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TCU vs. Baylor: 3 Things We Learned

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The Horned Frogs scored their biggest victory of the season, knocking off the top-25 ranked Bears in the team’s first game without Gary Patterson.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU came out with a burst of newfound energy Saturday, upsetting the Baylor Bears 30-28 behind a spectacular offensive performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Chandler Morris and a victory-sealing interception from four-star freshman linebacker Shadrach Banks. With three Big 12 matchups remaining, TCU remains in the hunt for a bowl game, but the team will have to knock off another ranked opponent in Oklahoma State this weekend.

Here are three things we learned from TCU’s upset victory over Baylor.

1. Chandler Morris should start for the remainder of the season

The Oklahoma transfer electrified the crowd on Saturday, throwing for a career-high 461 yards and two touchdowns while avoiding any turnovers. Morris became TCU’s first quarterback to eclipse the 400-yard mark in passing since Kenny Hill did so in 2016. With Zach Evans and Kendre Miller out of the lineup with injuries, Morris took over on the ground as well, leading the Horned Frogs with 70 rushing yards and one touchdown.

With reports coming out that Max Duggan continues to deal with a broken bone in his foot, TCU should continue to roll with Morris for the remainder of the season. Duggan’s injury has seemingly diminished his ability as a runner, which made him one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the Big 12. While Morris may not be the same sort of runner as Duggan, his maneuverability in the pocket and his ability to make defenders miss not only extended plays in the run game, but allowed him to survey the defense and make big-time throws.

It was the best offensive performance of the season for the Horned Frogs, who topped 500 yards and saw multiple wide receivers including Quentin Johnston, Taye Barber, Derius Davis and four-star freshman Quincy Brown contribute with big receptions. Oklahoma State won’t be an easy task, as the Cowboys possess one of nation’s top defenses, but as evidenced in Saturday’s win over Baylor, Morris gives TCU its best chance to win.

2. Kee’yon Stewart could play a significant role down the stretch

Stewart’s 2021 season was in doubt after he suffered a knee injury and underwent surgery earlier this year. The junior cornerback returned to the lineup on Saturday, however, earning spot reps on one side while Noah Daniels manned the other side. Stewart made one of the biggest plays of the game defensively, intercepting a deflected pass from Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon that bounced off teammate Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson.

TCU’s No. 2 corner spot has been a sore one all season, with C.J. Ceasar frequently struggling and former four-star recruit Keontae Jenkins only seeing the field sparingly. The Horned Frogs have also dealt with injuries to key players at the free safety position, but with Stewart returning from his injury, TCU was able to slide Hodges-Tomlinson over to free safety while Daniels and Stewart stepped outside at the corner slots. If Stewart can step up down the stretch, TCU’s pass defense should improve significantly.

3. The Horned Frogs are becoming thin at the running back position

TCU’s five-star sophomore running back has reportedly been dealing with turf toe, while Miller sustained an injury on a hard hit early in the first quarter against Baylor. With former four-star recruit Daimarqua Foster out of the lineup already, TCU finished Saturday’s win with Emari Demercado getting the lion’s share of work at the running back position.

Both Evans and Miller are reportedly questionable for the Oklahoma State matchup this week, with Evans reportedly unlikely to play. Should the two talented running backs miss Saturday’s game against the Cowboys, Demercado will likely start and command the reps once again. But establishing the run will be important to keep the pressure off Morris, so it will be interesting to see how the Horned Frogs address the run game this weekend.