Odds are we may not see too many seasons in which Texas beats two top 15 teams away from home in the same season and does not go to a bowl game. Folks, you may have just witnessed history.
Texas (5-7, 4-5) ended a losing season without a bowl game with a rather important victory in Waco by upsetting No. 12 Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) with a 23-17 victory that nearly got away from them in the second half. Texas built a 20-0 lead at halftime but Baylor managed to make a run at the Longhorns despite having their third-string quarterback knocked out of the game and having to run the offense with a wide receiver.
Baylor lost third-string quarterback Chris Johnson during the game, with Johnson having to leave the game due to concussion symptoms. That left Baylor without a passing option, which is a rare occurrence for Art Briles. Junior wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne took over in the emergency situation, and Baylor nearly escaped with the win. Hawthorne completed 10 of 22 pass attempts for 64 yards and was picked off twice.
Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown and he added 52 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground to help Texas score the upset. Star Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman, who was recognized on the field before the game along with Baylor’s seniors, caught seven passes for 49 yards.
Texas now enters the pool of 5-7 teams that will hope to get an invite to the postseason fun. That invitation is not likely at all to reach Austin though with a number of teams already sitting in front in the waiting line based on APR scores. So the focus for Charlie Strong will now shift to 2016, and it should be a critical one for Strong. He will do so with a bit of a signature win, or at least one to build momentum moving forward.
Over the more recent years Texas has seen everyone catch up or pass them among power conference threats, including Baylor. To be able to end a season with a win against Baylor, even if it was largely because Baylor was playing with a wide receiver under center, should be used as fuel for the offseason for Strong and the Longhorns. Texas is the program that must catch the competition right now, but at least they can sell the idea they can compete on the same field and start to try winning back momentum in the state. Maybe this was a fluke, but Texas should not treat it as such.
With the loss, Baylor’s chances of playing int he New Years Six lineup have been shredded. With Baylor out, and Oklahoma very likely to be selected to play in the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 will be expected to be represented in the Sugar Bowl by Oklahoma State. Baylor’s bowl destination will fall outside the New Years Six with the Alamo Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl possibilities.