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Inside the Numbers: Texas seemingly fixed the fixables against Baylor

The Longhorns talked all week about taking care of what they can and, at least for a week, they may have.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns survived to fight again, holding off a late comeback from the Baylor Bears Saturday to move to 2-2 in conference play.

Texas set out with a goal of competing for a conference championship and essentially must win out in order to keep up on that goal. After sloppy play the last few weeks, they spent a week talking about fixing the fixables and controlling what they can control and it seems like, at least against Baylor, they managed to do just that.

3rd quarter: 143 yards (55 rush, 88 passing), 14 points

Texas has not been great coming out of the locker room this year and the third quarter against Baylor was easily their most successful to date.

The 143 yards and 14 points are the highest production numbers of the season, even beating out the season opener against UTEP. The number was a marked improvement over the previous two outings, an abysmal 13-yard affair against the Oklahoma Sooners and 73 yards against TCU — all of which came on one drive.

In fact, the Longhorns’ opening drive of the second half marked just the second time this season they have not gone three-and-out to open the second half. However, unlike the previous time — against the aforementioned Horned Frogs — Texas managed to sustain that success throughout the quarter. Texas’ second drive of the second half was a non-starter, but on their third Texas stitched together another scoring drive — six plays for 75 yards and a touchdown, marking the first time in 2020 that Texas scored twice in the third quarter.

Big plays: Texas 9, Baylor 5

Since the start of conference play, the Texas defense has struggled with getting gashed by opposing offenses, giving up chunk plays consistently.

Texas has given up exactly 11 big plays (runs longer than 10 yards and passes longer than 15 yards) defensively in each of the first three conference games for a total of 745 yards or an average of 22.57 yards on those 33 plays. In two of those three games, TCU and Texas Tech, chunk plays accounted for 56.55 percent and 60.99 percent of overall production, respectively.

Against Baylor, the Longhorns managed to limit those chunk plays to a significant degree, to the tune of just 79 yards. Conversely, the offense took advantage of a soft Baylor defense to the tune of nine chunk plays for a total of 251 plays, including a 72-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger to Tarik Black.

Texas: 5 penalties, 50 yards

After a week of Texas talking about fixing the fixables, it seems as if Texas may have figured out some of its penalty issues. After three consecutive games of double-digit penalty totals, the Longhorns held themselves to a season-low five penalties for 50 yards. Five penalties has been a magic number for Texas the last three seasons.

On five separate occasions in the last three years, the Longhorns have finished with five or fewer penalties and are undefeated in those contests. In that same span, Texas has touched double-digits in penalties five times and are 2-3 in those games.

So now Texas faces yet another tough challenge, the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road in Stillwater. Another week of fixing the fixables will give them a much better chance against the high-powered Cowboys.