Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Texas Longhorns and the Baylor Bears.
Saturday, September 23; 6:30 p.m. CT; McLane Stadium; Waco, TX
Radio: Baylor Sports Network (John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson); Longhorn Radio Network (Craig Way, Roger Wallace, Will Matthews)
Records: Baylor (1-2); Texas (3-0)
Rankings: Texas No. 3 (AP); Baylor NR
Series History: Texas leads, 80-28-4
Last Meeting: Texas 38, Baylor 27 (2022)
Line: Texas (-15.0)
Fun Fact: Texas and Baylor have played in every consecutive season since 1945, but 2023 represents the last time the two teams will meet for the foreseeable future as the Longhorns are set to move to the SEC in 2024.
QB SAWYER ROBERTSON
Blake Shapen suffered an MCL injury in Baylor’s season opener that would reportedly keep him out for 2-3 weeks, and he is not expected to play against the Longhorns this week. That means that Sawyer Robertson will make another start for the Bears. In two starts thus far, Robertson has completed just 28-62 attempts (45.2%) for 444 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions. If Baylor is going to have any chance of pulling off the upset this weekend, Robertson will need to be more efficient and take better care of the football.
DE TJ FRANKLIN
Despite being touted as one of the best units in the country coming into the year, the Texas offensive line has struggled at times to keep Quinn Ewers upright, with four sacks on the year already. That means Baylor’s defensive line should have some chances to disrupt the Longhorns’ passing game, and TJ Franklin should be the top candidate to do so. As the team’s co-leader in sacks (2.0), Franklin will need to be one of the main influences for the BU defense on Saturday.
QB QUINN EWERS
Texas’ offense will go as Quinn Ewers does, and through three games he’s had more good moments than bad. While he’s completing just 60.7% of his attempts, Ewers has thrown eight touchdowns with no interceptions. With an embarrassing array of talent around him, Ewers has all kinds of ways to distribute the football, and as long as he keeps getting the ball out to his playmakers, his numbers should just continue to climb.
DT T’VONDRE SWEAT
The Texas defensive line has been impressive through three games, and much of the credit for that goes to DT T’Vondre Sweat. At 6-4, 362 pounds, Sweat clogs up running lanes in the middle and demands double teams on almost every play. While he’s only recorded nine tackles and one sack on the year, he is pivotal to what the Longhorns do defensively.
Can Sawyer Robertson play a clean enough game to keep the Bears in it? To this point, he simply hasn’t been good enough to beat anyone not named LIU, and Texas is going to be the best team the Bears play all season. If Robertson can make a difference with his legs and build some confidence with short to intermediate throws, it would go a long way in helping the offense produce. However, Texas is likely to dare him to push the ball downfield, and that would not be wise for Baylor.
Will we see the offensive line improve? Cole Hudson suffered an injury, plus the rest of the unit has looked out of sorts at times. Baylor’s defensive front isn’t what it was a couple of seasons ago, but it is still good enough to cause issues if Texas can’t get it figured out. Getting the running game going would take the Longhorns’ offense to the next level, and this is the game to do it if you’re Steve Sarkisian.
PREDICTION: TEXAS 31, BAYLOR 13
This feels like a matchup that we shouldn’t overthink. Had Blake Shapen been healthy, I’d entertain the Bears pulling off an upset, or at least a closer game, but I just don’t have any confidence in what I’ve seen from Sawyer Robertson through two starts. Give me Texas to win and cover on the road before they start preparing for Kansas’ high-flying offense.