Photo courtesy of Baylor athletics
Entering the 2011 season, not many people thought much of Baylor football. TCU was a different story.
On this day 10 years ago however, the narrative started to change. The Horned Frogs made a furious charge late to take the lead, but Aaron Jones’ field goal with just over a minute to play was the difference in a 50-48 win for Baylor.
Setting the Stage
Traditionally a doormat in the Big 12, Baylor was just 15-22 in three years under head coach Art Briles as it began the 2011 season at home on Sept. 2, 2011. Baylor however, was coming off its first winning season in 16 years.
TCU was coming off a perfect season in 2010 and had won 25 straight regular-season games. The Horned Frogs arrived ranked No. 14 in the country.
A Big Comeback, All for Naught
After three quarters, it looked as though Baylor would cruise to victory. The Bears led 47-23, but TCU wasn’t going to let its winning streak fall by the wayside without a fight.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall threw three touchdowns in the final quarter and converted a pair of 2-point conversions. The third 2-point try was no good with more than seven minutes to play, but Ross Evans’s 27-yard field goal gave the Horned Frogs their first lead since the first quarter with 4:27 to play.
TCU had scored 25 unanswered points in less than a 10-minute span, but Robert Griffin III and the Baylor offense had one more drive left in it. Starting at his own 20-yard-line, Griffin misfired on his first two throws, but his next three were completions for first downs. Griffin also rushed for seven yards on the drive.
Inside the TCU 30, Baylor ran the ball three straight times to force the Horned Frogs to use their timeouts. Facing 4th-and-4 from the 20, Jones was sent onto the field. His kick sailed through and Baylor led once again with 1:04 left to play.
The ensuing TCU drive reached the Baylor 40-yard-line, but with two seconds to go, Mike Hicks intercepted Pachall to secure the victory for the Bears.
TCU actually led 16-14 after a quarter and by a 23-21 score midway through the second quarter. Baylor responded with 26 straight points, thanks to four touchdown passes from Griffin.
Griffin finished with 359 yards passing and five touchdowns. Pachall also accounted for five total touchdowns for the Horned Frogs.
Logan Brock hauled in two touchdown passes for TCU. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams each caught two touchdown passes for Baylor while combining for 315 yards receiving. Terrance Ganaway added 120 yards rushing and a score in the win.
TCU would win its next three games before falling to SMU to open October. The Horned Frogs again bounced back to win their final eight games and a third straight outright Mountain West title. The conference was ultimately decided in a 36-35 TCU win at Boise State. TCU finished 11-2 and ranked No. 14 in the final AP Poll.
As for Baylor, the Bears would go on to collect their first 10-win season in 21 years. Griffin would go on to account for nearly 5,000 yards of offense and 47 total touchdowns, becoming Baylor’s first and only Heisman Trophy winner. His memorable campaign kicked off with a thrilling victory a decade ago.