No. 12 Baylor (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) nearly saw their undefeated record go down in a battle of field goals, but the BEars topped TCU (4-5, 2-4 big 12) in a 29-23 triple-overtime game Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth. Grayland Arnold intercepted a fourth down pass in the third overtime to put the finishing touches on Baylor’s big win that puts them in a terrific spot to play for a Big 12 title.
Baylor kicker John Mayers converted a 51-yard field goal in the final minute of the fourth quarter to help send the game to overtime, which is when the two teams decided that kicking field goals wasn’t fun any more and opted for touchdowns instead. Baylor scored first with JaMycal Hasty running for a short touchdown to open the overtime. TCU answered with Max Duggan completing a 24-yard pass to Te’Vailance Hunt on a 4th & 9 play. The TCU touchdown was not initially called but a video replay overturned the call on the field to credit the Horned Frogs for the score, so they played on.
After the teams exchanged touchdowns in the second overtime, Baylor took a 29-23 lead on a Charlie Brewer pass to Denzel Mims on the second play of the third overtime. TCU looked to be in great position to force a fourth overtime when they moved the ball to the Baylor one-yard line, but a run for a loss of three yards was followed by an incomplete pass. A holding penalty on TCU pushed the football back 10 more yards and later led to a fourth-down try to keep the game alive before falling into the hands of Baylor’s Arnold.
Not every win needs to be pretty, and this one certainly wasn’t. But what this game demonstrated for Matt Rhule is his team is not about to quit on any game. The offense had a rough outing against TCU, but they made the plays they needed the most once they got into overtime. Baylor trailed TCU 9-0 at halftime as this game was dictated by the defenses. Baylor turned the football over twice, but forced three TCU turnovers. Baylor also only managed to get 294 yards of offense against the horned Frogs. Is that good enough? Ordinarily, no, but it was enough to get the job done and go home with an important win for Rhule and the Bears.
Baylor not only remains undefeated but sits atop the Big 12 standings with just three games left to play. Baylor’s next game is a big one. The Bears will host Oklahoma in a battle for first place in the Big 12. It could also be a potential preview of the big 12 championship game, a scenario that became more likely with the win against TCU. Baylor has a one-game lead on Oklahoma in the conference standings, and Baylor will be guaranteed to come out of next week’s matchup with the Sooners no worse than second place in the Big 12. Baylor also owns a head-to-head tiebreaker with Kansas State, who sits in third place in the Big 12 at the start of the day (Kansas State plays at Texas today).
TCU will travel to Lubbock next week to play Texas Tech. The Red Raiders won at West Virginia on Saturday, 38-17.