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After the offense spotted TCU 3 turnovers in the first half, the defense came completely unglued in the second and Baylor never caught up. Two awful interceptions late from Nick Florence sealed the deal.
For reasons I've talked about at length before, tonight's game was an absolute must-win for Baylor. We compete with TCU for recruits, prestige, and everything else and had a chance tonight to jump back into the rankings. We needed to win this game against a team that is undermanned because of injuries and coming off a bad home loss to Iowa State. With a full bye week to get healthy and prepare for the Frogs, it was not at all unreasonable to expect both sides of the ball to be prepared to play well.
Instead, our offense fired blanks in the first half and gave the ball away three different times before giving way in terribleness to the defense in the second half. All they did was make a quarterback in his second-ever start look all-world. An offense missing about a half-dozen players, including its starting QB and two RBs gained over 500 yards. We turned the ball over 6 times.
I'm not being melodramatic when I say this was the most disappointing loss of the Briles Era without a doubt. Recruits saw us get blown out tonight in our own stadium. We had a ton of them in-house for the game. We're going to lose at least 2, maybe more, strictly because of this game. I'm serious.
At 3-2 overall and 0-2 in-conference, our team stands now at a crossroads this season. Tonight's game was one we should have won. I obviously predicted that we would. The reasons we didn't are legion, and blame lies on both sides of the ball. We'll talk about it at length as we always do. I will say now that I think the time has come to take a serious look at what we're doing on defense because it is not working at all. I'm not saying we should fire Phil Bennett at the end of the season but I'm almost saying it. If things don't get better quickly, and we have no reason to believe that they will, I will say it. Bend-but-don't-break only makes sense if you don't break anyway. All you're doing then is delaying the inevitable. That's how the game went tonight because no matter what we did, TCU was absolutely unstoppable tonight on third down. Not just good to the point where you blame it on luck or a team getting into a groove-- they were unstoppable because we let them be. Time and again we did well enough on first and second to put them into a difficult position ... and they got it. We tried over and over again to blitz our way to the quarterback without success. There's no indication that we even considered doing anything different. You can blame our offense reasonably for six (6!!!!) turnovers, but it wouldn't have mattered. We didn't get a single stop in the second half until they were up 4 TDs. No amount of offense would have made up the gap.
I don't want to take anything away from what TCU did in this game. They whipped our asses, especially in the second half. When I say that it's a game we should have won, I mean objectively, on paper, based on the way things have gone to this season. Obviously, that didn't bear out tonight. TCU was the better team on both sides of the ball and won convincingly. Congratulations to the Horned Frogs for that and best of luck the rest of the way.
We have a lot of soul-searching to do after this game on both sides. The time has come to decide now if we're playing for this season or the future. Do we keep the players in place that are obviously not getting it done or try something different that might fail just as spectacularly? What's the goal now? Could things possibly be worse than they were today?
Baylor and its fans have to decide now how we're going to approach the rest of the season. The expectations almost certainly change with this game down the tube. Say goodbye to the Top 25 because it's not happening this season. Same for any dreams of a Big XII Championship (if you even had any). This game changed everything.