In my life of covering sporting events, I guess I’ve seen hundreds or maybe even thousands of football games.
Where TCU is concerned, three games stand out my memory: In Grant Teaff’s first season at Baylor, he took the Bears to Fort Worth and returned with a 42-9 victory, thus breaking a long losing streak against the Frogs. In 2014, playing in Baylor’s new stadium situated right there by the Brazos River, Baylor beat TCU in an unforgettable thriller, 61-58.
(The stadium which carries his name, Drayton McLane later messaged me: “Great article. Yes, long, but how often do you have a four-hour twenty-five minute game? This was the most exciting football game I have ever attented. And what a comeback our Bears made.”).
And then there was this last Saturday afternoon’s triple-overtime super-thriller against the TCU Frogs in Fort Worth, yes, right there in Amon G.Carter Stadium before 45,870 fans who must have been goggle-eyed by the time the game ended, and from Baylor’s point of view that had to be the season’s masterpiece.
And Baylor fans, pinch yourselves, but the Baylor Bears now are 9-0 for this 2019 football season, 6-0 for Big 12 Conference games and they have three games still to go: the power-packed Oklahoma Sooners, one of the preseason-favorite Texas Longhorns (both games are here in at McLane Stadium) and then the season’s finale, the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kan.
The Bears could win all three or lose all three or win two of three, but Baylor fans are guaranteed ring-side seats regardless. And let’s pause right here to thank the Bears and coach Matt Rhule and his coaching staff. So far they have worked wonders.
This was a game that saw the Bears start late. At intermission time the Bears were still scoreless and TCU had kicked only two field goals. So as the third quarter began the Frogs had the upper hand but only a 6-0 upper hand. And Baylor’s redshirt freshman John Mayers, who had missed a 32-yard three-pointer in the second period, did see his 36-yarder sail through the uprights in the third period, and then early in the fourth period he kicked a another one, a 24-yarder. However, the Bears still trailed by three points. But with only 36 seconds left in the fourth period and after Baylor coach Rhule had hesitated a moment, Mayers kicked his longest field goal ever, a 51-yarder, to tie the game at 9-9.
So here came overtime.
Baylor started first. With the ball plaved on the TCU 25-yard line, the Bears overcame a 15-yard personal penalty and scored a touchdown in five plays, Charlie Brewer throwing and both he and JaMycal Hasty rushed to get the ball to the TCU 3-yard line and then Brewer himself ran for those last three yards. And then Mayers kicked the extra point.
But TCU needed only two plays (along with an incompletion and QB sack) to score its touchdown, a 24-yarder from the Frog’s true freshman quarterback Max Duggan to sophomore wide receiver Tevailance Hunt.
Then the teams changed sides and the Frogs scored quickly again, in five plays, all with short runs, and again Jonathan Song’s kick was good. That made the score read TCU 23, Baylor 16.
Again the teams changed sides and again the Bears scored in a hurry: four plays (John Lovett for a 5-yard run, a Lovett for no gain, a incomplete pass thrown by Brewer and then 20-yard completion thrown by Brewer to Denzel Mims for a touchdown. And again Mayers’ kick was good.
So again the two teams changed sides and that time Brewer wasted no time. A quick pass to Chris Platt put Baylor on TCU 4-yard line and his next pass settled into the willing arms of Denzel Mims for a touchdown. But that time the rule book said Baylor could not kick again; they had to go for 2 points and Brewer’s pass for a conversion failed. Score: Baylor 29, TCU 23.
That time the Frogs looked for all the world that they would score, rush two yards for the conversion and walk off the field as the winning team. The Frogs came awfully close. A Jalen Reagor run and then a Max Duggan run put the ball on the Baylor 3-yard with a first down. Twice TCU’s powerful-fullback, 6-3, 231-pound senior Sewo Olonilua, carried the ball and was stopped for no gain. Again he tried and that time the Bears were hit with a face-mask penalty. TCU was able to put on the Baylor 1-yard line with a first down.
How could the Bears possibly stop the Frogs from there? But they did. Olonilua tried to penetrate the Baylor defense and was thrown for a 3-yard loss. So Duggan tried to a pass and it was incomplete. Senior running back Darius Anderson hit the Baylor line still again and got only to the Baylor 2-yard line. Then, after both sides had taken a time out, Duggan tried a pass and Baylor’s Grayland Arnold intercepted in the end zone, and that ended the game. Finally.
There were times when I would’nt have given two cents for Baylor’s chances to win that game, but they did. At the finish the Frogs surpassed the Bears statistically. Baylor had more first downs, 22-18, but TCU had more rushing tardage, 168 to Baylor’s 99, and a better average per rush, 3.4 to BU’s 3.0.
The Bears had better aerial figures, 195 yards to TCU’s 140, and better completion average, 27 of 41 with one interception compared to TCU’s 14 of 32, but TCU’s average per completion was 10 yards compared to Baylor’s 7.2.
And TCU led in total offense, 38 yards to Baylor’s 294. Baylor did lead in average per play, 4.0 yards to TCU’s 3.8. Not much difference there. Baylor fumbled twice and lost one of them while TCU had no fumbles. But TCU was penalyzed 11 times for 125 yards and Baylor 10 times for 67 yards.Baylor had 6 of 17 third-down conversions; TCU had 10 of 20. The Bears had 3 sacks for 20 yards; TCU had 3 for 21yards.
As for individual facts and figures, Sewo Olonilua led TCU in rushing with 19 carries for a net of 79 yards; QB Max Duggan was 14 for 46 and Darius Anderson was 12 for 31. Baylor’s rushing was led by Charlie Brewer who carried 15 times for a net of 41 yards. John Lovett had 8 carries for 37 yards and JaMycal Hasty had 9 carries for 23 yards,
Max Duggan did all of TCU’s passing and he was 14 of 32 for 140 yards and one touchdown. Charlie Brewer handled Baylor’s passing chores and he was 27 of 41 for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Redshirt sophomore Pro Wellw was TCU’s leading receiver with 4 catches for 58 yards. Sewo Olonilua caught 4 passes for 30 yards. Denzel Mims led Baylor’s pass receiving with 6 catches for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. Josh Fleeks caught 6 passes for 42 yards; Tyquan Thornton caught 3 for 19 yards and Chris Platt had 2 for 32 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Terrel Bernard was the standout on Baylor’s defensive efforts with a total of 19 stops with 6 solo stops and one QB sack; linebacker Blake Lynch had 11 stops with 8 solo tackles and also a QB cack; linebacker Jordan Williams had 11 stops and 2 solo; and cornerback Jameston Houston had 5 solo tackles, and tackle Bravvion Roy had had 5 stops and also was in on a QB sack.
Sophomore Ben Wilson led TCU’s defensive play with help on 11 stops (8 solo) and junior linebacker Garret Wallow also has 11 with 7 solo.
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