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Thrice is Nice: Baylor Beats TCU 29-23 in Three Overtimes

They won!

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Great defense, timely offense and making your own luck. That formula brought Baylor to 8-0, and despite not scoring a touchdown in regulation, it brought Baylor to 9-0. The undefeated Bears will take on Oklahoma at 6:30 on Saturday in Waco. That game will likely be College GameDay.

Baylor trailed 9-6 with 2:00 left. After a long drive, the Bears had back-to-back false starts. Charlie Brewer missed a wide open Josh Fleeks on 3rd and 20 to win the game. Matt Rhule sent John Mayers out there for a 51 yard field goal. The man made it.

Entering overtime, Baylor had been anemic moving the ball all day. They moved it to the TCU 10, but RJ Sneed picked up a penalty moving Baylor back to the 25. On 3rd down, he picked up a first on a slant, then Brewer gave Baylor their first touchdown:

Baylor forced TCU into 4th and 9 on the next possession. Max Duggan threw it up and Te’Vailance Hunt was called out of bounds. But on review, he got a hand down sending the game to a second overtime. TCU scored again quickly.

Baylor took over and faced 4th and 6. It seemed over. But Denzel Mims and Charlie Brewer just needed one more shot:

A few plays later, Brewer found Mims again. Baylor had to attempt a two point conversion—it was the third overtime—and Mims couldn’t quite bring in the pass. TCU took over and Duggan ran the ball in for a touchdown.

Replay and life have a way of evening out though. After review, Duggan stepped out at the three. The Horned Frogs couldn’t quite move the ball after that. On 3rd down, Baylor got another stop, and Matt Rhule accepted a holding penalty. James Lynch tripped up Duggan on 3rd down, and then on 4th down, brought key pressure. Duggan’s pass missed his target, and Grayland Arnold nabbed his second interception.

This was an all-time classic in a series that features the best game in each school’s history (2014 is better than whatever happened in the 1930’s). Neither offense scored in regulation. Each scored nine points in one half and was shut out in the other. Neither topped 300 yards in regulation. Baylor missed a 32 yard field goal, but they made a 51 yard kick with time expiring.

Baylor’s offense wasn’t good enough in regulation. It was spectacular in overtime. The offensive line couldn’t block much, and they had horrendous false starts. But Terrel Bernard has stepped up for Clay Johnston—the Bear had an interception and led the team in tackles. The three man defensive line got pressure, and the secondary held up all game. Blake Lynch had a big sack to keep Baylor in the game.

There are plenty of reasons Baylor should have lost this game. But Baylor has played nine times and won every game. They’ll face their biggest task of the season against Oklahoma. The Bears will likely be underdogs. But the Bears had never won in Ames, Stillwater, Manhattan or Fort Worth under Rhule. They’ve now done all those things.

Saturday won’t be easy. Neither will the following game against Texas, despite the Longhorns being the fourth or fifth best team in the state. Baylor’s shown they can win every way; they just need to keep doing that.