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TCU 30, Baylor 28: This one is for Gary

TCU has now won six of the last seven meetings against Baylor.

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

TCU Football opened the post Gary Patterson era with a 30-28 nail-biter win over the Frogs’ little brother from down the road.

Jerry Kill earned his first win as interim head coach, Chandler Morris nearly broke every school passing record in his first start as a Horned Frog, and Baylor’s Big 12 championship hopes are down in the dumps thanks to TCU.

It’s a great day to be a Horned Frog.

Coming into this game, no one knew what to expect. It’s been over 20 years since anybody not named Gary Patterson led TCU out onto the field, the Frogs were coming off three straight losses, and both Max Duggan AND Zach Evans were sidelined with injuries.

Whether you’re a betting man or not, all the odds were stacked against TCU this afternoon, but that didn’t matter. This is a team that is incredibly accustomed to overcoming adversity and objectively plays better with a chip on their shoulder, which is exactly what they had tonight.

Prior to kickoff, these teams were on complete opposite ends of the college football spectrum. Baylor was 7-1, battling for a top-10 ranking while TCU was 3-5, coming off three consecutive losses and a major head coaching change.

I hate to be cliche and say “Everything is different in rivalry games,” but it’s completely true. The emotional aspects played a huge role in today’s game, and Amon G. Carter stadium actually sounded like Amon G. Carter stadium again.

“I’m so proud of those kids and the relentless effort they played with and the energy on the sideline. I’m so proud of TCU fans, you know what I mean, they were a difference in the game,” said Interim Head Coach Jerry Kill.

Now, for the game itself… where do I even begin?

The back and forth first half and 3rd quarter were almost overshadowed by the chaotic final minutes of the game.

Although the Frogs were on top at break, the 1st half was incredibly frustrating. TCU opened up with a six play drive leading to a punt, while Baylor opened up with a three play, 62-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead.

I won’t lie, the vibes were at an all-time low following Baylor’s easy touchdown. Would this be another non-existent defensive performance? Are we ever going to get a first down? How can we win without Gary?

All those questions were immediately answered as Chandler Morris drove the Frogs down field and finished with a 12-yard QB draw up the middle for a touchdown. Despite the fact that it was 7-7 and only the first quarter, you just knew this was going to be a close game.

TCU would go on to finish the half with three field goals in four red zone trips thanks to countless penalties and missed opportunities. When I say countless penalties, I mean it. The first half had 11 flags alone, but the game went on to finish with 19 total flags and 13 by TCU. Just 17 shy of the FBS single-game record (36).

With 12 potential points left on the board, TCU entered halftime with a 16-14 lead and a ton of momentum.

The Frogs defense, who as a unit likely played their best game this season, opened the 2nd half with a quick three-and-out to keep the momentum going with TCU. This was one of many defensive stops for the Frogs, who forced two turnovers and five punts in this one. (Wow I missed saying good things about the defense).

“I thought they played their guts out. They’ve been banged up, injured-wise, like everything else we’ve had, and they played their guts out. You got to make plays to win games, and we haven’t been able to quite get over the hump of making a play or two, and we made plays today when it counted,” said Kill on the defensive performance.

Again, the second half was filled with flags, flags, and more flags. The Big 12 officiating crew had a bad habit of making themselves the star of the show. At one point, the refs threw a flag on five consecutive plays; that’s got to be some sort of record.

A yellow piece of cloth couldn’t hold the Frogs down though as TCU went on to score on four consecutive possessions. I’m just now realizing this as I’m writing, but the Frogs only punted once all game… the opening drive. That’s nuts.

Despite all the early success the momentum being on TCU’s side, this game came down to the final drive. The Frogs were up 30-28 with 5 minutes remaining and a chance to ice the game with a touchdown.

TCU drove down the field, but ended up settling for what would have been their fourth field goal of the afternoon. Key words: would have been. After nailing his first three, Griffin Kell missed from 34 yards out off the upright.

With the miss, Baylor took over possession with 1:56, all three timeouts, and a chance to set up a game-winning field goal.

The feelings of despair from the missed kick wouldn’t last long though as right before the Bears set up camp in field goal range, Shadrach Banks made the play of the day. Banks intercepted Bohanon with just under 60 seconds remaining to seal the deal for the Frogs.

A couple of kneel downs later, and the clock struck 0:00.

Without Max Duggan, without Zach Evans; Chandler Morris stepped up when the Horned Frogs needed him most. The freshmen Oklahoma transfer finished the ball game with 531 total yards of offense, three touchdowns, 0 turnovers, and countless SC Top 10 worthy plays.

531 total yards of offense is good enough for 2nd all time in program history. As a first time starter? Absurd.

I had a feeling this kid had potential, but I never knew he was THIS good. All jokes aside, Morris looked like a young Johnny Manziel or Baker Mayfield with the way he was evading defenders and making big plays out of what should have been tackles for loss.

When asked about Chandler’s performance, star wide receiver Quentin Johnston responded: “Unbelievable, to be honest with you. You know, he came in and he’s been telling us all year that he’s ready. In practice he’s been ready. His work ethic is unmatched, so he came out and did what he had to do. He exceeded my expectations, actually, which were pretty high, so it’s pretty great.”

Johnston also had himself quite the game as the sophomore receiver finished with 5 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown, including a ridiculous one-handed grab over two Baylor defenders.

Although Morris likely has many years ahead of him as the TCU starter, he’s already been immortalized in Horned Frog folklore. You think after hearing “61-58” incessantly for years we would simply forget about this one? Absolutely not.

I’m looking forward to all the “Hey remember that time we beat you guys without our QB, two RBs, and our legendary head coach?” conversations with Baylor fans on the twittersphere. The bragging rights are immaculate.

Aside from the rivalry aspects of the game from a fan’s perspective, this game meant a lot to our boys after an incredibly emotional week.

“That was huge. I don’t know a team more deserving, everything we’ve been through this week. Obviously with Coach P and we were fighting for him. We deserved it and I truly believe it,” said quarterback Chandler Morris.

Wherever Gary Patterson may have been during the game, I’m confident he would be proud of his boys’ performance. This win was for Gary.

With the 30-28 win, TCU extends their all-time series advantage to 57-53-7 and has won six of the last seven matchups against Baylor.

It feels good to know you are just that much better than your rival in essentially every way, shape, fashion, or form, doesn’t it? Of course I am being extreme, but let me have fun. We just beat the No. 12 team in the country… AND it happened to be Baylor.

With a now 4-5 record on the season, TCU has a legitimate shot of qualifying for a bowl game. With No. 11 Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Iowa State as the remaining opponents, the Frogs need to win just two of them.

After taking down No. 12, the Frogs are on to No. 11 next week as they travel to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State. The kickoff time has yet to be announced.

Simply because I can, I would like to end this recap by saying #ChandlerMorris4Heisman. Kid’s a baller.