2011 Big 12 Previews
Week 14, Texas at Baylor
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Dec. 3 at Baylor 48 … Texas 24
CFN Analysis: If Robert Griffin doesn’t win the Heisman, he deserves to be the runner-up. He was once again brilliant completing 15-of-22 passes for 320 yards and two scores with a pick, and he ran 12 times for 32 yards and two touchdowns. … Texas isn’t giving up rushing yards to anyone. Terrance Ganaway took off for 152 yards and two scores on 23 carries. … All the press will be about Griffin, but Sam Holl might have been the MVP for the game with 16 tackles and two picks. He did everything as the last line of defense.
CFN Analysis: On the plus side, with so many injuries at running back, Texas still ran for 201 yards and Case McCoy proved he could throw a little bit with 356 yards and three touchdowns. … But the four picks were a disaster. … The Longhorns needed the defense to dominate to make up for the problems on offense, but that didn’t happen. The Manny Diaz D isn’t supposed to allow so many big plays. … Jaxon Shipley caught four passes for 121 yards, and Marquise Goodwin caught five passes for 129 yards and a score. … No, Mack Brown didn’t retire after the game.
(AP) WACO, Texas -- Robert Griffin III lifted Baylor to its best football in a generation.
On Saturday, in what may be the last home game of his college career, the Bears quarterback put on the kind of performance that could convince Heisman Trophy voters he's best player in the country.
Griffin ran for two touchdowns, passed for two more and led the Bears (No. 17 BCS, No. 19 AP) to a 48-24 win over Texas in a statement game on national television. He passed for 320 yards with touchdown strikes of 59 and 39 yards.
The first touchdown pass, to Kendall Wright, came on the second play. His first touchdown run gave Baylor the lead just before halftime. The second scoring run put Baylor ahead by 14 and all but put the game away.
But will it resonate with enough Heisman voters to declare him the best in the game?
"We thought if we came out with a victory, we could win the Heisman. It's not just about me, it's about all of Baylor Nation," Griffin said. "I don't know if you can say we deserve it, but (it) would definitely be warranted."
That Griffin is even being mentioned as a Heisman candidate is a testament to how far this once moribund program has come behind him and coach Art Briles over the last four years.
Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) got its first nine-win season since 1986, will be going to a bowl game for consecutive years for the first time since the early 1990s, and for the first time is considered among the Big 12's best, not the league doormat.
"Not too many years ago, they said Baylor would never be 9-3, would never beat Texas, would never beat Oklahoma," Griffin said. "Why not (win the Heisman)?"
Griffin has accounted for 45 touchdowns passing and running this season to go with 3,998 yards passing. He is one of only three players in major college history with 10,000 yards passing and 2,000 rushing in a career.
"He's the most dynamic player in the NCAA," said Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway, who rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns and became Baylor's single-season rushing leader with 1,347 yards this season.
Texas (7-5, 4-5) coach Mack Brown, who praised Griffin as "phenomenal" earlier in the week, was more subdued after the loss. Griffin led Baylor to wins over Texas two years in a row.
"We have four or five of the top quarterbacks in the country (in the Big 12) this year and all of them should be considered for the Heisman because they're really good," Brown said. "He's a good player."
Briles naturally went a lot further than that when asked about Griffin and the Heisman. Briles said voters should look at everything Griffin has done, not just Saturday.
"When you judge somebody, you judge them over the long run, not the short run, and his long run has been pretty impressive this season," Briles said.
Baylor fans must now wonder if Griffin has played his last home game for the Bears.
A fourth-year junior, Griffin has already graduated and must decide if he will leave for the NFL. Griffin said he'll take his time with that decision and won't let it distract from the team's bowl preparation.
Texas (7-4) at Baylor (8-3) Dec. 3, 3:30, ABC
Here’s The Deal … Four loss seasons aren’t the norm around Austin, and they certainly aren’t acceptable. However, with a scintillating win over Texas A&M to put aside the ugly performances in losses to Missouri and Kansas State, all of a sudden the season has turned around and the future is looking bright – if Mack Brown stays around.
The Internet has been buzzing with an unfounded rumor that Brown was going to hang them up after this week, but there hasn’t been anything to it. Considering his young team looks strong going into next year, and with yet another phenomenal recruiting class coming in, it hardly seems like the time to be done. With a win over Baylor, there’s still a chance for a nine-win season and to stop the slide after last year’s ugliness. But first, it would be nice to find some steady offensive production.
The Longhorns have been winning with a stifling defense. Manny Diaz’s bunch would be getting more national credit and attention if the offense was helping out and if the team was in a better overall position. Before last years’ loss to the Bears, Texas had won 12 in a row in the series going back to 1997 and hasn’t lost two in a row since the 1991-1992 days back in the Southwest Conference. No, Brown might not be retiring, but all the good will would be gone from the A&M win if his team drops another to the Bears.
This isn’t just Baylor’s chance at a great finish and the first nine-win season since 1985, this is Robert Griffin’s Heisman moment.
Alabama’s Trent Richardson is already in the clubhouse as the leader, but Griffin could take over with a blow-up performance and a win. After getting knocked out of last week’s game against Texas Tech, the rest of the team picked up the slack and came up with the team’s four straight win. While beating Oklahoma was fun and getting to this point has been great, getting the W over Texas would be a truly sweet end to a terrific regular season.
Why Texas Might Win: The Longhorns have the defense to keep RGIII under wraps. Baylor got the win last year, but Griffin was great with 219 passing yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and he ran for 17 yards and a score. The Texas defense had problems with Missouri a few weeks ago, and Oklahoma State ran 202 yards and three scores, but the linebacking corps has been fantastic over the last several games and the defensive front dominant. Kansas State and Collin Klein couldn’t breathe – gaining just 38 yards and a score – and 121 yards of total offense. The secondary will give up yards to the better passing teams, but it does a great job of not getting beat deep. Baylor lives for the long ball.
Offensively, Texas will go with a power running game against a soft Baylor defensive front that gets shoved around way too easily. Kansas and Oklahoma State did whatever they wanted to on the ground, while Texas A&M and even Kansas came up with gaping holes for the backs to fly through. Texas isn’t going to wing it around the yard with Case McCoy under center, but it should be able to control the clock and the game, and it should be able to keep Griffin off the field for long stretches.
Why Baylor Might Win: Get … up … early. The Texas defense might be fantastic, but Baylor’s offense has the firepower to bomb away if it has to. The Texas offense doesn’t have the ability to come up with big comebacks if needed. The running game got the job done in the Longhorn blowout against Texas Tech, and the 43-0 domination over Kansas came because of the defense, but if the passing game has to shine, there will be problems. Texas is 94th in the nation in passing efficiency and only averages 179 yards through the air.
Baylor’s offense is tearing up everyone. The Oklahoma defense has been the best in the Big 12 at times, but the Bears came up with 446 passing yards and 622 total yards in the shocker. Kansas State’s defense came up with just one late stop, and Missouri wasn’t even close allowing close to 700 yards. The Bears have come up with 600 yards or more in four of the last five games and five of the last seven, and they weren’t bad in the other two games with 505 yards against Kansas and 480 against Texas A&M. Texas has to do what it hasn’t on a regular basis and sell out to get into the backfield. This isn’t a nasty pass rushing team, but against Missouri and Kansas State the front seven was able to get behind the line. Griffin is great against fast and aggressive defensive fronts and he’s excellent at making secondaries pay in single coverage.
What To Watch Out For: If last week was when Case McCoy started to forge his own legacy at Texas, then beating Baylor would be a great next step. Colt’s brother came up with a run for the ages to get the offense in a position to beat A&M in the final seconds on Hunter Lawrence’s kick, and while he only finished with just 25 net rushing yards and threw for just 110 yards, it was a game that showed he could be a calm, cool leader in the clutch. Now he has to show he can bomb away. He hasn’t thrown a pick, but he also hasn’t had to force too many passes with just four touchdown throws in his part-time role. If he struggles and the offense can’t keep up, then David Ash, who was nowhere to be found last week getting just a few snaps, will have to quickly be ready to start bombing away. However, Ash has had interception issues, throwing eight on the year and not throwing a TD pass since the loss to OU in early October.
Griffin is expected to be fine after getting knocked out last week against the Red Raiders, but he’s still going to rely on Terrance Ganaway and the ground game that carried the day in the 66-42 win. The senior cranked out a record-setting 42 carries for 246 yards and two scores to keep Texas Tech on its heels, but this wasn’t his only big game. He ran for 200 yards and three scores against Iowa State, and 186 yards and two scores against Missouri. BU is 4-0 when Ganaway runs for 100 yards or more. He’s going to have a tough road to go against Texas, but the offense will try to establish him early to take the pressure off of Griffin.
What Will Happen: The combination of the Texas running game and the tough defense will be just enough to overcome a rough game from the passing attack. Griffin will be bottled up by Emmanuel Acho and Jordan Hicks from the outside, and the secondary will do just enough to keep the big plays to a minimum. Baylor isn’t going to get shut down cold, but it’s not going to find a rhythm with Texas controlling the game and the clock from the start. Texas is seventh in the nation in time of possession and Baylor is 104th. That’ll matter this week.
CFN Prediction: Texas 30 … Baylor 27
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Baylor -2.5 O/U: 64
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