Overreaction Central - TCU

The Baylor Bears clawed out a gutty win against TCU Saturday afternoon. What went right for the Bears in a 41-38 nail-biting win over the Frogs in Fort Worth?

For a team coming off of a devastating loss, to go to a hostile environment against a team that it has a pretty good rivalry with and come out with a 3 point win is a good thing. But this game did not feel good. This was a tough, back and forth game where the strength of the Baylor offensive attack was simply stifled by a tremendous defensive effort from TCU.

This was the bowl-game type effort that Gary Patterson and his coaching staff wanted. They rolled the dice with some gadget plays, and got a great performance from their offense, producing 38 points. They fought back from a 34-17 deficit to get it within three very early in the 4th quarter, but neither offense could put another point on the board.

In the end though, the mistakes and issues of the offense along with the special teams of Baylor was overcome by three touchdowns created by defensive turnovers, and the Baylor Bears sunk out of Fort Worth with a 41-38 victory to move to 10-1 on the season.

Fun Stats of the Game

-Baylor was called for 15 penalties for 140 yards, compared to just 3 for 10 yards for TCU

-The Bears had more interception return yards than TCU had rushing yards (136-122)

-If you take away the two big runs in the first TCU drive for B.J. Catalon, TCU averaged just 1.58 yards per rush attempt

-Gary Patterson is 0-2 in games he has whined incessantly about the opposing close having no class

Words of the Game

Offense – Lacking

You can think of this in several ways. Lacking weapons, lacking timing, or lacking a deep threat. But right now, the Bears offense is simply lacking. In my opinion, this TCU defense was the best we had seen all year, even better than Oklahoma State. The Bears without Tevin Reese is an offense that cannot stretch the field right now. Defenses are simply putting their best corner on Antwan Goodley and putting a safety over the top of him on almost every play. It doesn't hurt that Goodley has faced off against two of the best cover corners in the country the last two weeks in Justin Gilbert and Jason Verrett.

The Baylor attack is also lacking timing. They are not getting the running game going as well, especially after the loss of Spender Drango, something that is a bit of a surprise. The Sophomore All-Big 12 tackle had been a better pass blocker than run blocker throughout his career, but the impact his absence has made in the rushing attack is larger as well.

Defense – Big Play

Big plays for the defense and big plays given to the offense. The Baylor defense has become ultra-aggressive and susceptible to counter or trick plays. That is how TCU scored their first touchdown of the game, with Trevone Boykin throwing a play action touchdown pass to Ladarius Brown, who blew past Ahmad Dixon as he bit hard on the run action in the back field. They also struggled mightily with the deep ball getting called for numerous pass interference plays for the second week in a row.

But the flip side of that where four monster plays that you can circle as the only reason the Bears won. First was the "butt-fumble" of BJ Catalon which the Bears recovered near the goal-line. Second was Orion Stewart jumping a route with less than a minute in the half and TCU driving. Stewart got the ball and returned it for a touchdown to give the Bears a 27-17 lead. The next time the Frogs touched the ball, it was Eddie Lackey stepping in front of a simple crossing route and returning the interception for a touchdown. Finally, it was the last meaningful snap of the game, with Sam Holl getting his hands on a pass to the endzone and Terrell Burt snatching the ball out of the air to secure the victory.

Play of the Game

0:18 left in 4th quarter, TCU at Baylor 23

With the Frogs well within field goal and no timeouts, the Frogs had time to take a shot at the end zone. Lined up with 3 wide receivers to his right, Pachall took the shotgun snap, as his running back ran a simple out pattern. All three of the strong side wide receivers ran deep routes, with Pachall zeroing in on the middle of the three who ran a simple post pattern. Sam Holl, who was in man coverage, made a diving play at the 5 yard line to break up the pass, causing it to pop up into the air where Terrell Burt caught it in the end zone to secure the Baylor victory.

Players of the Game

Offense – Casey Pachall (3 interceptions, 2 of which returned for touchdowns for Baylor)

The TCU quarterback gets the game ball for the Bears offense. Sure, this might be cheating a bit, but Pachall has as many touchdown passes to the Bears defense as Petty had to the offense. Pachall's best plan of attack was to throw it up to his wide receivers and hope the Baylor defensive backs were called for a pass interference penalty. He was just 20-45 on the game, and his final interception sealed the Baylor victory.

Honorable Mention – Lache Seastrunk (94 rushing yards), Bryce Petty (3 total touchdowns, 19-38 for 206 yards, 1 interception), Levi Norwood (7 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD)

Defense – Eddie Lackey (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 TD)

Lackey, playing without his linebacker mate Bryce Hager, did not have the best game of his career, but he still made a huge impact and had enough big plays to help the Bears get a win. The senior outside linebacker uncharacteristically missed a few tackles, but he had a big sack to setup the fumble at the 1 yard line to get the Bears a TD, and of course the interception.

Honorable Mention – Orion Stewart (8 tackles, 1 interception, 1 TD)

Summary

It was a win. Does not matter if it is by 50 or by 1. Baylor was outplayed in most facets of the game, and without some huge plays by the defense, would have a 2-game losing streak. But the defense stepped up enough and made the plays it needed to make, even while giving up 38 points. The Baylor offense is still out of sorts but they got their two top running backs healthy and into the lineup again. This was a positive step for a team coming off of a deflating loss to Oklahoma State.


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