Coming into this game, TCU QB Chandler Morris was 10/15 for 170 yards and 1 TD in seven games split between TCU and Oklahoma in his entire career. He more than tripled that total today alone, going 29/40 for 461 yards passing, added another 11 carries for 70 yards rushing, and with 2 TDs passing and another rushing, he dominated the #12 Bears in his first-career start and led TCU to its biggest win of the season. Morris made play after play against Baylor’s defense in becoming the first-ever TCU freshman QB to throw for 400 yards to the point that every time TCU did not put the ball in Morris’s hands, it was a win for Baylor; he was that good.
To call this game a potential “trap game” was the consummate understatement. All the warning signs were there—Baylor coming off a big win at home against Texas and going on the road, TCU firing its coach going into a big rivalry game and leaving coordinators coaching for their future jobs, and a talented backup getting a chance against a team that had little, if any, film on him. TCU had nothing to lose, while Baylor had a lot with the OU game coming up and a potential Big 12 Championship game berth in its sights. But that doesn’t explain the defense giving up third down after third down (TCU was 7/14) no matter what the yardage to gain was or the offense failing to gain the same (Baylor was 5/11) against a defense that had been vulnerable coming in. It also doesn’t explain all the penalties, and there were a ton for both teams, on both sides of the ball. Baylor just got outplayed—embarrassed—once again by a rival that has won 6 of the last 7 games between them. TCU outgained Baylor by 170 yards.
The game started out well enough from Baylor’s perspective with the Bears taking a 7-0 lead after the two teams’ opening series. But that was as good as it got for the Baylor offense through most of the first half, and while TCU racked up yards with Baylor just holding on, Baylor never looked like it found itself on either side, but especially the defense. We’ve talked about explosive plays being a concern week after week, but this was the game where that showed up as a fatal flaw. Baylor just could not stop TCU on third downs or get them off the field, leading to a situation where the Bears ultimately fell behind 30-21, scored, got the ball back after a missed field goal, and then couldn’t make it happen. Gerry Bohanon’s second interception of the day killed the comeback with a little over a minute to go.
The Bears are now 7-2 (4-2) on the season after the loss to TCU and will tumble in the rankings tomorrow with OU coming to town this week. TCU is rushing the field as I type this, and good for them—they deserve it.