After Baylor's 61-58 Win Over TCU, A Heated Rivalry Is Brewing.
There were three nationally televised college football games in the state of Texas on Saturday.
In Dallas, at the historic Cotton Bowl, the University of Texas played Oklahoma University in the annual Red River Showdown. Down in College Station, Texas A&M hosted a SEC showdown against Ole Miss in College Station. But the talk of the nation centered around a third game — the instant classic between Texas Christian University and Baylor University, two top ten teams battling for playoff contention and the No. 1 spot in the Big 12.
Yes, Baylor and TCU.
Ten years ago Baylor comfortably sat on the bottom rung of the Big 12. TCU, meanwhile, was a struggling mid-major school transitioning from the Conference USA to the Mountain West. By the end of this past Saturday's 61-58 slobberknocker — in which a last second, game-winning field goal from Baylor capped off a 21-point comeback — two things became clear.
For one thing, Baylor and TCU are now the premier teams in the Big 12. And, for another, there is a legitimate, heated rivalry brewing between them.
Historically, sure, the two teams have been rivals of sorts. Even though Baylor coach Art Briles admits that wasn't aware of it before this week, the teams have faced off 110 times since 1899. After the dissolution of the Southwest Conference in 1996, though, the schools avoided each other for a decade. But since renewing these contests in 2006, things have quickly reheated: Three of the last four games have been decided by three or fewer points, and the stakes at hand are increasing each year with no love lost between Baylor head coach Art Briles and TCU head coach Gary Patterson.
Last year, Patterson criticized Briles about class and the handling of then-safety Ahmad Dixon following a targeting hit on then-wide receiver Trevone Boykin — a hit that caused quite a stir both last year and this one. Following Saturday's game, Patterson said he was threatened by a Baylor defensive player about the same situation.
This year's game was just as fiery: On the field, there were plenty of chippy plays, back-and-forths and personal fouls between the Horned Frogs and Bears. Boykin, now the starting quarterback for TCU, had to be restrained by teammates at one point on Saturday following a touchdown score in the second half. Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings was called for a personal foul in the half as well.
Despite the personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called, it was an abundance of pass interference infractions that had the greatest impact on the game. Both teams consistently took long shots down the field and, of the six pass interference calls in the game, none were more game-changing than the penalty called on TCU defensive back Corry O'Meally as he defended Baylor receiver Levi Norwood on Baylor's final drive. That whistle put Baylor within field goal range for its eventual game-winning kick.
At that point, Baylor had already come back from 21 points down to tie the game at 58, many thanks to the efforts of senior quarterback Bryce Petty, who threw for 510 yards and six touchdowns (all of which were for 25 yards or more), and sophomore running back Shock Linwood, who carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards in the fourth quarter alone. The Horned Frog's defense has been the backbone of the program in its ascension toward becoming a powerhouse team, but the Bears' offense picked it apart, and Patterson showed a lack of confidence in his defense on a crucial fourth down. Instead of punting and counting on his defense to hold off the Bears for the games final minute and 11 seconds, Patterson instead opted to attempt to gain three yards and a first down. Unfortunately for the Frogs, the play resulted in an incomplete pass.
Still, the rivalry is heating up. And while next season's Baylor and TCU match may not be able to live up to Saturday's game, it will surely be just as important.
Baylor and TCU are officially the top dogs in the Big 12 now. Another year won't change that.
Baylor Bears run through the Baylor Line at McLane Stadium before their Big 12 matchup with the TCU Horned Frogs.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14) reads the defense on a read-option play against TCU in the first half.
Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman (2) battles with TCU offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (74).
TCU defensive end Terrell Lathan (90) steps over Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14).
TCU running back B.J. Catalon III (23) trots into the end zone in the first half. Catalon had 213 all-purpose yards, including two rushing touchdowns and kick return for a touchdown.
TCU defensive end Mike Tuaua (93) chases down and sacks Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14). Tuaua finished the game with one sack and one fumble recovery.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14) rolls out of the pocket against TCU at McLane Stadium.
TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson (9) runs after making a catch against Baylor defensive back Ryan Reid(9). Doctson finished the game with five catches for 60 yards.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty (14) throws and celebrates a touchdown pass in the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs.
Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley (5) catches a touchdown pass against TCU defensive back Ranthony Texada (11).
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) attempts a pass under pressure.
TCU running back B.J. Catalon III (23) returns a kick off 94 yards for a touchdown before the end of the first half.
Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman (2) pumps of the Bears fans in the second half.
Baylor linebacker Taylor Young (11) tackles TCU wide receiver Ty Slanina (13).
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) is restrained by backup quarterback Zach Allen (11).
Baylor defensive back Ryan Reid (9) pleads with an official for an offensive pass interference call against TCU wide receiver Emanuel Porter (1).
Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley (5) catches a touchdown pass against TCU defensive back Kevin White (25).
Baylor running back Shock Linwood (32) celebrates after rushing for a first down in the fourth quarter. Linwood ran the ball 13 times for 113 yards in the fourth quarter.
Baylor kicker Chris Callahan (40) kicks the game-winning 28-yard field goal against the TCU Horned Frogs. Baylor won the game 61-58.