September 3, 2011

Baylor shocks No. 14 TCU with six touchdown passes in 50-48 thriller

Aaron Jones' field goal with 1:04 left trumps the Horned Frogs' furious 25-point comeback.

WACO -- Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III talked about the Bears being too hyped up before meeting TCU in Fort Worth last season. This year, Griffin said, the Bears remained calm with an "assured confidence" before Friday's season opener against the No. 14 Horned Frogs.

After a heart-stopping 50-48 win in front of 43,753 at Floyd Casey Stadium and a national ESPN audience, the hype may return to Baylor football.

Griffin picked apart a TCU defense that has topped the nation the last three seasons, as Baylor racked up 564 total yards and burned the Horned Frogs' secondary for six touchdown passes. That's the most against TCU since Houston's David Klingler had seven against the Frogs in 1990.

"You can't let six balls go over your head and expect to win a ballgame," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "That hasn't been TCU football. You have to give Baylor a lot of credit. They did what they needed to do."

But TCU quarterback Casey Pachall showed some heroics of his own, passing for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter after Baylor had built a 47-23 lead through three quarters. Pachall threw four touchdown passes total in his starting debut to lead the TCU comeback. Ross Evans' 27-yard field goal with 4:27 left in the game gave TCU a 48-47 lead.

But Griffin led the Bears on an 11-play, 60-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal by Crowley's Aaron Jones, who connected from 37 yards with 1:04 left. TCU moved the ball to the Baylor 40-yard line before Mike Hicks intercepted Pachall's pass over the middle with two seconds remaining.

It's the first regular-season loss for TCU since Nov. 6, 2008, at Utah and first loss in a season opener since 2002. But more importantly, Griffin exposed a devastating weakness to the TCU defense.

Griffin struck Horned Frogs defensive backs for five touchdown passes, including huge scoring plays of 64 and 46 yards in the third quarter that gave the Bears a seemingly commanding 47-23 lead. Griffin threw for 359 yards on 21 of 27 passing.

The scoring barrage began quickly for Baylor. Receiver Kendall Wright took a lateral pass from Griffin and hit Terrance Williams for a 40-yard touchdown pass on the Bears' sixth play from scrimmage.

TCU came right back after Greg McCoy returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to set up a 9-yard scoring run from Pachall. Ross Evans' point-after attempt was blocked and Baylor maintained a 7-6 lead. The first half continued at a wild pace as the teams exchanged scores, and Baylor led 34-23 at the break.

The last time the TCU defense gave up more than 40 points was a 51-50 overtime win at BYU on Sept. 24, 2005.

TCU was outgained 564 to 466 yards and Evans missed two field goals of over 40 yards in the first half. It was Baylor's first victory over a ranked team since 2004.

"Like I told my team, it's one of the very few times when I felt like we won both sides of the ball and got beat," Patterson said.

"But we played so badly on defense, especially at the corner position, that we just couldn't overcome it."

Stefan Stevenson


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