AUSTIN (AP) – Once again, the Baylor offense scored 50 points on an opponent. Once again, it wasn’t enough to win.
Joe Bergeron ran for five touchdowns and Texas outlasted Baylor 56-50 Saturday night in another wild one in the Big 12, smashing Baylor’s hopes of earning a third straight win over the Longhorns for the first time in a rivalry that dates to 1901.
In its two Big 12 road games this season, Baylor (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) has scored 113 points and lost both by a total of 13.
“It’s not the defense’s fault,” said Bears quarterback Nick Florence, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more. “We have the mentality that `I have your back and you have mine.”‘
Texas led 42-31 at halftime and the game was on pace to beat the Big 12 record total of 133 points set when Baylor lost 70-63 to West Virginia on Sept. 29.
“It’s really hard coming in, expecting to win like this, a game we needed to win and having the game turn out like it did really hurts,” Bears linebacker Bryce Hager said.
Bergeron fell one touchdown short of the Texas school record held by Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams. David Ash passed for 274 yards and a touchdown for the Longhorns (5-2, 2-2), who overcame another dismal effort by their own defense.
The teams combined for 1,132 yards, 56 first downs and 14 touchdowns, and the Longhorns gave up more than 600 yards for the second consecutive week. But Baylor settled for field goals instead of pushing for touchdowns on three scoring drives in the second and third quarters, which made a huge difference in the end.
The game wasn’t settled until Texas recovered a pooch kickoff with 1:57 left after Florence scored his second touchdown to get Baylor within six. Bergeron converted a critical third-and-1 that helped Texas run out the clock.
“Baylor is really, really good, as advertised, on offense,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “It got to be who had the ball last.”
The game was played at a blistering pace in the first half as both teams marched at will against defenses desperate just to make tackles.
Texas freshman running back Daje Johnson scored on an 84-yard run on the first play from scrimmage that set the tone for the night. Like everything else the offenses did, he made it look simple by bouncing a run outside and gliding untouched to the end zone.
Bergeron scored on runs of 15, 2, 9 and 4 yards in the first half and Texas scored 28 points in the second quarter. Florence passed for two scores and ran for another before Texas took a 42-31 lead into halftime.
Florence connected with Terrance Williams for an 80-yard touchdown pass and his 7-yard toss to Lanear Sampson gave Baylor a 28-21 lead. But Florence floated a pass that was intercepted by Texas’ Josh Turner in the second quarter. The turnover set up a 25-yard touchdown run by Longhorns freshman Johnathan Gray.
“He had the one bad pass,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “Besides that, he was flawless.”
On the opening drive of the third, Baylor marched inside the Texas 10. Florence tried to run and fumbled, but the ball rolled into the end zone for Baylor tight end Jordan Najvar to recover for a touchdown.
Baylor forced a punt on Texas’ first possession of the third, but had to settle for a field goal by Aaron Jones that cut the Texas lead to 42-40. Texas struck quickly with Ash throwing 67 yards to Mike Davis to set up Bergeron’s fifth touchdown, this time from 8 yards out.
The Texas defense forced another Baylor turnover at the end of the third when Glasco Martin fumbled at midfield. Texas capped the short drive with Ash’s 15-yard scoring strike to Davis and Texas led 56-43 with 12 minutes to play.
“We’ll get down to the end of the game and make a crucial mistake or something like that and we just don’t finish. We’re working on that,” Martin said.