Is there any better way that the college football season could have started off than it did tonight?
In a back-and-forth, high-wire game, the unranked Baylor Bears defeated #14 ranked TCU 50-48. Exciting only begins to describe this game as Casey Pachall and Robert Griffin III combined for 610 passing yards and 9 touchdowns.
Right off the bat, Baylor initiated the game with a bang, having Kendall Wright throw the ball instead of catching it for the touchdown. However, TCU would answer quickly but then have their extra point blocked to put the score at 7-6. Having a second drive at their own 47-yard line, the Horned Frogs were easily able to capitalize on another touchdown midway through the first quarter to gain a 6-point lead. This wouldn’t last long since RG3 was clearly on a mission and put the Bears right back in the driver’s seat with an 80-yard touchdown drive. Griffin seemed more composed and confident on the field than I’ve ever seen him before. The experience he possesses that now goes right alongside his natural athleticism will be something Baylor needs to use to their advantage as the year progresses. Ross Evans would make a 44-yard field goal that would put the Horned Frogs up 16-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Griffin began the second quarter with his second 25+ yard touchdown to, who would’ve guessed, Kendall Wright. Following this connection, Pachall finished off a Skye Dawson 32-yard burst with a 23-yard pass of his own. At this point in the game, the Horned Frogs held the lead at 23-21; they wouldn’t see another lead until late in the fourth quarter. Astonishingly, by halfway through the second quarter, Kendall Wright had already piled up 159 receiving yards and was displaying exactly why he holds the all-time Baylor record for most receiving yards. Phil Bennett didn’t take long to make a solid first impression in Waco when his defense had a 4th-and-1 stop in the closing minutes of the first half. Even though the final score obviously doesn’t reflect much defense being played, I believe this stop, with the score being 34-23 and TCU being on the brink of cutting their deficit to single-digits, was the defining moment for these 1-0 Baylor Bears.
The Bears clawed their way through the third quarter, not giving the Frogs any sort of breather. RG3 unloaded with 64 and 42 yard touchdowns on back to back drives. With no touchdowns from Pachall since 12:32 in the second quarter and the lead swelling to 47-23, the Horned Frogs simply looked lost and unable to find their way back on their path to victory. It was becoming evident that TCU would not be viewed the same as they have been in their previous seasons, no matter how the game ended up. They gave up a total of 156 points last year and had already given up almost a third of this amount in only three quarters. Things were looking gloomy for these Fort Worth athletes.
As the final quarter began, my watching party was already deeming this game over with; some even mentioned that we should go ahead and change over to the U.S.A. – Costa Rica fútbol game since we knew what the outcome of this football game would be. But before you can say “Robert Griffin the third,” those fighting Frogs leapt right back into the game. Pachall caught fire, throwing a touchdown on 3 consecutive drives and also converting on 2 of 3 2-point conversions. A Ross Evans field goal put TCU in an inexplicable 48-47 lead. Seeing that his opponents had scored 25 straight points, Griffin looked completely dejected before he went onto the field for one last shot at victory. Fortunately for Robert, his play did not reflect this noticeable sideline expression. Fifty yards later and with enough palpable tension for the rest of the football weekend, Aaron Jones decided to score the final points of the game and put his team in a 50-48 lead. Pachall pushed the chains down to Baylor’s 40-yard line, needing only about 10 more yards for a decent field goal attempt and one more comeback. Baylor quickly erased any thoughts of this happening with a Mike Hicks interception and their first win against a ranked opponent since they defeated #16 Texas A&M on October 30, 2004. The storming of the field by the Bear fans was only fitting for this exhilarating match.
The fact that this TCU program has lost only 1 game total the past 2 seasons and won 25 straight regular season games brings me to believe that this will most likely be one of the biggest upsets we will see in college football all season long. In a game of 9 lead changes, only 2 turnovers, and 98 total points, you can’t ask for a better start to a college football weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how TCU bounces back from this heart-wrenching loss, and with four sub-par opponents coming up on the Bears schedule (Stephen F. Austin, Rice, Kansas State, Iowa State), I can envision two undefeated teams facing off on October 15 when Baylor takes a trip to college station.
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