Chris Johnson

Associated Press

TCU swims way to 2OT upset of Baylor, hands Bedlam Big 12 keys

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Entering the 2015 season, most observers thought tonight’s Baylor-TCU game would be for all of the Big 12 marbles.  Instead, that honor will fall to tomorrow’s night Bedlam matchup.

In some of the wettest conditions you’ll see this side of Noah’s ark,  the Horned Frogs and Bears slogged their way through a scoreless second half before two TCU overtime touchdowns to BU’s one handed the homestanding Frogs a 28-21 win in double overtime.

Both teams scored on their initial overtime possessions, TCU on Trevone Boykin‘s one-yard touchdown run and BU on Devin Chafin‘s four-yard touchdown reception from first-time quarterback starter Chris Johnson; that was the Bears first completed pass since the first half.  Boykin’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Kavontae Turpin in the second overtime, with the defense turning out the biggest stop of the game on the Bears second overtime possession. On a fourth-and-1 from the 16-yard line, Chafin was stuffed for no gain as the rain-soaked TCU faithful stormed the field.

The story of the game for nearly 60 minutes, though, was the weather.

21 of the points in this game were scored prior to the heavens opening and a downpour of Biblical proportions commenced for essentially the last three-and-a-half quarters, with the other seven in regulation coming on a fumble return for a touchdown.  The last offensive points prior to overtime were scored with 7:28 left in the first quarter; the last non-overtime points were scored with 12:55 remaining in the second.

If you were unable to watch, there’s one statistic that sums up just how borderline unplayable the conditions in this game were: 210. That’s the number of passing yards for which both teams combined to throw.  The Horned Frogs came into the game averaging 363.5 yards per game, fifth in the country, while the Bears were 14th at 350.7.  Or how about this: the teams combined for nearly as many turnovers (seven) as third downs converted (eight, on 38 tries).

Or this: There were a combined 23 punts, which were only slightly trumped by 25 pass completions.  Johnson accounted for just seven completions — on 24 attempts — for 62 yards, the lowest aerial output of the Art Briles era in Waco.

It was a night fit for neither man nor beast, but in the end it was the Horned Frogs that made just enough plays to knock the Bears out of not only Big 12 but playoff contention as well.

With the loss, BU joins TCU as being officially eliminated from the Big 12 title race.  Instead, the winner of tomorrow night’s Oklahoma-Oklahoma State matchup will be crowned conference champions.

Baylor, TCU battle each other, rain in 14-all first-half tie

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Last year’s Baylor-TCU game was a wild 61-58 affair won by the Bears.  Through two quarters of play in this year’s edition of the rivalry, and thanks in very large part to the weather, it doesn’t appear that a repeat is in order.

In a game delayed nearly 50 minutes because of lightning in the Fort Worth area and that’s currently being played in a steady downpour, the No. 7 Bears and No. 19 Horned Frogs slipped and slogged — and fumbled and intercepted and muffed — their way to a 14-all tie at halftime.  BU turned the ball over three times — the trifecta of a fumble, interception and muffed punt — while TCU had one  interception and one fumble.  In last year’s game, which TCU was winning 31-27 at the half, the Bears had three turnovers while the Horned Frogs turned it over just once.

It actually looked as if a repeat of last year was in order as the Bears scored on their first two possessions and the Horned Frogs their first halfway through the opening quarter.  However, as the rain increased, the offensive production predictably decreased as just seven points were scored on the remaining 14 possessions of the half — and those came courtesy of a defensive score.

Even the return of Trevone Boykin couldn’t help the Horned Frogs get past the weather.  After missing the Week 12 loss to Oklahoma because of a sprained ankle, Boykin, playing on a heavily-taped joint, was back under center for the Frogs, completing 7-of-15 passes for 97 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Boykin’s counterpart, QB-turned-WR-turned-QB Chris Johnson, was making his first start, and in a driving rainstorm on the road no less.  He was responsible for two of the turnovers, an interception and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and passed for a meager 50 yards as the Bears attempted just 12 passes.

Devin Chafin was the offensive “star” of the game for both sides.  While the Bears back had just eight yards rushing, he accounted for both BU touchdowns.

Baylor loses QB Jarrett Stidham to broken bone in ankle

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If Baylor’s designs on a national championship are to come to fruition, it appears the Big 12 school will be forced to go the Ohio State route and do it with their third-string quarterback.

The university has reportedly confirmed Wednesday that Jarrett Stidham sustained a broken bone in the back of his ankle in the second quarter of Saturday’s win over previously unbeaten Oklahoma State.  As a result, the true freshman will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

Stidham had started the last three games in place of Seth Russell, who will miss the rest of 2015 as well because of a broken bone in his neck.

With Stidham and Russell sidelined, the Bears’ title hopes will fall in large part to Chris Johnson. The redshirt sophomore had been moved to wide receiver during summer camp before becoming Stidham’s backup a month ago.  In the win over OSU, Johnson completed five of his 10 passes for 138 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Should Johnson find himself injured, the only other player listed as a quarterback on Baylor’s roster is Zack Bennema. A true freshman, Bennema joined the Bears earlier this year as a walk-on.

Baylor will travel to TCU and host Texas to close out the season.  Because of a loss to Oklahoma earlier this month, the Bears will need a Sooners loss in Bedlam in addition to winning its last two in order to claim a Big 12 title and, potentially, a spot in the College Football Playoff.

TCU’s Boykin improving, Baylor’s Stidham questionable for Big 12 clash

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What was supposed to be one of the top games of the year on the college football calendar has been diminished in its importance this week as it relates to the national championship and Big 12 picture, but that will not stop Baylor and TCU from going all out for a win this weekend. Unfortunately, both teams are facing some injury concerns with their starting quarterbacks in the days leading up to the game.

On Monday, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said his starting quarterback, Trevone Boykin, is still not 100 percent ready to go but is showing signs of improvement. Boykin did not play against Oklahoma this past weekend in Norman. Boykin is working his way back from an ankle injury suffered a couple of weeks ago against Kansas. If Boykin is unavailable to play against the Bears, TCU will likely go with Bram Kohlhausen at quarterback. Kohlhausen came off the sideline to lead a late TCU rally against the Sooners that nearly led to a victory (a two-point conversion attempt that would have won the game was knocked down).

In Waco, Art Briles is hoping his backup quarterback will be good to go against the Horned Frogs. Freshman Jarrett Stidham, who has filled in for an injured Seth Russell, is questionable for this weekend, and Briles appears to be less than optimistic about his chances of playing.

Stidham rallied after getting roughed up in a loss to Oklahoma the previous week. Before leaving the game with Oklahoma State with an injury, Stidham passed for 258 yards and a touchdown and picked up 36 rushing yards on seven rushing attempts to help Baylor rebound from its first loss of the season. Chris Johnson stepped in to lead the offense after Stidham left the game, and he completed five of his 10 pass attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns with one interception thrown.

As the week goes by, both teams will be closely monitoring the status of their quarterbacks. Baylor still remains lurking in the College Football Playoff picture, even by a hair at this point with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State playing this week to determine the true Big 12 champion. TCU is out of the discussion with two losses but can still play spoiler. TCU also has a revenge factor after letting one slip away against Baylor last season for their only loss of the year, which likely prevented TCU from entering the playoff.

No. 10 Baylor snaps No. 6 OK State’s 12-game winning streak behind 3rd string QB

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No. 10 Baylor sent No. 6 Oklahoma State careening from the ranks of the unbeatens, ending the Pokes 12-game winning streak with a 45-35 win Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. And now, if they hope to claim their third straight Big 12 championship, Baylor gets to turn around and root for these Pokes next week.

Baylor led 14-0 just over three minutes in and 24-14 at the half thanks to the rocket arm of freshman Jarrett Stidham and lightning legs of Corey ColemanK.D. Cannon and Jay Lee, as Stidham hit 12-of-21 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game at halftime with an ankle injury. Third-string quarterback (and former wide receiver) Chris Johnson played the entire second half and picked up where Stidham left off, ending his first two drives with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Lee and a 71-yarder to Cannon, pushing the lead back to a comfortable 38-14 with 6:24 to go in the third quarter.

Oklahoma State eventually found its footing on defense and pulled within 38-28 with five minutes remaining, but Johnson pushed the Bears 30 yards in seven plays, capping the march with a four-yard touchdown run, to put the game away with 2:10 remaining.

Johnson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who had not recorded a statistic this season, completed 5-of-10 throws for 138 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

But it was Baylor’s massive edge in the trenches that won them this game. The Bears out-rushed Oklahoma State 303-8. Yes, you read that correctly. Chris Carson led Oklahoma State’s ground efforts with 20 yards on six carries. Six different Bears topped that number, led by Shock Linwood‘s 91 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Johnny Jefferson added 62 yards, Devin Chaffin 60 and Johnson trotted for 42 yards on six carries.

Mason Rudolph completed 27-of-50 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions but was sacked six times. He was credited with seven carries for minus-38 yards on the night.

Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) shoots back to the top of the Big 12 standings, needing Oklahoma State to beat Oklahoma next week in Stillwater to secure a Big 12 championship. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) can win a share of the title with a win over Oklahoma next week, but the Pokes would need a Baylor loss to TCU to win the league outright.

Both teams, however, are still on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoff picture – and will remain that way unless Armageddon breaks out between now and Selection Sunday.