Gil LeBreton

TCU puts a 62-point amen on Baylor’s dizzying week

If there was a message to be delivered Saturday, some parable about ill-chosen methods and misplaced intentions, it soon evaporated in a flood of TCU yards and touchdowns.

Clearly, those black uniforms the Baylor Bears chose to wear were heavier than they thought.

Especially above the necks, it seemed.

After the TCU Horned Frogs had throttled the Bears 62-22, Baylor coach Jim Grobe was asked if the distractions of the previous week had anything to do with the outcome.

“We had the Wall Street Journal article come out before we played Texas, and that was the question,” Grobe said.

“I think TCU played great. I hate to make excuses, but I really don’t know how to put my finger on that.”

For Baylor, indeed, it had to be a dizzying week – 60 Minutes on Tuesday, 62 points by the Frogs on this appropriately gray Saturday afternoon.

Bears players took to Twitter last week waving the “truth don’t lie” banner of their fired head coach, Art Briles. His former assistant coaches, led by his son Kendal, followed Friday with an oddly-timed statement about what Briles knew and when.

Grobe, for the record, said he had no problem with assistant coaches tweeting what was intended to be a defense of their former boss.

“I think our coaches wanted their perspective known,” he said. “And I’m not going to step in the way of that.”

The problem with the tweets, the vote to wear black uniforms – for whatever reason – and the university’s reaction to a grimace-inducing 60 Minutes report was the timing.

While the Bears were circling wagons, TCU coach Gary Patterson and his staff were scribbling Xs and Os.

For the second week in a row, Patterson’s defense did its best to stifle a powerful Big 12 spread offense.

Baylor came into the game ranked first in the conference in rushing, third in total offense and third in scoring. But after scoring on their second play from scrimmage, the Bears were forced to punt on eight of their next 10 possessions, with another of them ending in a Seth Russell-thrown pick-six.

“You’re going to ask me what’s the difference?” Patterson said after the game. “I don’t think there’s any difference except we just played.

“We didn’t hurt ourselves with penalties. We didn’t give up the deep ball, except one. We tackled the run.”

From the other sideline, Grobe offered an accurate counterpoint.

“It’s the flattest I’ve seen us offensively so far.”

A week after their own offense sputtered against Texas Tech, the Frogs responded with 34 first downs, 431 yards rushing and 688 total yards.

Quarterback Kenny Hill, sent to the bench a week ago in a futile effort to kick-start the offense, responded Saturday with 85 yards rushing and 244 passing.

More than that, Hill directed the Frogs on scoring drives of 54, 36, 88, 77, 85, 95, 66 and 72 yards.

Baylor, meanwhile, struggled to move the chains and kept having to start deep in its own end, thanks to TCU special teams play and Frogs punter Adam Nunez.

Patterson singled out the defensive efforts of cornerback Julius Lewis, linebacker Travin Howard and safety Denzel Johnson.

His defensive unit has made strides since the Kansas game in early October, Patterson said.

“We have been getting better,” he said. “They’ve been regaining their confidence.”

Part of that has been getting injured players back on the practice field. Receiver Emanuel Porter also missed time after the death of his father.

“Everybody wants to know what happens on Saturday,” Patterson said. “To be honest with you, it’s really what happens Monday through Friday. They’re just 18-to-22-year-old kids, and how do you help them manage it?

“Because usually if their life is good off the field and it’s smooth, then they play well on the field. If there are things that are going that aren’t, then it’s hard for them to manage all that.”

Patterson was talking about his young pass receiver. But he could just as well been providing the day’s missing lesson.

After a dizzying week, heavy seemed to hang the burden that the Baylor Bears carried with them.

TCU’s 62 points simply provided the amen.

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