One regular season remains as the Longhorns look to secure their 8th win of the season and send their seniors off victorious in their final game at DKR. Texas will welcome in a Baylor team who is coming off a heartbreaking loss to TCU and sits a 6-5 on the season. Let's take a look at what to expect from Dave Aranda's squad.
Aranda made the decision after spring practice to name Blake Shapen his starting QB and let former starter Gerry Bohanon enter the transfer portal. Shapen has had an up and down season as the starter, throwing for 2,423 yards and 14 touchdowns but also tossing 9 interceptions. He is completing 66% of his passes, but has struggled against good defenses and is turnover prone.
A big reason the Baylor offense has taken a step back this year compared to 2021 is the lack of playmakers on the outside. Slot receiver Monaray Baldwin and TE Ben Sims are tied for the team lead in receptions with 30. Baldwin leads the team in receiving TD's with 4. Sophomore receiver Hal Presley has added 29 catches. Baylor throws to their tight end and slot receivers a lot.
At running back, it has been a committee approach for Baylor much of the season. Richard Reese, Craig Williams and Qualan Jones will all see carries and all 3 can be effective. Williams has seemingly taken over as the lead back in recent weeks and is a shifty runner (5.8 yards per carry).
Baylor has one of the best offensive lines in the Big 12, anchored by LT Connor Galvin and transfers Jacob Gall and Grant Miller at C and RG, respectively. The unit has a ton of experience and is very comfortable in the wide zone scheme under offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.
Baylor lost a ton of pieces in the secondary to the NFL last year, and it has showed in 2022. The Bears has taken a noticeable step back in pass defense as they break in new starters at both corner spots and one safety spot. Remaining in the secondary is safety Christian Morgan, who is a multi-year starter and leads the team with 3 INT's.
At linebacker, Dillon Doyle remains in Waco for what feels like his 8th year of eligibility. He leads Baylor in tackles with 71, including 9 TFL's. Fellow LB Matt Jones has chipped in 55 tackles and is a solid player.
The strength of the Baylor defense is up front. Nose tackle Siaki Ika is 360 pounds and dominated Texas during the 2021 matchup in Waco. Defensive tackle Gabe Hall is a good pass rusher who can create havoc. Jake Majors will have his hands full. Defensive end Garmon Randolph stands at 6'7 and has the ability to bend the edge. He leads Baylor in sacks with 4.5.
This is an interesting matchup for Texas. Baylor has some pieces defensively to give the Texas offense some trouble. Dave Aranda has a history of putting together good gameplans that expose weaknesses in opposing offenses. Quinn Ewers is going to have to make some throws in this game. Texas will not be able to run the ball down Baylor's throat like they did in Lawrence last week.
Defensively for Texas, this matchup seems favorable on paper. Baylor likes to run the ball and the Longhorns have one the top run defenses in the conference. The Bears do a good job of layering their run game and creating some interesting counters, so it will be interesting to see if the Texas defense can adjust throughout the game.
Overall, this is the position you want to be in if you are Texas. You have a beatable team at home to end the regular season to potentially position yourself to go to the conference title game if you get a little help.