When you get past our defense giving up a ton of yards and more points than I care to recall, Saturday night's up and down shootout was a lot of fun and quite the homage to the Big 12 conference. Let's take a look Inside the Numbers and remember just how fun it is to win a conference game. We beat Baylor, y'all! We'll start with individual performances, because I felt the biggest key to the game was how the players would respond to last week, and it was the players that led the way.
19 - 117 - 5: Joe Bergeron rushing attempts - rushing yards - rushing TDs
Mean Joe B is a dude I've been a bit critical of in his last few games. Since Malcolm Brown left the Oklahoma State game with an ankle injury, Bergeron had been averaging just under 3 yards per carry. The Baylor run defense is exactly what the doctor ordered. Bergeron consistently got yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry with a long of only 15 yards and no carries going for negative yards. The 5 rushing TDs are 3rd most for a game in Texas history, tying performances by Ricky Williams and Cedric Benson. Bergeron's 14 rushing TDs this season puts him in a tie with Colin Klein for 5th nationally and 1st in the conference, and on pace to flirt with Ricky Williams' 27 rushing TDs in 1998. Big ups to Joe B powering through the shoulder injury he suffered against Ole Miss.
7 - 102 - 1: Daje Johnson rushing attempts - rushing yards - rushing TDs
Bryan Harsin got the message. Daje Johnson is all kinds of dangerous with the ball in his hands, so why not give him a stretch play to open the game up, and let Daje go 84 yards for a TD. Credit my dude MJ McFarland, who is starting to come on strong, for setting the edge and springing Daje loose. My reaction? "Holy s***, he's fast." In a very un-Greg Davis move, Harsin continued to get Daje touches, getting him 6 more carries for an additional 18 yards, and 2 catches for 14 yards.
19 - 31, 274, 1: David Ash completions - attempts, passing yards, passing TDs
After scaring everybody half to death with what looked like a broken wrist, David Ash went all leaderly and what-not. Fixed his own injury, rubbed some dirt on it, and told everybody it was okay. His performance? 8.8 yards per attempt on 61% completions is a solid response after the whacking he took in Dallas. Ash completed passes to 10 different receivers (11 to 4 WRs, 3 to the DJ/Daje position, 3 to TEs, 1 to a RB, and 1 to a FB).
6 - 148 - 1: Mike Davis receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
After a slow start, which included a drop and a 3rd down miscommunication with David Ash, Magic came back and showed off his drastically improved mentality and why he's likely David Ash's favorite target. Davis opened up for a career long 67-yard catch late in the game, following an earlier overthrow by David Ash. The TD catch was another nifty little wiggle job on a screen pass. His return and development was a huge storyline entering the season, and he hasn't disappointed. Good to have Mike Davis back.
8 - 3 - 1.5: Alex Okafor tackles - tackles for loss - sacks
With Jackson Jeffcoat out for the season, Alex Okafor stepped up his game. The 8 tackles were emphatic, 3 TFLs were a big portion of the team 8 TFLs, and his 1.5 sacks were big without the team's most technically proficient pass rusher. Hopefully it was the start to a dominating performance down the stretch of his senior season.
2 vs. 0: Baylor turnovers vs. Texas turnovers
With expectations and standards dramatically shifting for the Texas defense, success will be defined in limiting opposing TDs and forcing TOs in an effort to win the TO margin. And in the TO margin, Texas won against Baylor. Josh Turner's interception of Nick Florence showed off why I thought he'd be a big key for the Texas secondary. He's got a good understanding of the game and will be in position to make plays (1 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 INT against Baylor). He's a bit undersized for a safety, but we need folks to just be in position at this point. More Turner, please. As for the Texas offense, it was TO free again this game (unless you count the botched punt snap that set up the early Baylor TD), and is now 7th nationally with only 6 TOs lost this season. Isn't a TO free offense nice to have?
7 of 7 (5 and 2) vs. 6 of 6 (6 and 0): Baylor vs. Texas red zone scores of red zone attempts (TDs and FGs)
Again, for the defense, just give us a chance to be better than the opponent. The two forced red zone FGs represent the margin in this game. If you can manage to shift your expectations for what this defense will be this year, you might have a better time stomaching the performances. The Texas offense converted all 6 of their red zone opportunities to TDs in the game, moving the team to 11th nationally in red zone scoring percentage and 2nd nationally in red zone TD percentage. Joe B's work is paying off in spades.
3 of 12 vs. 10 of 16: Baylor vs. Texas third down conversions of third down attempts
Despite giving up conversions on both of Baylor's 4th down attempts (a 4th down defense 117th in the country in giving up 80% of 4th down conversions, and 122nd nationally in giving up 12 conversions), the Texas defense was exceptional on 3rd down. The Texas defense did not give up a 3rd down conversion until the 4th quarter, forcing the Baylor defense to start 0 for 8 on 3rd down. Its difficult to fathom how bad this defense must be on 1st and 2nd down. But the Texas offense took full advantage of the Baylor defense on 3rd down. The matchup of country's worst 3rd down defense against the country's 4th best 3rd down offense played out exactly as it should.
36 - 316 - 31 vs. 52 - 318 - 19: Baylor first half vs. second half offensive plays - yards - points
While not quite a Tale of Two Halves for the Texas defense, it was much more productive in the second half than the first half. In the first half, the Baylor offense ran 36 plays for 316 yards (8.78 yards per play) and scored 31 points (.86 points per play). In the second half, the Baylor offense ran 52 plays for 318 yards (6.12 yards per play) and scored 19 points (.37 points per play). The 8 first half possessions for Baylor yielded 4 TDs, 1 FG, 2 punts, and an INT. The 6 second half possessions led to 2 TDs, 2 FGs, 1 punt, and 1 fumble. What the Texas defense succeeded in was forcing Baylor to sustain longer drives in the second half. In the first half, the longest Baylor possession spanned 9 plays. In the second half, it had two 11 play drives that ended in FGs, and a 15 yard drive end in a TD.
5 - 52: Texas penalties - yards
While the 5 penalties for 52 yards were not terrible numbers by any stretch, the timing and nature of the penalties were killer. The first Baylor scoring drive featured a defensive holding call that negated a 3rd down stop and a 15 yard roughing the passer penalty that set Baylor up inside the red zone. 2 penalties leading to a TD. Another 15 yard personal foul on Baylor's 4th TD drive set up Baylor in the red zone. Baylor's first drive of the second half featured a defensive PI early in the drive, and an offsides penalty negated a 4th down stop at midfield, with the drive ending in a TD. For those keeping score at home, the 5 defensive penalties all played no small role in 3 Baylor TD drives, two directly extending the drives. For a defense with little margin for error, the penalties are unacceptable.