By Daniel Hill
The No. 9 Baylor Bears escaped Fort Worth with a 41-38 win over TCU at Amon Carter Stadium on Saturday.
Baylor (10-1, 7-1) were on the ropes late in the fourth quarter with TCU (4-8, 2-7) trailing 41-38 with a chance to tie the Bears or take the lead in the final minute of the game.
From the Baylor 23-yard line, senior TCU quarterback Casey Pachall looked for a receiver near the goal line, but the ball was tipped and intercepted by sophomore safety Terrell Burt in the end zone to seal Baylor’s 41-38 victory and keep Baylor’s dream of a Big 12 championship alive.
With only one loss in the Big 12 to Oklahoma State, Baylor must defeat Texas next Saturday and hope for the Oklahoma Sooners to defeat the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Dec. 7.
Baylor’s offense started the game slowly, compared to its record-setting standards with a first quarter field goal and a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Bryce Petty to senior receiver Clay Fuller for 10 points. Fuller caught four passes for 65 yards.
Petty was 19-of-38 for 206 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Junior running back Lache Seastrunk returned from injury to carry the ball 24 times for 94 yards. Senior running back Glasco Martin rushed for 69 yards on 17 carries.
Baylor took a 13-3 lead in the second quarter when senior kicker Aaron Jones blasted a 47-yard kick through the uprights.
A desperate TCU team, playing in its last game of the season, gave Baylor a tough test.
The Horned Frogs scored on a 1-yard touchdown rush from sophomore running back Jordan Moore and added on another score when sophomore dual-threat receiver and quarterback Trevone Boykin found sophomore receiver LaDarius Brown for a 21-yard score scoring strike. The two second quarter touchdowns gave TCU a 17-13 lead over a seemingly stunned No. 9 Baylor team.
Baylor responded before half with a 1-yard touchdown run from Petty and redshirt freshman safety Orion Stewart raced 82-yards on an interception return to take the momentum and the lead 27-17 at the break.
Senior linebacker Eddie Lackey sparked the team in the third quarter with a 54-yard interception return touchdown to give Baylor a 34-17 lead.
The momentum of the game turned in TCU’s favor after senior safety Ahmad Dixon was assessed a 15-yard targeting penalty and ejected from the game. Because the foul occurred in the second-half, Dixon’s playing status could be in jeopardy for Baylor’s next game against Texas.
The personal foul boosted the Horned Frogs and Pachall capped off a 77-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown to cut into Baylor’s 34-24 lead.
The Baylor offense bogged down and had to punt. TCU’s offense stayed in rhythm with a 6-play, 51-yard scoring drive that was finished off with Pachall’s touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Josh Doctson for a 16-yard score to make it a one possession game, 34-31.
Baylor’s offense responded to the resilient Horned Frogs a 7-play, 65-yard scoring drive to give the Bears a 41-31 lead. Petty found junior receiver Levi Norwood for a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Norwood was Baylor’s leading receiver for the game with seven grabs for 83 yards.
Late in the third quarter, Petty threw his second interception of the season and first pick of the game to TCU junior safety Sam Carter.
With the turnover, the TCU offense had a short field and started inside Baylor territory at the 25-yard line. Pachall threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver David Porter III to put TCU within three points, 41-38.
Jones missed a 32-yard field goal on Baylor’s next possession and the Bears were forced to punt on the following two possessions.
With 1:37 remaining in the contest, TCU took over with a chance to win and that’s when Stewart made the clinching interception to give Baylor the 41-38 victory.
The Bears forced four turnovers and only committed one turnover. Baylor out rushed TCU 164 to 122. The Bears also converted all four fourth down attempts in the contest.
Baylor’s next game is on Dec. 7 at Floyd Casey Stadium against the Texas Longhorns.