So, who saw this one coming?
Sure, Baylor looked bad in their loss to Texas, but TCU had looked bad since beating the Longhorns back in early October.
So when the Frogs went three and out on their opening drive, it felt like we were in for more of the same; sloppy offense, uninspired defense, and another ugly game between two teams that didn’t seem to have much going right for them in 2020.
Boy, were we wrong.
The TCU defense set the tone in the first quarter, coming out with terror in their hearts and pain on their minds. On their first three plays, Baylor offensive players got absolutely smoked, as Frog after Frog laid the wood on unsuspecting Bears, holding them to 0 yards and forcing a punt. Meanwhile, the Frogs did something weird — they attacked through the air. And it worked! Max Duggan found Quentin Johnston for 15, then Taye Barber for 18 across two plays, then went looking for Q again down the sideline — leading to a 37 completion and first and goal from the three. Darwin Barlow finished the drive with a three yard scoring run, and though we didn’t know it yet, the rout was on.
Baylor went three and out again as the TCU defense held them to two incompletions and two yards. That led to another punt, and this one would be coming all the way back:
Baylor got their first and only first down of the first quarter thanks to a face mask penalty against the Frogs, but the result of the drive was the same: punt. Amidst chants of “we want Zeno”, Duggan took the field, and after absorbing a big hit — that led to a targeting penalty and the ejection of Baylor linebacker Jalen Pitre — led his team down the field and back into the end zone on the strength of a Taye Barber catch and run. A penalty on Baylor forced a rekick and Kell missed the second attempt, but it was 20-0 with 4:36 to play in the first frame.
The Bears punted again and the Frogs followed with one of their own, and BU moved backward as the quarter turned, going -8 yards and putting TCU in great field position. A questionable PI call against Raleigh Texada moved the ball, and Zach Evans finished the drive with the first touchdown of his TCU career, on a 30 yard scamper. TCU would add a field goal in the quarter to make it 30-0, more points than they had scored in their last two games combined and than Baylor had allowed to any team this season.
A fumble by Duggan on what would have been the Frogs’ final drive off the half gave Baylor their best field position of the day, and the Bears took advantage with Brewer finding RJ Sneed for a 39 completion with Ar’Darius Washington stumbling on the play — leaving Sneed wide open down the middle of the field. Two plays later, Brewer found Sims in the back of the end zone and with some controversy, it was ruled a touchdown. That made it 30-7 at the half.
Max Duggan finished the half 10-13 for 119 yards and a touchdown, with Johnston hauling in three receptions for 64 yards and Barber adding four for 41 and a score. Zach Evans led the running backs with 41 yards on three carries while Barlow added 22 on eight. Nook Bradford led the team with five tackles while Kee’yon Stewart and Terrell Cooper had a sack a piece. TCU held the Bears to 80 total yards, 35 of them coming after the fumble, and just three first downs. The Bears averaged just 2.4 yards per play and 0.3 per rush through the first 30 minutes.
If there is one thing we know, it’s that this one might still get weird(er) in half number two.