AUSTIN, Texas -- Not pretty, not easy, but not a problem for the usually flashy Baylor Bears. No. 7 Baylor defeated Texas for the fourth time in five years thanks to some stout defense and a few special-teams surprises, pulling away in a tight game that was 7-0 at halftime. Here's how the 28-7 final went down:
How the game was won: Special teams. Baylor blocked a 52-yard field goal attempt and returned it 62 yards for the first score of the day. Spencer Roth’s 19-yard fake punt set up the Bears’ second TD. On a day in which these teams were surprisingly even otherwise, the Bears dominated that phase of the game.
Gameball goes to: Baylor RB Shock Linwood. The pass game wasn’t clicking on Saturday, so the Bears attacked the middle hard in the run game, and that finally paid off in the fourth quarter. He rushed for 42 of his 148 yards on the game-sealing drive to go ahead 21-0, including the 1-yard touchdown.
What it means: The Bears survived their first major challenge of the season with a 21-point win on the road. So Art Briles can’t be that upset. The Longhorn defense was surprisingly stout, but its struggling offense fumbled away its best first-half scoring drive at the 1-yard line and didn't get on the scoreboard until there was 2:14 left in the ballgame. They moved the ball on Baylor but made far too many little mistakes.
Playoff implication: Baylor hadn’t faced a Top 25 defense this season, and at times it showed. Bryce Petty had one of the worst starts of his career, completing four passes and leading Baylor to just 129 yards in the first half. They can’t play like this again against TCU, Oklahoma and foes that are better equipped to capitalize than Texas was.
Best play: Opportunistic football at its finest. Baylor made Texas pay for its poor decision to try a 52-yard field goal by easily batting down Nick Rose's attempt. Terrell Burt scooped it up on the bounce and dashed 62 yards to give the Bears a critical 7-0 lead in a game with no offensive scores until midway through the third.
What's next: Is Baylor going to be on upset alert next week? The Horned Frogs proved against Oklahoma they're not going to be an easy out for anybody. They'll hit the details hard this week. So will Texas, which at 2-3 has to go to Dallas to face Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl next weekend. The Longhorns will likely be double-digit underdogs once again.