FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Many expected a contest featuring two of the highest-scoring offenses in the nation to put up big numbers on the scoreboard. That has not been the case in the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, as the score is tied at 14-14 between the No. 7 Baylor Bears and the No. 19 TCU Horned Frogs.
Torrential downpour and less than ideal field conditions made for a sloppy first half that featured five turnovers (Baylor – 3, TCU – 2). The turnovers were also coupled with unusually low offensive statistics.
Baylor totaled 188 yards behind a first-half season-low of 58 passing yards. TCU also struggled to find a flow and rhythm on offense as they were limited to 148 yards of total offense.
With the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses in the nation experiencing a below average output in the first half, it has been the defenses that have appeared the most reliable.
After both teams traded opening scores on their first possessions, the defenses made adjustments hoping to slow down the talented offensive repertoires.
The immediate modifications appeared to have no effect as Baylor would score on its next drive to go up 14-7. The Bears were committed to a ground attack early in the drive as they ran the ball five times, while only throwing it once to take the lead.
The second and third possessions for the Horned Frogs were not as fortunate and they were forced to punt after the Baylor defense corralled TCU senior quarterback Trevone Boykin.
That particular trend kept up for the remainder of the first half as Boykin threw an interception and fumbled the football, accounting for both of TCU’s turnovers in the opening half.
A crucial interception by Baylor junior cornerback Xavien Howard on Boykin in the first quarter halted what looked like an inevitable Horned Frogs’ scoring drive. After that time, TCU were hard pressed to cross the 50-yard line.
The quarterback play for Baylor was similar to the woes experienced by TCU.
Sophomore starter Chris Johnson did not look comfortable in the pocket and forced several throws into double coverage. The questionable decision making resulted in one interception and one fumble from the Baylor signal-caller.
Johnson’s second turnover, a fumble, allowed the Horned Frogs to tie up the game at 14-14 after junior defensive end Josh Carraway scooped it up and ran 56 yards for the touchdown.
After going a combined two for 15 on third downs in the first half, both offenses will hope to get back on track. But with the rain continuing to come down and no letup expected, the game may come down to which team is able to hold onto the ball.