AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Longhorns are playing for pride. That’s about all they have left.
Already guaranteed a second consecutive losing season under second-year coach Charlie Strong, the Longhorns (4-7, 3-5 Big 12) finish the regular season Saturday at No. 12 Baylor (9-2, 6-2).
"Let’s go beat Baylor," senior fullback Alex de la Torre said Monday. "It would be nice."
It would also be quite an upset, considering Texas is 0-4 in true road games this season, with each loss by 18 points or more. The Longhorns have also lost four of the last five to the Bears, who have become one of the Big 12 heavyweights and was fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoff just two weeks ago.
Strong now has to motivate a Texas team that will be without at least four injured starters, and at least two more who will be evaluated this week and could miss the game.
Among the injured is starting quarterback Jerrod Heard, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Texas Tech. Strong said even if Heard is cleared to play, Tyrone Swoopes will start against Baylor.
"I think our guys will go out and compete," Strong said. "They don’t want to get embarrassed."
That’s happened enough already. In its four road losses, Texas has been outscored 150-30. Each time the Longhorns returned home, the players faced the same questions about why they have been so bad away from Austin.
"I still don’t have an answer for you," junior safety Dylan Haines said. "We’ve got to change something."
Texas thought it had found the answers when the Longhorns upset Oklahoma 24-17 in Dallas. That game came just a week after Texas was beaten by TCU 50-7 and seemed to calm the questions about Strong’s future with the Longhorns.
Texas is just 2-3 since that game. The Sooners, meanwhile, have stormed their way to the Big 12 title and positioned themselves for a possible playoff spot.
Everyone expected Texas to "take off" after that game, Strong said.
"We never took off," he said.
Freshman running back Chris Warren predicted it will happen soon, however. Warren, a third-team tailback two weeks ago, set a Longhorns freshman record with 276 yards rushing and four touchdowns last week against Texas Tech.
He noted the gradual takeover of the program by its youngest players, the sophomores and freshmen who were recruited by Strong. Earlier this season, Heard broke Vince Young’s total offense school record with 527 yards against California.
"We are stepping up, putting new names in the (record) book," Warren said.
As a team, all Texas is guaranteed of is a losing record. Strong didn’t even want to talk about the possibility of being one of the 5-7 teams that could sneak into a bowl game because there are too few teams at 6-6 or better to qualify.