Austin, Texas – In maybe his last home game as a Texas Longhorn, Bijan Robinson dominated the fourth quarter with 115 of his 179 yards rushing, drawing chants from the Texas crowd of “Bijan! Bijan! Bijan!” in the dying minutes of a 38-27 victory over Baylor on Friday.
After the Texas offense flopped like a fish on a boat deck for much of the afternoon, including a sack quarterback Quinn Ewers that resulted in a 16-yard scoop-and-score by Baylor giving the Bears a 27–24 lead with 1:30 p.m. left to play, Texas ran the ball 25 straight runs, 17 of which went to Robinson, including one 1-yard touchdown run with 8:25 left that put Texas on their feet for good, 31-27.
Robinson, a junior likely to report for the NFL Draft after this season, finished the game with 29 carries for 179 yards (6.2 ypc) and two touchdowns, giving him 54 carries for 422 yards and six touchdowns in the final two games if you factor in Robinson’s 25 carries for 243 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 55-14 win at Kansas.
“I just realized we have to let the ball run to them to win this game and we had to keep going downhill with them because if they get tired and come out of their holes then we’re going to do everything right for the offense,” said Robinson, who passed Jamaal Charles (3,328 yards) to No. 4 on UT’s all-time rushing list with 3,410 yards, behind only Ricky Williams (6,279), Cedric Benson (5,540) and Earl Campbell (4,443). Williams, Benson and Campbell all played four years.
Now Robinson and the Longhorns must wait and see if Kansas can beat Kansas State on Saturday night, which would send Texas to the Big 12 title game on December 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Robinson was asked for a timeline on his decision to turn pro, and he said, “Hopefully Kansas wins (against Kansas State) tomorrow. I’m trying to get the chance to play for a Big 12 championship.”
After a comedy of foul errors, including an intentional grounder call to Ewers in the end zone in the first quarter, resulting in both a safety and the strip sack and Baylor scoop-and-score, Texas went 26 plays in the fourth quarter with 25 of them runs: 17 carry through Robinson for 115 yards and seven carry through Rochen Johnson for 33 yards and a spectacular 11-yard TD run in which Johnson interfered with a Baylor defender at the 3 before getting into the end zone for UT’s final score of the game.
Johnson was a playing time decision with an injury he suffered last week in Kansas, finishing with 13 carries for 77 yards (5.9) and two touchdowns.
After playing it 25 straight to end the game, Steve Sarkisian was asked if he no longer felt comfortable throwing the football with Ewers, who passed 12-of-16 for 194 yards, but five time was fired.
“No, it was more about what we did right,” Sarkisian said. “You know, I’m mad at myself for that one clumsy sack we got. You know, it’s like there were things I thought we could do on the pitch. But we just didn’t protect great today. So, just as good as we were in one aspect of the game, we weren’t great in the other. And then it was, ‘Okay, let’s go do what we have to do.’
“If you guys noticed there was very minimal movement going on. We literally lined up. For whatever reason we were a little nervous at the line of scrimmage today. We like to move and do different things to create advantageous looks , but it wasn’t an advantage for us today. We jumped offside. We were just antsy. So it was like, okay, let’s line up in a formation that we’re comfortable with, and let’s go play plays that we literally put on the installed first day of training camp, and in the end we served them the best tonight.
Robinson said of Sarkisian, “I just appreciate Coach Sark because he trusts (the run) and doesn’t go away from it and understands that what works is going to work, and when you leave for something then some things get ruined. So I appreciate him just because he stuck with it and gave us a chance to loosen up.”
The Texas defense suffered a number of failed covering runs in the first half of the game, including a 47-yard touchdown pass that gave Baylor a 9–0 lead in the first quarter. But the Texas defense put an end to Baylor’s offense in the second half. Longhorns’ star junior linebacker Jaylan Ford grabbed his team-leading fourth interception of the season and returned it 18 yards to the Baylor 42 with 6:28 remaining. That just gave Robinson and Johnson more of a chance to put the game away. The Texas offense was able to turn that interception into Johnson’s 11-yard touchdown run that put Texas 38–27 with 3:48 left.
Texas held Baylor to 56 yards in the second half, led by DeMarvion exaggeratedwho had 14 tackles, two tackles for loss and two pass breakups Jaylan Fordwho had 13 tackles, two tackles for loss, one pass breakup, and one quarterback rush in addition to his huge interception (fourth of the season).
Texas had three sacks from Overshown, Jahdae Barron and Alfred Collins.