Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) – A showdown between undefeated teams in the Big
12 Conference takes place on Saturday afternoon, as the ninth-ranked TCU
Horned Frogs come calling on the fifth-ranked Baylor Bears.
TCU is fresh off its biggest win since making the move to the Big 12 a couple
of seasons ago, as coach Gary Patterson’s squad derailed No. 4 Oklahoma’s
national title aspirations with a 37-33 victory in Fort Worth last weekend. It
was the fourth win of the season for the Horned Frogs, their third at home,
and following this contest they will return to Amon G. Carter Stadium for a
pair of bouts against league foes Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
Baylor comes in sporting a 5-0 record, and has won its first two Big 12 tests
by taking down Iowa State (49-28) and Texas (28-7). The Bears, who are the
defending Big 12 champs, have won 12 straight home games, including their
first two at the brand new McLane Stadium this year. Following this clash, BU
will alternate road and home games over its final six outings.
The series between these two Lone Star State rivals is knotted at 51-51-7, and
TCU has won four of the last six meetings dating back to 1995.
TCU and Baylor rank atop the Big 12, and among the national leaders in several
statistical categories, not the least of which is scoring offense (TCU 42.8
ppg, BU 51.0 ppg) and scoring defense (TCU 13.5 ppg, BU 12.4 ppg).
Both teams are equally proficient in either mode of attack, with TCU averaging
196.2 ypg on the ground and another 320 ypg through the air. Quarterback
Trevone Boykin is a 61.5 percent passer, who has thrown for 1,176 yards, 10
touchdowns and only two interceptions. Five different players have double-
digit catches on the season, led by Josh Dotson with 19 grabs for 212 yards
and three scores. Boykin is also the club’s leading rusher, having amassed 260
yards on 51 carries, while B.J. Catalon has 220 yards on 46 totes. The two
have combined for seven of the team’s nine rushing TDs.
Defensively, TCU is led by Paul Dawson and his 37 tackles, although Marcus
Mallett is hot on his heels with 36. Dawson also has three fumble recoveries
and a pair of INTs, as does Chris Hackett, the team logging a total of 12
takeaways. Overall, the Frogs are yielding just 106.8 ypg via the run and
172.5 ypg by way of the pass, and foes have scored only two TDs through the
air. TCU has been exceptional in crunch time, allowing only 28 percent of the
opposition’s third-down opportunities to be converted successfully.
Boykin threw for 318 yards and two TDs to help lead TCU past Oklahoma last
Saturday, as the Horned Frogs rolled up 469 yards of total offense. Boykin
added 77 yards on 22 carries, while Catalon tacked on 48 yards and a score on
only 11 attempts. He also had a receiving TD. Dotson caught a team-high six
passes for 76 yards, while Kolby Listenbee turned his five grabs into 103
Hackett, Dawson and Mallett all recorded double-digit tackles in the game, and
the first two also had INTs. Dawson returned his 41 yards for a TD at the
beginning of the fourth quarter to put the Frogs ahead to stay. It was
actually the second defensive TD in the game for TCU, which got a fumble
recovery less than five minutes in by Cliff Murphy. The Sooners wound up with
461 total yards, and the two teams combined for five turnovers, 19 penalties
and a dozen punts.
While obviously pleased with the outcome against Oklahoma, Patterson tried to
downplay the significance as his team prepared for the challenges ahead.
“We’re 4-0, 1-0 in the conference. We’ll get ready for Baylor, then we’ll get
ready for Oklahoma State and then we’ll get ready for Texas Tech. Right now,
we’re going to get ready for Baylor.”
Baylor has its own standout signal caller in Bryce Petty, the near-60 percent
passer who has thrown for 1,024 yards, nine TDs and only one INT. Also helping
the Bears to the highest scoring average in the FBS is talented RB Shock
Linwood, he of 449 yards and eight TDs. KD Cannon is the team’s top receiver
with 24 grabs for 527 yards and five scores, while Jay Lee has turned his 19
receptions into 294 yards and four TDs. In all, six players have at least 10
catches and four have multiple receiving TDs.
As good as the Baylor offense has been, the defense has kept pace in allowing
just 102 ypg on the ground and 165.2 ypg through the air. Opponents are moving
the chains on third down a mere 31 percent of the time, while the Bears have
allowed only seven visits to the red zone. Bryce Hager continues to pace the
unit with 29 tackles, while three others have at least 21. Orion Stewart has
three picks, and Xavien Howard two, the team as a whole logging just nine
takeaways. The Bears have recorded 19 sacks, with Shawn Oakman being credited
with five of them.
The Baylor-Texas game was close in the first half, with the Bears leading only
7-0 at intermission. After the break however, BU scored 21 points to seal the
deal, and it nearly pitched a shutout save for a late TD scored by the
Longhorns. Petty was anything but his usual self, as he completed only 7-of-22
passes for 111 yards, although he did have a couple of scoring strikes. He was
sacked three times, but even that stat didn’t take away from the outstanding
effort of Linwood and the Baylor rushing attack. Linwood tallied 148 yards and
a TD on 28 carries, with the team putting forth a collective effort that
resulted in 278 yards on the ground. Antwan Goodley was the leading receiver
with four catches for 69 yards and a score.
Texas tallied 190 rushing yards, but only 144 passing, as the Baylor defense
stood tall nearly the entire game. Stewart picked off a pair of passes and the
only score of the opening half came on a blocked field goal return of 62 yards
by the Bears’ Terrell Burt. Hager posted eight stops to lead the way.
They aren’t always going to be pretty, but a win is a win and Baylor head
coach Art Briles is happy his team came out on top last week. He compared last
year’s Big 12 championship team to this group.
“I think we are a better team than last year and that’s just the bottom line.
We are not where we need to be or have to be to have a chance to win the
conference again, but I do think we are a better football team than we were a
year ago at this time.”