No. 9 Baylor usually wins its games by completely overwhelming its opponents with an explosive offense that piles up yardage on the ground and in the air.
Against TCU on Saturday, however, the Bears relied on two huge defensive plays to upend the Horned Frogs, 41-38, in Fort Worth.
With the victory, Baylor improved to 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12. TCU dropped to 4-8 and 2-7.
Baylor was once again sluggish on offense, gaining just 370 total yards. Of course there was a reason for that — the Bears had two fewer possessions than they normally would have.
That was the result of two passes by TCU quarterback Casey Pachall that ultimately decided the game.
The first came with the Bears up 20-17 with just 31 seconds left in the second quarter. Orion Stewart intercepted a Pachall pass and returned it 82 yards for a score to make it 27-17 going into the half.
TCU got the ball back in the third quarter and Pachall’s third pass of the half was taken 54 yards to the house by linebacker Eddie Lackey.
Suddenly, a close game was blown open a bit and Baylor led, 34-17. The Bears needed both touchdowns, too, as they only scored one more touchdown — a 33-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Petty to Levi Norwood in the third stanza.
Pachall did his best to rally the Horned Frogs, first rushing for a four-yard touchdown before finding Jeff Doctson for a 16-yard score. His 22-yard touchdown pass to David Porter on the first play of the fourth quarter cut the lead to 41-38.
But Pachall’s last pass was intercepted by Terrell Burt at the Baylor goal line with 11 seconds to play. Petty took the kneel and Baylor escaped with the win.
It was another tough loss for the Horned Frogs, who have now dropped five of their last six.
This is clearly not the same Baylor team we’ve seen for most of the year, either. Whether it’s a combination of injuries or confidence, the offense just isn’t clicking like it was just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, Baylor has plenty to play for, namely its first-ever Big 12 title. All the Bears have to do is beat Texas and hope Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State. Piece of cake, right?