Third-down defensive woes sink Texas’ chances for Big 12 title

Posted Saturday, Dec. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Once Oklahoma pulled off the upset over Oklahoma State in Stillwater, the Big 12 title came down to one game, a de facto championship game in Waco.

With Texas and Baylor tied 3-3 at halftime, all the Longhorns had to do to win their first conference championship since 2009 was win the next 30 minutes. That’s when it fell apart.

After the Bears went 1 for 8 on third down in the first half, they went on a third-down tear on their opening possession of the second half. First, Glasco Martin ran for 4 yards on third-and-4.

Then, Bryce Petty hit Antwan Goodley for 21 yards on third-and-11 and hit him again for 16 yards on third-and-11 five plays later. Petty capped the drive with an 11-yard scoring strike to Goodley on third-and-9 for the first touchdown of the game.

“They were reading our mail,” Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said after the Bears’ 30-10 victory to win the Big 12 title in the last game at Floyd Casey Stadium.

“It’s hard to have a complete package for everything they do. They kind of honed in. They’re good. They’re a good offense and they pecked at us. The more they were able to keep swinging, all of a sudden gains started to get bigger.”

The next time Baylor faced third down also resulted in a touchdown, a 6-yard strike from Petty to Levi Norwood. Texas, on the other hand, was only 2 for 17 on third down.

“It’s disappointing tonight when the Oklahoma game fell like we needed it to, and we’re sitting there in a great position to win the Big 12 championship,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “I told them this morning I was really proud of them to do that, but it doesn’t matter unless we won. We got here. And then we didn’t finish.”

After losing two of its first three games, Texas tried to save its season with a conference title. The Longhorns had a chance to win the Big 12 outright by beating Baylor and didn’t deliver.

“For the seniors, it was a failure,” said senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who made 11 tackles and had two sacks. “We didn’t do what we were supposed to do....You come to Texas to win the Big 12 championship and we didn’t accomplish that as a senior class.”

Malcolm Brown rumbled for 118 yards on 17 first-half carries but was stymied in the second half, with just 13 yards on eight carries after halftime. He caught the only Texas touchdown of the game, a wild 2-yard score with 12:48 remaining.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from the Baylor 2-yard line, Case McCoy dropped back, dodged several Baylor defenders and threw into the end zone and the arms of a wide-open Brown.

That was one of the few bright spots for McCoy, who completed only 12 of 34 passes for 54 yards while being picked off twice. He turned in a much different performance than his three-touchdown, interception-free outing in last week’s win over Texas Tech.

“They had more firepower than we did in the second half,” junior defensive end Cedric Reed said. “In the second half, we let the game get out of hand, throwing a couple interceptions, giving up big runs and big plays. It just kind of caught up to us in the end. They ran away with it.”

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