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Opponent Preview Series: Baylor Bears

TCU knocked off the Bears last season behind a tremendous individual performance from quarterback Chandler Morris. How does this season’s matchup compare?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Baylor at TCU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arguably the most memorable moment from the 2021 football season for TCU fans was when the Horned Frogs took down the No. 5 ranked Baylor Bears 30-28 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Redshirt freshman Chandler Morris went over 500 total yards in his first start at TCU, while freshman linebacker and former four-star prospect Shadrach Banks sealed the win with a last-minute interception of quarterback Gerry Bohanon deep in TCU territory.

This season, TCU will travel to Waco and face the Bears at McLane Stadium on Nov. 19. Baylor enters the 2022 season as the No. 10 team in the nation, while the Horned Frogs are looking to rebuild their status as a premier college football program under new head coach Sonny Dykes. The Bears will feature Blake Shapen, who completed over 72 percent of his passes and threw five touchdowns with no inteceptions in 2021, as the starting quarterback.

Baylor finished third in the conference in scoring last season, averaging over 31 points per game, but the Bears lost nearly all of their leading skill position players including running backs Trestan Ebner and Abram Smith as well as wide receivers Tyquan Thornton and R.J. Snead. Fifth-year tight end Ben Sims, who caught four balls for 53 yards against TCU last season, should be a leading playmaker along with junior tight end Drake Dabney.

The Bears unsurprisingly shined on defense under head coach and former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, finishing second in the Big 12 with opponents scoring a hair over 18 points per game. Baylor will be looking for a new leader to emerge after losing Terrel Bernard, who finished the 2021 season with a team-high 103 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. Defensive end Gabe Hall, who recorded seven tackles for loss and five sacks last season, returns along with T.J. Franklin, who had six tackles for loss and four sacks in 2021.

The Bears will deploy three seniors at linebacker including Bryson Jackson, Dillon Doyle and Al Walcott as well as two fifth-seniors in the secondary with Mark Milton and Christian Morgan. Taye McWilliams appeares to be next in line as the starting running back, while Seth Jones, Hal Presley and Monaray Baldwin, who combined for only 22 receiving yards last season, will need to develop quickly to see success from the wide receiver position.