Friday night was a meeting between the preseason favorites to win the Big 12. It was a game many believed would be the matchup of the season to decide the Big 12 Champion and possibly a playoff berth. In that regards, and in many ways, this game was a disappointment. TCU with two losses, OU and OSU, was out of championship race and Baylor had only thin odds after their loss to OU. Injuries have hampered both teams. Among those injuries was TCU QB Trevone Boykin, who was without his usual explosive running ability. Baylor had lost two quarterbacks for the season, Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham, and was down to its third string QB Chris Johnson, who was starting his first collegiate game. The losses and injuries had reduced the appeal of the game from marquee matchup to second fiddle to the OU/OSU Bedlam game. Then the heavy rain came, along with temperatures in the high 30s, and a game that could have been an exciting matchup of high powered offenses slinging the ball downfield became a sloppily played slug fest highlighted by the ridiculous amount of punting by both teams. In the end, TCU prevailed, 28-21, in double overtime, taking away any chance for Baylor to three-peat as Big 12 champions and avenging last year’s 61-58 loss.
What to take away from Baylor’s performance
- It’s hard to take much away from this game as both teams, on both sides of the ball were severely impacted by the driving cold rain. With both teams hindered by the weather, and not able to run their offenses, the game did little to show fans much in regards to either team. Ultimately it just proved, again, that passing teams don’t fare well in rainy conditions.
- With the weather affecting all aspects of the game, the game came down to who made the fewest mistakes. Baylor lost this game because of turnovers. TCU had two and Baylor had five turnovers, including a fumble by QB Chris Johnson that was run back for a touchdown. Considering that the score at the end of regulation was 14-14, that fumble was the difference between winning and losing. Baylor will need to do a better job of holding on to the ball if they want to finish out the season with a victory.
- The impact of injuries on this game cannot be underestimated. In addition to the previously mentioned impact of having to start Chris Johnson because of the injuries to Russell and Stidham, there were other injuries that hurt Baylor. The most significant was to Shock Linwood. In a game decided on the ground, having your best running back hobbled is never ideal. With Linwood limited, Devin Chafin stepped up to take the brunt of the running load and had his best performance in an otherwise injury plagued season. Chafin rushed 26 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally Chafin had a reception for 4 yards and a touchdown, meaning he accounted for all of Baylor’s scoring in the game.
In the season finale for the Bears, they’ll face off against the University of Texas. This is a game in which every Baylor coach and player will be praying for better weather. UT’s loss to Texas Tech means that UT is guaranteed a losing season and has no chance to reach a bowl game. It will be senior day for the Bears in front of the home crowd at McLane Stadium. It will be interesting to see how each team deals with the disappointment of the losses this week. Will Baylor rally and finish strong, or will an underdog Texas rebound to add further frustration to the Bears season? Watch next week to find out…