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TCU 29, Baylor 28: Chaos

Griffin Kell’s buzzer beating 40-yard FG gives the Horned Frogs the win in Waco

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Baylor
Griffin Kell: Horned Frog Hero
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For a team to reach 11 wins, it will need moments of brilliance and moments of good fortune. When the #4 TCU Horned Frogs received a punt at its own 30, trailing by 2 with 1:34 on the clock, it would need all the brilliance and good fortune it could get to remain undefeated. Max Duggan stared down the possibility of the first defeat of the season and said “Not Today,” completing passes to Taye Barber and Savion Williams before a 3rd down keeper for 12 yards that put TCU in field goal range. Then came a truly chaotic sequence as Emari Demercado took a 3rd & 7 run for 3 yards as the clock ticked under 20 seconds; now 4th down and TCU with no timeouts, the kicking unit hustled onto the field, got set, and a hero was born:

The clock struck all zeroes while the kick was in flight, and that flight was true dead center and Griffin Kell etched his name forever in the history books as a Horned Frog hero. Kell had earlier missed an extra point that allowed Baylor to later obtain the lead, but he was given opportunity to redeem himself and delivered. TCU advanced to 11-0 and has now defeated Baylor 11 out of the last 15 matchups.

The TCU defense did not force a punt in the first half, but only allowed 14 Baylor points, thanks to a missed 46-yard field goal, a turnover on downs stopping Sqwirl Williams for a loss of 3 on 4th & 1, and an incredible Bud Clark interception to close the half

TCU matched the Bears’ 14 points with rushing TDs from Max Duggan and Kendre Miller. Miller continued his scoring streak, having reached the endzone in every game this season, and 12-straight going back to 2021. Duggan’s 7-yard TD run was his 4th rushing TD of the year.

The 2nd Half started as a rock fight, as the teams traded possessions without much movement. Max Duggan threw his 2nd interception of the season, looking deep for Quentin Johnston in double coverage; although the Bears punted right back after the pick, the play was a big problem for the Frogs as Johnston appeared to aggravate his ankle injury and was held out for the remainder of the contest.

With Derius Davis out for the game and QJ and Kendre Miller out much of the 2nd Half, other skill talent would have to step up. Savion Williams had a strong performance making critical catches on his way to a 4 for 54 day; Taye Barber was the Frogs’ leading receiver thanks to a 77 yard catch and run that set up the Miller TD; and Gunnar Henderson got his own drive that featured two catches for 46 yards and a TD. The score put TCU ahead, but this was the extra point that Kell doinked off the upright to make the lead just six points.

The Bears would promptly take the opportunity to score two consecutive TDs on long drives, to take the lead and then extend it to eight points. The Frogs kept fighting, forcing consecutive 3-and-outs to save time and keep it a one-score game. Taking over at its own 10 yard line with under five minutes to play, TCU went on a methodical march down the field, including 3rd down conversions on a Duggan run and a pass to Jared Wiley, culminating in a Emari Demercado 3-yard TD run. TCU was forced to attempt the 2-point conversion and had the play on for Demercado into the flat out of the backfield, but Duggan led him a bit too much and the RB couldn’t hold on. Only 2 minutes remained in regulation. Baylor had opportunity with the 2-point lead to pick up a first down and end the game, but with two runs going nowhere faced a 3rd & 10. Baylor had successfully converted on 3rd or 4th downs eight times already in the game. However in the critical moment, the rollout play action was well covered by TCU and Blake Sharen’s scramble fell short of the first down and the Bears were forced to punt. And the rest is history.

Baylor falls to 6-5 on the season and 4-4 in the Big 12 to be fully eliminated from the Big 12 Championship race. The Bears will close the season on Black Friday in Austin against the Texas Longhorns.

TCU improved to 11-0, 8-0 in the Big 12. Already with a spot secured in the Big 12 Championship, the Horned Frogs will look to close the regular season undefeated next week at Amon G. Carter Stadium against the Iowa State Cyclones.