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Baylor looking to halt Big 12 home skid vs. Houston


Baylor brings a five-game conference home losing streak into Saturday’s visit from new Big 12 Conference rival Houston, but the Bears appear primed to snap the skid.

Coach Dave Aranda said Baylor (3-5, 2-3) is on the cusp of a breakthrough behind improvement on defense.

“When you look at the tape,” Aranda said, “we’re so close on so many things. There was not a lot of confusion. There was hardly any in this last game. … And there was a togetherness with all that. It’s just when the play comes to us, we’ve got to make it.”

Baylor surrendered 400 total yards in last week’s 30-18 home loss to Iowa State, including 49 on a Cartevious Norton scoring run early in the third quarter that extended the Cyclones’ advantage to 24-6. Aranda pointed to missed assignments on the play.

Dawson Pendergrass rushed for two touchdowns for Baylor, while Blake Shapen was 24-for-41 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown to Monaray Baldwin, who finished with six catches for 117 yards.

Houston (3-5, 1-4) is coming off a 41-0 loss at Kansas State. Donovan Smith completed just 13 of 28 passes for 88 yards, more than 200 shy of the Cougars’ per-game passing average entering the matchup.

The Cougars have trailed by at least 21 points in the first half of their past two games.

Houston coach Dana Holgorsen stressed the importance of erasing the loss to Kansas State from the Cougars’ consciousness as the program aims to become bowl eligible.

Three of Houston’s final four opponents are currently below .500.

“Our goals are still out there,” Holgorsen said. “We’ve got games that I expect to go compete in. We didn’t compete very hard last week. I don’t think that’s who we are.”

Former rivals in the Southwest Conference, Baylor and Houston haven’t met since Oct. 14, 1995, when the Bears won 47-7 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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