No. 3 Texas is looking to bring home one final Big 12 championship this season before jumping to the SEC in 2024. That journey starts Saturday with a trip to McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, to face Baylor. The Longhorns followed up a signature win over Alabama with a lethargic against Wyoming at home. Texas found itself tied at 10-10 entering the final quarter, but went on a 21-0 run to close the game. One week after throwing for 349 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama, quarterback Quinn Ewers completed just 52% of his passes for 131 yards in the 31-10 victory.
Baylor is off to a miserable start to Dave Aranda's fourth season, dropping two nonconference games for the first time since Matt Rhule's 1-11 debut in 2017. The Bears struggled to move the ball without top running back Dominic Richardson against FCS Long Island in a 30-7 victory, but freshman running back Dawson Pendergrass emerged with 111 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears and Longhorns will play their last conference game Saturday. The two in-state foes have met 112 times, and the Longhorns hold a commanding 80-28-4 edge following a 38-27 victory in Austin last season. However, Baylor has won the last two matchups at McLane Stadium, including a come-from-behind 31-24 victory in 2021 when the Bears erased an 11-point second-half deficit.
How to watch Texas vs. Baylor live
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: McLane Stadium -- Waco, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Texas vs. Baylor: Need to know
Poor situational football: Texas has feasted on explosive plays early in the year, but struggled to get into the end zone on lengthier drives. Over the past two games, five of Texas' seven offense touchdowns involved a play of at least 39 yards. One of the others was a 5-yard score off an interception. According to CFBGraphs, the Longhorns rank last nationally in adjusted offensive success rate, and are especially poor on early downs. Baylor struggled to defend explosive plays against Texas State in Week 1, but has improved over the past two weeks. Texas has to be patient on offense against a gettable defense.
Injury woes: Baylor played a miserable opening game against Texas State, and things have only gotten worse. Starting quarterback Blake Shapen is out with a knee injury. Top running back Dominic Richardson is unlikely to play with a high ankle sprain. Multiple other defenders have missed time with injuries. For a team already struggling to find any momentum on either side of the ball, having to lean on youth and inexperience has killed any potential momentum.
High emotions: In 2024, Texas heads to the SEC. The decision ends the third-most played rivalry in Longhorns history. Texas and Baylor first met in 1901 -- a 23-0 Texas victory. The final game in Waco coming against a top-three opponent presents a major opportunity for Dave Aranda's team to rebuild some goodwill. Texas has not entered Big 12 play as the favorite since 2009, and travels to face a team that has won three Big 12 championships since its last one. How will the Longhorns handle the moment?
Texas vs. Baylor prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Texas deservedly ranks among the top teams in the nation, but outside of the Alabama game, the Longhorns have looked beatable. Focus issues and an engaged Baylor squad playing its last game against the Longhorns will cause some messiness. With key offensive starters out, the Bears don't have the talent to win this game, but Baylor will put up a fight at home. Pick: Baylor +15
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