No. 24 Texas has to beat Baylor, then wait for B12 title shot

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas coach Steve Sarkisian has presented his players with a realistic, if somewhat out of their control, scenario for how the 24th-ranked Longhorns can still enter the Big 12 championship game.

Dave Aranda got philosophical about his Baylor team ahead of the regular-season finale Friday after a blowout last-play loss to the undefeated conference playoff contender, and no chance to repeat as All-12 champions. large.

“I’m wounded, but not dead; I’ll lie down and bleed for a while, and then I’ll get up and fight again,” Aranda told his team, quoting 16th-century Scottish warrior Andrew Barton.

The Longhorns (7-4, 5-3 Big 12, No. 23 CFP) have to beat Baylor for a chance to make the Big 12 title game against fourth-ranked TCU. Then they would have to wait until Saturday night to see if Kansas can defeat 15th-ranked Kansas State for the first time since 2008.

“If we don’t mow our own grass, then it doesn’t matter what happens on Saturday night,” Sarkisian said. “So I think the focus and intent is to mind our own business first… Because that (Kansas State) game will start 24 hours after we’re done, we can put our time and energy into that.” as far as the Big 12 are concerned.”

Baylor (6-5, 4-4) had returned to conference contention riding a three-game winning streak, including two on the road. But they’ve lost at home the past two weeks, 31-3 to Kansas State before TCU scored nine points in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds and won 29-28 on a chaotic game-ending field goal.

The Longhorns have alternated wins and losses in the past five games, with a dominating 55-14 win at Kansas last Saturday.

“It’s going to be a great game against a very good Baylor team. A lot like us, you’re probably looking at some of their games thinking, man, one play here, one play there, and ultimately, maybe things are right.” right”. going a little different for them this last weekend,” Sarkisian said. “In this case, it feels like a playoff game.”

IF THEY TIE

If Texas wins and Kansas State loses this weekend, the Longhorns own the head-to-head tiebreaker due to their 34-27 road win over the Wildcats on Nov. 5.

BIJAN VS. BAYLOR

Texas running back Bijan Robinson had career-highs with 243 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns against Kansas, and leads the Big 12 with 1,400 rushing yards (127.3 yards per game) and 16 TDs. He has rushed for just 98 total yards in his previous two games (55 and 43 yards) against Baylor, which is third in the Big 12 allowing 131 rushing yards per game.

“His movie is very impressive. We played at Kansas State a few weeks ago, and Deuce (Vaughn) had his patience, he slid back there; A, B, C, D, looking for a gap to reach, then go and hit him.” Aranda said. “This guy is very similar in that, but also, if there’s just a little bit of daylight in there, he can take it and drop his shoulder and move the stack as well.”

NEW CORRIDOR

Baylor true freshman Richard Reese is 92 yards away from becoming the sixth 1,000-yard rusher of the Big 12 this season. He has 14 rushing touchdowns and his 908 yards are already a freshman school record that ranks second nationally for freshmen. Texas ranks second in the Big 12, allowing just 125 rushing yards per game.

MAKING THEM COUNT

Jaylan Ford leads all Big 12 linebackers with three interceptions, and Texas has converted all of those picks into touchdowns before halftime of a game. He is second in the league with 96 tackles (8.7 per game) and is also the league leader in forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries.

BEAR BITS

Baylor is 0-4 against ranked opponents this season, after going 5-1 against the Top 25 last season. … Bears LT Connor Galvin is set to make his 49th run, which would break his tie with Spencer Drango (2012-15) for the school record. … Freshman Kelsey Johnson has been used primarily as a blocking tight end, but he had two touchdowns last week against TCU, on a 2-yard sweep and then a 12-yard reception.


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Baylor head coach Dave Aranda, center, watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against TCU in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Knoll)



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Texas running back Bijan Robinson celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Kansas during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Lawrence, Kansas. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)



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Baylor tight end Kelsey Johnson (87) scores a touchdown against TCU safety Bud Clark (26) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Waco, Texas on Saturday, May 19. November 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


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