Texas blows opportunity in Waco with 30-10 loss to Baylor

Ronald Martinez

The defense mostly played well enough to win. The offense did not.

Case closed.

Apropos for Floyd Casey Stadium and the regular season career of Texas Longhorns quarterback Case McCoy as the Horns fell to the Baylor Bears, 30-10, in the de facto conference championship game after the Oklahoma Sooners unexpectedly upended the Oklahoma State Cowboys on a last-second touchdown pass, handing Texas back control over its Big 12 destiny.

Yet, as well as the defense played for most of the game, between a missed fumble recovery by linebacker Dalton Santos and a missed fumble recovery by the punt coverage unit deep in Baylor territory after McCoy's improbable scrambling touchdown pass to Malcolm Brown on fourth down narrowed the Bear lead to 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, there were missed opportunities all over the field on defense and special teams.

Throw in a couple of dropped interceptions and Texas failed to capitalize an a few big chances on a day where McCoy averaged 1.6 yards per pass attempt and suffered from some big drops by his receivers, the performance overall left a lot to be desired in what may have been the regular season finale for head coach Mack Brown as a Longhorn.

A brutal first half ended 3-3 due to multiple missed field goals by Baylor after the offense moved the ball at times, but failed to capitalize with a touchdown. Meanwhile, running back Malcolm Brown racked up 118 tough rushing yards in the opening frame, the most for a back in burnt orange and white since Jamaal Charles in 2007, but the offense couldn't finish, a theme on the night.

In fact, it took a personal foul leaping penalty on Baylor to allow Texas to scores its only offensive touchdown of the night on McCoy's wild scramble and throw across the field.

The third quarter was the difference in the game, as the Bears marched 77 yards on 14 plays and converted three third downs of nine yards or longer to score the game's first touchdown on a one-handed catch by Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley on a slant route. The senior receiver beat Texas cornerback Duke Thomas consistently, finishing with eight catches for 114 yards, his eighth 100-yard receiving game on the season, best in the FCS.

Three and outs on the first two possessions for the Longhorns to start the second half allowed the Bears to convert short fields on drives that started barely in Baylor territory into a touchdown and a field goal that effectively buried a Texas offense predicated on running the football, a fact exacerbated by McCoy's inability to throw into or against the wind.

By the time Baylor responded to the Texas score with a field goal, the fourth quarter was already five minutes gone and the next possession for the Horns resulted in McCoy taking a sack on 3rd and 5 while bailing from the pocket. On the next possession for the Horns, an interception on an overthrown screen pass returned for a touchdown by Baylor cornerback K.J. Morton was called back, but it didn't matter, as the Bears scored on the next play from 18 yards out.

At that point, the Bears had turned two interceptions into 60 yards gained against McCoy, while the Texas quarterback had only 54 yards passing, a situation that didn't change as the final Horns possession went for zero yards on three plays.

In other words, the Baylor defense gained more yards catching McCoy's passes than the Texas offense.

And so it goes, as Mack Brown went down with the quarterback who somehow managed to save his career a couple times. Fitting.

Light the torches. Set the fires. Burn it all.

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