Bonkers on the Brazos: No. 5 Baylor’s comeback stuns No. 9 TCU, 61-58

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On the 216th and final snap, No. 5 Baylor notched the 21st and final score of a four-and-half hour game to take its first and final lead, a 28-yard Chris Callahan field goal as time expired to give the Bears a 61-58 win over a stunned No. 9 TCU squad.

Before we talk about how Baylor won the game, we first must talk about how they nearly lost it. TCU stormed out of the gate by forcing a turnover on downs on Baylor’s first possession, immediately responding with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Trevone Boykin to Kolby Listenbee, then forcing a Shock Linwood fumble, and capitalizing on the turnover with a 3-yard B.J. Catalon scoring dash to take an early 14-0 lead.

Baylor spent the rest of the evening playing catchup, pulling to a 24-24 tie only to immediately allow a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Catalon, then pulling within four at 31-27 and 34-30 only to watch the Horned Frogs take control of the game with a 24-7 run over a seven-and-a-half minute span in the late third and early fourth quarters. Marcus Mallet gave TCU a 58-37 lead with 11:38 to play by stepping in front of a Bryce Petty pass and taking it 49 yards for a touchdown.

From that moment forward, the Baylor offense never left the field without a score, and its TCU counterparts seemingly loaded the bus for Fort Worth.

The comeback started one minute later as the Bears scored in only four plays, punctuated by a seven-yard Devin Chafin touchdown run. Exactly four minutes later, Petty hit Antwan Goodley for his second touchdown of the game, this one from 28 yards out and pulling the Bears to within 58-51 with 6:39 remaining.

After a TCU three-and-out (with two passes), Baylor raced 91 yards in five plays, with Petty hitting Corey Coleman from 25 yards out to tie the game with 4:42 to go.

Memo to future opponents: all Baylor needed to erase a 21-point deficit was 14 plays and three minutes and 21 seconds of all possession (and, of course, a willing accomplice in the TCU offense.)

With the game tied at 58-58, TCU moved to midfield but was forced to punt when faced with a 4th-and-8. Then the Bears were flagged for having 12 men on the field, and after two timeouts and what felt like 15 minutes of real time, Gary Patterson elected to go for it on a 4th-and-3 from the Baylor 45. Boykin’s pass to Josh Doctson.

Baylor then took over at its own 45 with 1:11 to play and, after moving to the TCU 43, was seemingly faced with its own 4th down decision after a Petty pass fell incomplete, but Corry O’Meally was flagged for pass interference on a strikingly similar play to the one on TCU’s final possession that did not draw a flag.

Five plays later, Callahan knocked in a 29-yarder and thousands of green and gold faithful rushed the field.

No 61-58 game is without controversy, and Patterson’s decision to eschew the punt on 4th-and-3 and the no-call/call pass interference decisions will live in Baylor-TCU infamy, a series that now stretches 110 games and saw Baylor take a 52-51-7 lead.

Petty simultaneously trashed and resurrected his Heisman Trophy campaign after completing 28-of-55 passes for 510 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions while adding 10 rushes for 23 yards. Linwood rushed 29 times for 178 yards, and Bears receivers Goodley, Coleman and K.D. Cannon combined for 22 receptions for 426 yards and five touchdowns.

Boykin hit 21-of-45 passes for 287 yards with a touchdown with 45 rushing yards, but Catalon was the Frogs’ standout with 48 rushing yards and two touchdowns, 71 receiving yards and the 94-yard kickoff return touchdown.

The win undoubtedly puts Baylor in the drivers’ seat for the Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth, but also sets up another possible three-way tie scenario with TCU beating Oklahoma, Baylor beating TCU and Oklahoma beating Baylor in Norman on Nov. 8, but that’s a worry for another day. The Bears first must focus on their trip to West Virginia on Saturday.

TCU, meanwhile, will look to pick up the pieces of 85 shattered hearts before No. 16 Oklahoma State comes to Fort Worth on Saturday.

LSU opens as double-digit favorites on Oklahoma; Ohio State slight underdog to Clemson

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While definitely subject to change, the initial wagering odds for the degenerates in the reading audience are out.

Earlier Sunday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, the four semifinalists for the 2019 College Football Playoff were released.  LSU was given the No. 1 seed by the selection committee and will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.  No. 2 Ohio State, which came into Championship Saturday ranked first in the country, will square off with No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, LSU is a 7/5 favorite to win the 2019 national championship.  Clemson is next at 2/1, while Ohio State sits at 3/1.  Oklahoma, which won its way into the playoffs at the expense of Georgia, is a decided underdog at 16/1.

Speaking of underdogs, the SEC Tigers are currently listed as a 12½-point favorite in their matchup with the Sooners.  Despite being the higher seed, the Buckeyes have opened as a two-point underdog to the ACC Tigers.

The over/under for Ohio State-Clemson opened at 63; for LSU-Oklahoma, it’s at 75.

LSU and Oklahoma have squared off just twice previously, with the most recent matchup coming in 2004.  Clemson and Ohio State have met three times in their collective histories, the most recent meeting coming in the 2016 College Football Playoff — a 31-0 win for the Tigers.

Arkansas confirms hiring of Georgia OL coach Sam Pittman as head coach

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When it came to replacing the fired Chad Morris, Arkansas, as it turned out, didn’t have to look outside of the SEC.

Sunday, with one of its top targets, Lane Kiffin, already having been locked up by SEC West rival Ole Miss, Arkansas reportedly pivoted its attention to Georgia’s Sam Pittman.  A few hours later, the Razorbacks confirmed that Pittman has been hired as the school’s next head football coach.

“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field. Sam instills in his players the motivation, grit and determination required to compete and win. Throughout this process, I heard from many of his former players about the tremendous influence he had on them as a player and as a man.

“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters. His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff. In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans. They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the Home of the Razorbacks.”

The hiring marks a return to Fayetteville for Pittman as he was a member of Bret Bielema‘s first coaching staff in 2013. In 2016, he left for Georgia, where he spent the past four seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach.  He also served as Kirby Smart‘s associate head coach.

The 58-year-old Pittman will be officially introduced as the Razorbacks’ 34th head coach Monday afternoon.

Mizzou zeroing in on Eli Drinkwitz as next head coach

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Once again, it appears a Power Five program will pilfer a Group of Five school for its next head football coach.

Sunday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that Applachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz “has emerged as a strong candidate” for the vacancy at Missouri.  Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become Missouri’s next head football coach and a deal is being finalized.”

An official announcement of Drinkwitz becoming the permanent replacement for Barry Odom, who was fired late last month after four seasons at his alma mater, is expected no later than Monday.

The 36-year-old Drinkwitz is in his first season as the head coach of the Mountaineers, his first head-coaching job at any level of football.  App State stands at 12-1 on the season after claiming its second-straight Sun Belt Conference championship Saturday with a win over Louisiana.

Dec. 21, App State will face UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.

Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock reportedly suffered ACL tear in SEC title game loss

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A rough weekend for Georgia was underscored on Sunday as reports surfaced saying one of their key young players is done for the rest of this year and likely part of the next one.

As per Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and a host of other beat writers in Athens, Bulldogs receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the loss against LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.

The freshman from Marietta, Ga. had to be carted off the field in the first quarter after making a short catch and planting his knee awkwardly. The team’s top receiver, Lawrence Cager, was already out after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 29.

Blaylock had made 18 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns at UGA this season.