8:00 PM ET, September 2, 2011
Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, TX
WACO, Texas -- Robert Griffin took the final snap and was swarmed by fans wearing Baylor gold.
One of the most-anticipated season openers in school history ended with a 50-48 victory over No. 14 TCU after almost turning into a monumental collapse.
Before Aaron Jones kicked the deciding 37-yard field goal with 1:04 left, Griffin had a 15-yard catch from star receiver Kendall Wright to convert a third and 10. That was probably the biggest pass play Friday night, even through Griffin threw a career-best five touchdown passes.
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"It's big to show we can come out and win a game like that," Griffin said.
TCU, which had won an FBS-best 25 consecutive regular-season games, overcome a 47-23 deficit in the fourth quarter to briefly take the lead after new starting quarterback Casey Pachall threw three touchdowns passes. A fumble by Griffin, the Bears' only turnover, set up a go-ahead 27-yard field goal by Ross Evans, who earlier missed twice from behind 40 yards.
While Griffin completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards, including 12 catches for 189 yards and two TDs by Wright, the throwback to Griffin came after two incompletions set up third down. Jones' kick wrapped up that 11-play, 60-yard drive.
"Honestly, it caught me off guard," Griffin said. "I didn't expect Coach to call that on third and 10. I'm glad he did. It worked. I'm still feeling that hit."
Yet, it feels so good after the Bears' first win over a ranked team since 2004.
"This is a good win for us against a quality opponent," coach Art Briles said. "But we've got nine TCUs coming up."
What A Difference A Year Makes
Robert Griffin III was shut down last year against TCU. He more than made up for it in the season opener to lead Baylor to its first win over a top 15 team since 1991.
Griffin Against TCU, Last 2 Seasons
The Frogs had one more chance, but Pachall's last pass was intercepted by Mike Hicks and he ran the clock down to 2 seconds before Griffin's final snap.
Baylor avoided another crushing loss to the defending Rose Bowl champion and its old Southwest Conference rival.
This would have certainly hurt more than the Bears' 45-10 loss in Fort Worth a year ago because Baylor was never in that game.
"You can't let six balls be thrown over your head and expect to win," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "You've got to give Baylor a lot of credit. You've got to understand that they did a good job, Robert Griffin and their receivers getting the ball over our head."
This is not the same TCU team that was a BCS buster the last two seasons. There are missing pieces on a defense that finished the last three seasons No. 1 overall in the country, and four-year starting quarterback Andy Dalton is now a rookie starter in the NFL.
Pachall was 25 of 39 for 251 yards and four TDs with that one interception. He threw to 10 players, with Josh Boyce making nine catches for 96 yards.
The only time Baylor appeared to be going backward before TCU's big comeback was when Wright was excitedly backpedaling after throwing his first pass, a 40-yard touchdown to Williams only 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Wright took a quick pass behind the line from Griffin, drawing the defender and leaving Williams wide open.
TCU allowed 54 points and seven touchdowns in five road games last season. On Friday, TCU allowed 50 points and seven touchdowns.
TCU Defense on Road Last 2 Seasons
TCU allowed only 229 yards per game last season, and the most allowed in the regular season was 361 by SMU. The Bears had 360 at halftime, when they led 34-23, and finished with 564.
"I'm used to winning and stopping people," Patterson said. "I've been telling you guys for almost six months that I've not been very happy with the defense."
It was the most yards and points allowed by the Horned Frogs since Sept. 24, 2005, in their 51-50 overtime victory over BYU, which had 614 yards.
Baylor was 0-4 against Top 25 teams last season, when the Bears finished 7-6 with a bowl appearance for the first time since 1994. Their last win over a ranked team was a double-overtime victory over No. 16 Texas A&M in 2004.
Griffin is back for his fourth year, though he is only listed as a junior after a hardship redshirt for a season-ending knee injury in 2009.
Baylor built a 40-23 lead when Griffin appeared to underthrow Lanear Sampson streaking down the left sideline. But cornerback Greg McCoy, who had some big kickoff returns for the Frogs, misplayed the ball and Sampson caught it for a 64-yard touchdown.
Griffin's fifth TD pass came on the next drive, a 42-yarder to Williams. And even that wasn't enough.
Pachall, the sophomore who threw only nine passes behind Dalton last season, threw two TDs in a span of 3:18 early in the fourth quarter.
The Frogs drove 80 yards on 14 plays before Pachall threw a 1-yarder to Logan Brock. Skye Dawson's 30-yard punt return and a 15-yard penalty then set TCU up at the 12 before Pachall had a 9-yard TD throw to Boyce and they then connected for a 2-point conversion.
After a short punt set TCU up at midfield, Pachall threw a 19-yard TD to David Porter. But another 2-point try to Boyce was incomplete.
Stansly Maponga caused and recovered a fumble by Griffin at the end of the 10-yard run that started the ensuing Baylor drive.
During one span in the first half, there were scores on six consecutive possessions -- three touchdowns by Baylor and two touchdowns and a field goal for TCU. Griffin threw TD passes of 35 and 27 yards to Wright during that span, and Pachall had a 23-yarder to Brock.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Baylor safety Mike Hicks intercepted a pass from TCU QB Casey Pachall in the final minute of regulation.
Gameball goes to... Robert Griffin III, who burst into the Heisman discussion with a 359-yard, five-touchdown performance.
Stat of the game... 2004. Baylor's last victory over a ranked opponent came against Texas A&M -- a 35-34 OT thriller -- on Oct. 30, 2004.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-16||4-10|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||0-0|
|TD||12:43||Terrance Williams 40 Yd Pass From Kendall Wright (Aaron Jones Kick)||0||7|
|TD||11:53||Casey Pachall 9 Yd Run (Pat Blocked)||6||7|
|TD||05:46||Matthew Tucker 4 Yd Run (Ross Evans Kick)||13||7|
|TD||03:02||Kendall Wright 35 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin III (Aaron Jones Kick)||13||14|
|FG||02:02||Ross Evans 44 Yd||16||14|
|TD||14:25||Kendall Wright 28 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin III (Aaron Jones Kick)||16||21|
|TD||12:32||Logan Brock 23 Yd Pass From Casey Pachall (Ross Evans Kick)||23||21|
|TD||11:42||Jordan Najvar 14 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin III (Pat Blocked)||23||27|
|TD||05:00||Terrance Ganaway 2 Yd Run (Aaron Jones Kick)||23||34|
|TD||08:49||Lanear Sampson 64 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin III (Pat Failed)||23||40|
|TD||06:10||Terrance Williams 42 Yd Pass From Robert Griffin III (Aaron Jones Kick)||23||47|
|TD||14:23||Logan Brock 1 Yd Pass From Casey Pachall (Casey Pachall Run For Two-Point Conversion)||31||47|
|TD||11:05||Josh Boyce 9 Yd Pass From Casey Pachall (Casey Pachall Pass To Josh Boyce For Two-Point Conversion)||39||47|
|TD||07:11||David Porter III 19 Yd Pass From Casey Pachall (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed)||45||47|
|FG||04:27||Ross Evans 27 Yd||48||47|
|FG||01:04||Aaron Jones 37 Yd||48||50|
TCU allowed 54 points and seven touchdowns in five road games last season. On Friday, TCU allowed 50 points and seven touchdowns.[+]
TCU Defense on Road Last 2 Seasons
TCU and Baylor combined for 98 points. In the previous 106 meetings between the teams, the schools had never combined for more than 77 points (Baylor won 56-21 in 1983). The 48 points scored by TCU were the most in series history for the Horned Frogs (47 points in 1968).
TCU only gave up 14 points in the first quarter once all of last season (11th game of the season against San Diego State).
ESPN Stats & Information