AUSTIN, Texas - The hype surrounding the Texas football program is bigger than it has been in years thanks to a dramatic win over rival Oklahoma last week and steady improvement under head coach Tom Herman. The 14th-ranked Longhorns will try to avoid a letdown and stay on pace for a Big 12 title when they host Baylor on Saturday.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Texas -14
Herman is trying to rebuild Texas into a national championship contender and has the team on a five-game winning streak following a season-opening loss to Maryland, and the 48-45 triumph over Oklahoma last week is just another step. "I said to them (at Maryland) this game will not define us -- how we respond to it will," Herman told reporters. "I told them that about this Oklahoma game. That game won't define us. How we respond to it will. This is not the ultimate goal." The Bears are trying to rebuild themselves into a contender as well and responded to a loss at the Sooners by holding off Kansas State 37-34 last week - providing a little momentum going into a two-game stretch at Texas and No. 6 West Virginia. "Texas is a really good team," Baylor coach Matt Rhule told reporters. "Our guys have to come out and play very confident. Texas is playing well. They have three top 25 wins. They are a team that is clicking on all cylinders. For us, we have to completely focus on ourselves. We will make sure our guys are ready and confident."
ABOUT BAYLOR (4-2, 2-1 Big 12)
The Bears were ripped 66-33 at Oklahoma in Week 5, and bouncing back with the win over Kansas State the following week marked a step in the right direction for the program. "Winning games in the fourth quarter comes down to maturity, comes down to confidence, it comes down to trust," Rhule told reporters. "Trusting in yourself, trusting in the guys around you. And I just didn't sense any panic. I sensed a team that was just determined to find a way to win the game and kept coming back and kept battling." The star of the win was senior wide receiver Jalen Hurd, who totaled 11 catches for 135 yards and a score and added 56 rushing yards and a score on the ground - his second consecutive game with a rushing TD.
ABOUT TEXAS (5-1, 3-0)
The Longhorns' ascent has coincided with the rise of quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who put his name in the Heisman Trophy conversation with his five touchdowns - three rushing - in the win over Oklahoma. "I think that every week, regardless of the outcome or the stat line or the score, we feel as an offense we're continuing to get better within our assignments and within what we're trying to do," Ehlinger told reporters. "I think it's all a credit to our coaches and the hard work that our guys are putting in and understanding that just because you beat a team and scored 48 points doesn't mean that you've arrived or that you've played a perfect game." Ehlinger is getting plenty of help from wide receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey, who threw his first career TD pass in addition to hauling in nine catches for a career-high 133 yards last week.
1. Ehlinger is enjoying a school-record streak of 163 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.
2. Baylor is averaging 499.5 yards of total offense - 12th in the FBS.
3. The Longhorns earned a 38-7 win at the Bears last season in the first Big 12 meeting between Herman and Rhule.
PREDICTION: Texas 35, Baylor 28
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