Despite a lackluster performance from its usual high-scoring offense, Baylor held on for a 41-38 win over TCU on Saturday. The Bears (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) got two defensive touchdowns on interceptions by Horned Frogs quarterback Casey Pachall and set up another touchdown with a fumble recovery. TCU (4-8, 2-7 Big 12) ended its season with Pachall's third interception of the day, despite being in range for a game-tying field goal.
The teams exchanged early scores and a Trevone Boykin touchdown pass, set up by a long Cameron Echols-Luper punt return, gave the Horned Frogs a 17-13 lead with six minutes to play before halftime. Baylor pinned TCU deep with a punt, then recovered a B.J. Catalon fumble at the one-yard line. Bryce Petty dove into the end zone for the score. When Orion Stewart picked off Pachall five minutes later and returned it for a touchdown, the Bears suddenly had a 27-17 halftime lead.
Baylor got its second defensive touchdown in a row just two minutes into the second half, when Eddie Lackey intercepted Pachall and recorded another pick six. Pachall rebounded well, leading the Horned Frogs on a 77-yard scoring drive and running in the touchdown himself. After TCU forced a Baylor three-and-out, Pachall completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson for another score, and the Horned Frogs were back within three points of the Bears.
Baylor responded with a Bryce Petty touchdown pass to Levi Norwood, restoring the 10-point advantage, but a Petty interception on the next possession gave TCU a short field. Pachall hit David Porter for a touchdown on the next play, and it was 41-38 with one quarter to play.
Baylor drove to the TCU 15-yard line, but a 32-yard field goal attempt was missed. After an exchange of punts, TCU took over with the ball at its own 39 with 3:39 to play. A false start left the Horned Frogs with 4th and 15, and Pachall's completion to Doctson was two yards short of a first down.
TCU forced yet another Baylor punt, and had the ball at its own 27 with 1:34 to play. Pachall took the Horned Frogs to the Baylor 23, but TCU opted to play for the win before attempting the tying field goal. A Pachall pass to the end zone was intercepted by Terrell Burt, preventing any attempt to tie and sealing the Baylor win.
Box Score Hero: It was a surprisingly pedestrian performance by Baylor's high-octane offense, but Levi Norwood's seven catches for 83 yards and a score is enough for player of the game honors.
Rankings Ramifications: Baylor's bubble burst with last week's loss to Oklahoma State, and the Bears won't move higher than their current ranking without someone in the top 8 losing surprisingly.
But Did They Cover? Baylor was a 14-point favorite. TCU beat the spread.
Next Week's Schedule: Baylor closes its season with a home game against Texas next Saturday. TCU's disappointing season comes to an end.