
RB’s Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner
Baylor is the only team in the country with two players ranked top-20 nationally in rushing yards per carry – Abram Smith (4th, 7.48) and Trestan Ebner (14th, 6.44). Smith is 10th nationally in both rushing TDs (10), along with rushing yards per game (112.1). This may be the most underrated rushing duo in the country so far this season. Individually, Smith is third in the Big 12 behind Bijan Robinson and Breece Hall in rushing yards in the Big 12 with 785, while leading both of them in yards per carry.
Safety Jalen Pitre
Pitre is the leader of a secondary that leads the Big 12 in interceptions this season with eight interceptions in seven games. If you look at the unit, Baylor’s five starting defensive backs have a combined 210 career games played and 110 career starts. Individually, Pitre is tied for the Big 12 lead with two interceptions on the season.
Texas needs its No. 1 ranked offense in terms of efficiency to play that way for all four quarters. The Longhorns have blown their last two games against the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys because of second-half meltdowns. That’s something that Steve Sarkisian had to try and get figured out during the bye week. Baylor is playing really good ball on both sides, and if they aren’t focused for all 60 minutes they will lose this game on Saturday.
Win the turnover battle. It’s cliché, but it will matter in this game and that trend favors the Bears. Baylor has forced twice as many turnovers (28) as it has allowed (14) in 16 games under Dave Aranda. Meantime, Texas QB Casey Thompson has been turnover prone, tied for the Big 12 lead with five interceptions this season. If Baylor can slow down Bijan Robinson in the running game and force Thompson to unload through the air, the experienced Baylor secondary could have itself a big day.
Prediction: Texas 31, Baylor 30
I believe this will be a coin flip game that goes down to the wire. But here’s the thing, if Texas just plays a full game, they win. They’d be in first place in the Big 12 right now if they did that the last two games. I know it’s easy to say, “same old Texas”, but I’m putting some faith in Steve Sarkisian that he’s able to fix that problem. Lastly, if you look at the Big 12 strength of schedule as of now, Texas is 11th in the nation, Baylor is 75th. That has to eventually catch up with the Bears, and I believe it will this week, with Bijan Robinson carrying the load for the Longhorns on their way to a close win.