WACO, Texas (KXAN) — The Baylor Bears are one of the surprise teams of the college football season, starting the season with six wins in seven games.
Second-year head coach Dave Aranda has quickly turned Baylor into a Big 12 championship contender behind a punishing ground attack and a solid defense in the image of its head coach.
The Bears were predicted in the preseason to finish eighth in the Big 12 standings. Right now, Baylor (6-1, 3-1) is tied for second with Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
The Texas Longhorns are just trying to stay afloat in the conference championship race. Texas (4-3, 2-2) can’t afford another Big 12 loss after back-to-back setbacks against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Texas is fifth in the current Big 12 standings.
McLane Stadium in Waco will be the site for another 11 a.m. kickoff for the Longhorns. Texas has played in five straight morning games. The Longhorns are 3-3 in their last six games at McLane.
Key players to know for Baylor
Baylor’s playing complementary football with one of the most experienced defenses in the country. Linebacker Terrel Bernard returned this year after a 2020 season-ending injury. Bernard, along with linebackers Dillon Doyle and Matt Jones, are the heart and soul of Baylor’s defense.
In Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings for ESPN, the Bears defense is rated No. 16 in the country for efficiency.
As for the offense, first-year starter Gerry Bohanon has been a model of consistency, throwing 12 touchdowns and only one interception. Bohanon has been kept clean by a solid offensive line that has really gelled into one of the better units in the conference.
Baylor uses its ground game to open up the pass for Bohanon. The one-two punch of Abram Smith and Tristan Ebner have combined for 1281 rushing yards through seven games. Smith and Ebner both average over six yards per carry. Smith is the touchdown-scorer, crossing the goal line 10 times this season.
Texas’ Bijan Robinson has rushed for 924 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
Baylor’s 2021 results
- at Texas State | Win 29-20
- vs. Texas Southern | Win 66-7
- at Kansas | Win 45-7
- vs. Iowa State | Win 31-29
- at Oklahoma State | Loss 24-14
- vs. West Virginia | Win 45-20
- vs. BYU | Win 38-24
Texas-Baylor series history
Texas is 6-4 in its last 10 meetings with Baylor. Historically, the Longhorns are 79-27-4 against Baylor. Texas has won five of its last six games against the Bears.