They tried to resist, but as the score got bigger and bigger, the TCU Horned Frogs couldn’t keep thoughts of 2014 from creeping into their heads.
They blew a big lead in Waco that year, leading to their only loss of the season.
But the flashbacks didn’t stand a chance Saturday against five touchdown runs by Kyle Hicks and an interception return for a touchdown by Ranthony Texada that highlighted an overpowering 62-22 victory for the Horned Frogs over No. 17 Baylor at McLane Stadium.
TCU (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) ended a two-game losing streak with its biggest victory of the season and its largest against Baylor in the 112-game series. It was the Frogs’ biggest victory against a ranked opponent since winning at No. 5 Utah 47-7 in 2010, and it was Baylor’s largest loss as a ranked team to an unranked opponent.
That will make you forget 2014.
“You don’t talk about things like that,” coach Gary Patterson said, telling reporters he stopped an assistant coach who started to bring up the 61-58 loss two years ago. “I said if I wanted it mentioned, I would have done it myself. You can think of history, history can help you learn something, then you forget history.
“It’s like being a corner, being a quarterback. You’ve got to throw the next throw, cover the next man. You can’t worry about things like that.”
But it’s not always easy.
As TCU went up 17-7 on the first of Hicks’ touchdowns, then 24-7 on his second, then 31-7 on Texada’s 28-yard interception return with less than five minutes gone in the second quarter, the memories began to surface.
Then, when Seth Russell scored to finish a 97-yard touchdown drive for Baylor just before halftime, they were in full bloom.
“It did a little bit, because they did have a comeback that game,” senior safety Denzel Johnson said when asked if 2014 crossed his mind. “I was just trying to tell the guys keep their focus, keep getting stops, and that the offense is going to keep rolling. We just did our job.”
Kenny Hill led a two-minute drive for a touchdown that put the Frogs back in control before halftime with a 38-14 lead, the score coming on a direct snap to Hicks from 3 yards out for his third touchdown. Suddenly, 2014 seemed like a long time ago.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it,” said Texada, a freshman starter in the 2014 secondary. “We’ve moved on since that game. We just knew we had to keep getting stops. That’s what we did.”
Hicks scored again to open the third quarter, and again in the fourth quarter en route to career highs in carries (26), yards (192) and touchdowns. The Frogs ran for a season-high 431 yards, their seventh-most ever and their most under Patterson as head coach. Hill ran for 85 yards.
Led by a turnover-free game from Hill, TCU finished with 688 yards against the Big 12’s top-ranked defense. The 62 points is the most Baylor has given up in three years at McLane Stadium. In fact, TCU now owns the top two opponent point totals at the riverfront facility.
“You’re going to ask me, ‘What’s the difference?’ ” Patterson said. “I don’t think there’s any difference except we just played. ... We’ve been so close. We could easily be 7-2.”
On defense, TCU collected three sacks against Russell and allowed 4.7 yards per play. Baylor ranked fifth in the nation in rushing at 299.3 yards per game and was held to 133.
“Unbelievable to play that way against a team like Baylor that can put up points quick,” Hill said of the defense. “They did an unbelievable job.”
Is this what things were supposed to look like when TCU opened as the No. 13 team in the nation?
“Yes, sir,” Hicks and Hill said together.
So what’s next?
“We’d like to come out and do this every Saturday,” Hicks said. “And we know we’re capable of doing that.”
That’s the memory left from this game.