Longhorns rout Baylor, 49-10
WACO, Texas -- Chris Simms has turned into a scoring machine for the fifth-ranked Longhorns.
The junior QB threw two touchdowns passes and ran for another score Saturday in UT's 49-10 victory over Baylor, keeping alive his post-Oklahoma streak and edging him closer to Major Applewhite in the Texas record book.
Simms connected on scoring passes of 36 and 31 yards to Roy Williams and Sloan Thomas in the first half. Simms also scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, giving him six touchdowns on the season, one behind tailback Cedric Benson for the team lead.
Since throwing four interceptions in a 14-3 loss to Oklahoma a month ago, Simms has accounted for 17 of Texas' last 23 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Simms is one touchdown pass shy of Applewhite's school record of 21 set in 1999 when Applewhite was the Big 12 offensive player of the year.
Benson had 108 yards rushing and second-half scoring runs of 3 and 6 yards for Texas (8-1, 5-1 Big 12), which extended Baylor's conference losing streak to 27 games. It marked the fourth straight game Benson topped the century mark, tying him with Earl Campbell for most 100-yard rushing games by a Longhorns freshman.
The Bears (2-6, 0-6) haven't won a Big 12 game since beating Kansas in October 1998 and are just 3-43 in conference play since the league started in 1996.
Simms was 15-of-29 for 271 yards with one interception against one of the few teams that have tried to defend Williams and Texas' receivers with man-to-man coverage.
"I didn't think anybody would give us a defense like they did today. Most of the time its a slow death and it was refreshing to play man-to-man," Simms said.
Nathan Vasher, who set a school record for punt return yardage earlier in the season against North Carolina, shattered his own mark with 173 yards on seven returns against Baylor. With Vasher providing good field position, none of the Horns' seven scoring drives took more than eight plays. All were under three minutes long.
"We had a short field and took advantage of it. That really kills a team and demoralizes it," Simms said.
The crowd of 40,451 was decidedly pro-Texas as Longhorns fans made the 90-mile drive north to Floyd Casey Stadium. Bears fans tore down the goal posts after Baylor's win over Texas in 1997 but there was little chance of that happening again Saturday.
Williams, who had 147 yards on six catches for his fourth career 100-yard receiving game, gave Texas a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Simms led him perfectly with a deep ball to the back of the end zone. Williams bobbled the ball but snared it with both hands just before stepping out of bounds.
"I didn't even see the ball. I just stuck my hands out and caught it," Williams said. "I was right in the sun."
Thomas provided another acrobatic catch in the second when he dove to snare Simms' pass and managed to drag both feet in bounds for the TD that put the Longhorns ahead 21-7.
Zachry passed for 173 yards and ran 9 yards for a second-quarter touchdown that made it 14-7. But he also threw an interception to Vasher deep in Baylor territory that set up Texas' last score of the half.
The Longhorns struck quickly after the pickoff. Simms hit B.J. Johnson for a 21-yard gain to the Baylor 2 and Brett Robin scored on the next play to make it 28-7.
While the Texas offense was busy scoring more than 40 points for the sixth time this season, the Longhorns defense allowed Baylor to total just 195 total yards, including eight rushing yards on 36 attempts.
Texas has outscored Baylor 159-24 in the last three meetings.