JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Bryce Petty and No. 7 Baylor’s top-rated offense were misfiring and the quick-strike touchdowns were nowhere to be found against Texas.
So Baylor turned to some new wrinkles — defense, special teams and a punishing running game — to roll to a 28-7 victory Saturday that planted the defending Big 12 champions firmly back at the top of the conference at the start of what should be a rugged month.
Terrell Burt returned a blocked field goal 62 yards for a score in the first quarter, and Shock Linwood ran for 148 yards and the clinching touchdown in the fourth. Petty shook off a dismal passing day with two second-half touchdown passes for the Bears (5-0, 2-0).
“It was just a grind out win. I think we’re a better team than last year,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “This is a mature, tough minded, confident team that knows how to win.”
Texas held Baylor to 390 total yards, but only narrowly avoided its first shutout at home since 1976. Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had three turnovers, including a fumble at the Baylor 1 just before halftime that prevented a tying touchdown.
Baylor was derided for soft early season schedule, but the defending Big 12 champions are 20-2 since knocking off then-No. 2 Kansas State in 2012 and rank as the league heavyweight. The Bears also have completely flipped a rivalry the Longhorns have mostly dominated the last 100 years, winning four of the last five.
But Saturday’s win won’t answer all the questions about Baylor nationally. The Bears struggled to move the ball against a solid Texas defense for much of the game. And Petty, who some counted among the top Heisman candidates when the season started, was 7-of-22 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
“I saw more looks today than I could swing a bat at, if that makes sense,” Petty said. “My head is still spinning. I can’t even get my analogies right.”
For Texas, a close game getting turned into a blowout could be a demoralizer.
The Longhorns were on the verge of tying it up late in the first half after Swoopes deftly drove Texas 98 yards to the 1. But a fumbled snap and Baylor’s recovery snuffed a potentially huge momentum swing and the Longhorns never recovered.
Texas coach Charlie’s Strong’s first season has been far more notable for his discipline — nine players dismissed and several others suspended — than the product on the field.
The Longhorns are off to their worst start after give games since 1993 and have now lost nine in a row at home to ranked opponents. Texas has been outscored 69-14 in two home games this season.
“We don’t know how to win yet,” Strong said. “We can move the football … We just caused our own destruction.”
Texas throttled Baylor’s flashy offense in the first half and chewed up minutes and yards but produced no points. Petty was out of sync on 4-of-11 passing in the half with only one throw deep down the field.
The Bears’ only points in the half came on special teams when Beau Blackshear blocked Texas’ 52-yard field-goal attempt and Burt scooped it up to score.
The Bears drove to the Texas 1 in the second quarter, but a touchdown run by Petty was overruled on replay. The Longhorns twice stuffed Baylor on short runs up the middle and took over on downs.
Swoopes then engineered a masterful 14-play drive before his fumble at the goal line. It was the second time in two weeks Swoopes had turnovers inside the 3.
Baylor was still struggling in the third when the Bears’ special teams made another big play.
Punter Spencer Roth called his own fake and his long run and set up Baylor’s second touchdown three plays later. Petty dropped a perfect strike to Antwan Goodley past defender Mykele Thompson for a 29-yard score.
Roth said he had never practiced the fake.
“It was spontaneous. I had no idea where the marker was. I was trying to get as many yards as I could,” Roth said.
Briles chuckled about the play.
“It changed everything,” Briles said. “I’d like to take credit, but it’s like my father used to always tell me – give credit where credit is due unless it is you.”
Linwood took over from there, rushing for 100 yards in the second half, most of it coming straight up the middle as Texas’ defense tired. His touchdown made it 21-0 before Petty connected with Corey Coleman with a long pass into the end zone on 4th down.
Texas avoided the shutout when Johnathan Gray ran 2 yards with 2:14 to play.