"We could actually win this." -- CambridgeHorn at half-time in the game-thread, sharing my optimism.
If you had told me the outcome before this game I would have probably been more or less fine with it. Baylor looked to be the better team coming in, and the Texas offense didn't look like it had the firepower to keep up with them. Midway through that 99-yard drive, though, I started to believe. The offense was generating first downs and holding onto the ball. The defense was pitching a shutout. Then, a couple of special teams miscues later, the wheels fell off. Tough way to lose, but for what its worth it could have been worse.
Onto the numbers...
Big plays and Bad plays.
In the chart above, "big gains" are 20+ yard passes or 10+ yard rushes. Medium gains are 10-20 yard passes and 5-10 yard rushes. Short gains are 0-10 yard passes or 0-5 yard rushes. Mouseover the bars to see run/pass splits.
Coming into this game, Texas was allowing opponents to run over 78 plays per game (context: that's somewhere around 90th in the country; Alabama is #1 at 58 plays), and Baylor's uptempo offense was leading the country at 90 plays a game. So seeing Baylor run 82 plays against us this weekend was pretty close to expectation.
But, by allowing only four Baylor passes over 10 yards, and only 8 big plays in total, we held them to only 4.7 yards/play (versus their season average of nearly 6.8) and 390 yards of total offense (versus their season average of 590). The difference between Baylor's season average and their performance against us is basically the difference between Baylor's offense and ours; in some sense our defense leveled the playing field for the rest of the team.
The offense overall played on par with their season averages, which is to say not very good. However, the rushing game was a net positive, and the running backs in total averaged a healthy 5.7 yards/rush.
Left, middle, and right.
Above are the rushing and passing distributions over the left, middle, and right thirds of the field. Mouseover the bars to see per-play information.
Baylor pounded the ball 46 times up the middle at an average of 4.5 yards per rush, and there are a lot of no gains and 1 or 2 yard rushes in that sample. We held their passing game remarkably in check, holding Petty to just 5 yards per attempt and giving up nothing over the middle.
The Texas passing game continues to be a concern, now averaging 4.2 yards/pass over the season (that's 2+ yards lower than any of the last four Texas seasons). This game was no different, and Swoopes left plenty of yards on the field, missing (by my count) at least three open throws on what would have been medium-to-long gains.
Probability of Texas winning the game
The above chart shows the probability of Texas winning the game throughout the entire game. Mouse over the plays to see what they are. This is to see how much impact individual plays had on the outcome.
Oof, that FG block/TD return hurt (around minute 5, you know, that giant discontinuity in the plot). Especially in what turned out to be a relatively low-scoring game, a 7 point swing that early would have been enormous. I would say "10 point swing", but I really cannot imagine us making that 52 yard FG.
Following the Baylor score and a few traded punts, Texas drove the ball 99 yards and then turned it over on a bad snap. If, at the end of that drive we had scored, our win probability jumps to somewhere between 50-60%, and the game takes on a different complexion. Instead, a few possessions later, Baylor fakes a punt and subsequently scores, marking what turned out the be the last time Texas' chances of winning were better than 10%.
The Kansas win almost felt like a loss, and this game felt closer to a win than the score indicated. It's been an odd couple of weeks when your barometer for Texas Football oscillates between bad (win at Kansas) and good (loss vs Baylor). Or maybe my barometer's just broken, I don't know. In any case, the Texas offense is currently ranked at 119th in the country at 319 yards/game, and that's been a ranking that hasn't really changed much over the last few weeks.
That leaves the defense as the Longhorns' strength, since it certainly isn't special teams. The Longhorn defense is surrendering a 29th-ranked 333 yards/game. But, dividing that number by the 80 or so plays that we defend, the Texas D allows a nationally-6th-best 4.24 yards/play. We're 6th in the country in yards per play allowed, but 87th in plays against, a discrepancy that is at least partially the fault of the offense's struggles.
Onward to Oklahoma.