After a weather delay of almost an hour, the Frogs and Bears kicked off for the 2015 fight to the death...or at least a fight for bragging rights for a year.
1. BOYKIN IS BACK.
Fans were thrilled to see Boykin suited up tonight. We were even happier to see him warm up. And we were thrilled to see him take the field for the first series against the Bears. Boykin completed 18 of 33 passes for 148 yards, which puts him at 3,427 yards for the season. Ty Summers also had a better game than last week with a record 23 tackles at linebacker. Emmanuel Porter returned last week and had a touchdown reception against Oklahoma. But it was nice to see him with more completions tonight. He ended with 3 receptions for 48 yards—the longest being 33.
2. It's all about the turnovers. And I don't mean the apple ones you ate yesterday.
At the half, Baylor had 3 turnovers to TCU's 2. With just under 2 minutes in the 1st quarter, Ethan Perry punted for 48 yards to Baylor's Lynx Hawthorned, who fumbled it after a 1 yard return. TCU's Paul Whitmill recovered it at the Baylor 30. 3 plays later, Trevone Boykin threw an interception to Baylor's Xavien Howard, who returned it for 14 yards to Baylor's 19 yard line. And on the following series by Baylor, with just 34 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Baylor QB Chris Johnson threw a pick to TCU's Nick Orr at the TCU 24 for no gain. Then, in the second quarter, Josh Carraway managed to pick up a fumble for 56 yards and a touchdown to tie the game 14-14. With just 30 seconds left in the half, Trevone Boykin ran for 9 yards from the TCU 40 and subsequently fumbled, which was recovered by Baylor's Taylor Young. In the series immediately following, Baylor fumbled on 3rd and 6 at the TCU 30. Fortunately for the Bears, Corey Coleman managed to recover it, but he rushed for a loss of 2 yards to the TCU 38.
In the second half, Chris Johnson fumbled with 14:13 left in regulation at the TCU 22. Davion Pierson recovered for no gain and TCU took over. With 4:57 left in the 4th, Baylor's Devin Chafin ran for 8 yards and then fumbled. Derrick Kindred recovered to give the Frog offense yet another shot. Baylor ended the night with 5 turnovers, while TCU had 2.
3. Did TCU manage to keep Corey Coleman out of the endzone?
YES. If you saw my preview on Corey Coleman earlier this week, I asked if the Frogs would follow in the footsteps of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to keep Corey Coleman from entering the endzone. Many people said the Frog defense couldn't do it. The Frog D made sure Coleman's name was hardly mentioned all night, keeping him to just 3 receptions for 5 yards the entire game. Heisman Committee: "Who's Coleman?"
4. TCU's defense continues to improve.
The defense forced punts for most of the game. Baylor punted 10 times for a total of 401 yards. Davion Pierson had a great night, with the aforementioned fumble recovery and several great tackles. Nick Orr had some key tackles, as well. While it wasn't perfect, there's obvious improvement when you look back on the earlier half of the season. Think: SMU at home. Remember that nail biter? 100 yards in penalties and a plethora of freshman mistakes almost cost us the game and our beloved Iron Skillet. This defense had a choice: grow up or give up. They chose to grow up, and Seniors like Mike Tuaua and Derrick Kindred showed the youngest generation of Frogs how to keep fighting when the world seems to be against you.
5. Kicking it with the Bears.
Other than the 3 scoring drives (2 for Baylor and 1 for TCU in regulation), the game was all about punting. This could've been a shootout, especially if the weather had been nicer, and Baylor's QBs were healthy, and Boykin was healthy, and Docston was healthy, and....oh, but I digress. As it was, this was a nasty, rainy, cold, slippery night, and both teams had to hold back a bit to avoid fumbles, wild throws, and interceptions. At times, the players could barely stand on their feet. That meant Ethan Perry spent more time on the field than he has all season. He punted 12 times for 454 yards and saw plenty of drama. One punt went off the fingertips of a Baylor defender and wobbled its way through the air, giving Baylor good field position. Then with 5:04 left in the game, the ball slipped out of his hands and he managed to grab it up and punt it for 7 yards while being hit by Oakman. Not an easy feat for anybody. Perry popped back up on his feet and took revenge with his next punt that started Baylor at their own 1 yard line.
Baylor had the ball first at our 25 yard line in OT. They managed a first down and started from the 2. Devin Chafin took it to the endzone and Baylor went up 21-14. TCU took the ball and Boykin threw to Listenbee in the endzone on 3rd and 6. Listenbee was double covered, and Baylor was flagged for pass interference. Boykin threw to KaVontae Turpin. Turpin hit the pylon before running into the endzone but was brought back to the 1 by none other than the Big 12 Refs (who, I should mention, robbed us of a TD in the 1st quarter when Turpin caught a beautiful pass with an Aaron Green-style foot drag). Boykin took it into the endzone for a TD.
On the next series, TCU started with the ball and did a much better job running it for a 1st down. Boykin threw a pass to Aaron Green, who was left open in the endzone for a TD. The ball went to Baylor and they ran it 3 times to gain 9 yards. With just 1 yard to go on 4th down, Baylor called a timeout. The Frog defense denied Baylor that single yard to win the game!
Bonus Point: TCU Seniors bid farewell with a huge win in the biggest game of the year.
Part of the fun of college football is watching high school kids turn into men who graduate and go on to bigger and better things. Sometimes that means the NFL draft, and sometimes it means getting their dream job in whatever field of study they chose. The 2015 Frogs have definitely left a permanent footprint on the Carter and in our hearts.