Griffin, Baylor hold on for 50-48 win over TCU
Robert Griffin had already thrown a career-high five touchdown passes. So with Baylor down late after blowing a big lead, partly because of his fumble, the quarterback was caught a bit by surprise when the third-and-10 play called for him to be on the receiving end.
The throwback play worked perfectly for a first down, and helped the Bears pull off a season-opening 50-48 upset victory over 14th-ranked and defending Rose Bowl champion TCU on Friday night.
Star receiver Kendall Wright threw 15 yards to Griffin, who held on after taking a crushing blow in the middle of the field. A few plays later, Aaron Jones kicked a 37-yard field goal with 1:04 left to end TCU's 25-game regular-season winning streak that was the BCS's longest.
''I needed to make it happen to make up for what I did on the previous drive,'' said Griffin, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards. ''Honestly, it caught me off-guard. ... 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 felt so good when Griffin was able to take a final snap with 2 seconds left - after Mike Hicks intercepted a pass thrown by Pachall - and was immediately swarmed by fans wearing Baylor gold.
Instead of a monumental collapse in their most anticipated opener in a long time, the Bears got to celebrate their first win over a ranked team since beating No. 16 Texas A&M in double overtime seven years ago.
''Those are classic games, against a really good football team,'' Baylor coach Art Briles said. ''It just means that we're doing what we're supposed to do. This best not be the highlight of our season.''
The Bears, coming off their first winning season since 1995, have two weeks before they play their next game, Sept. 17 against Stephen F. Austin.
Wright, a former high school quarterback, threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams on the first drive of the game and later caught two TD passes. He finished with 12 catches for 189 yards, while Williams caught six passes for 126 yards and two scores.
''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 isn't the same TCU team that was a BCS buster the last two seasons. Certainly not the same defense.
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 and finished with 564. It was the most yards and points allowed by the Horned Frogs since September 2005, in a 51-50 overtime victory over BYU, which had 614 yards.
The Frogs also were without four-year starting quarterback Andy Dalton, now an NFL rookie starter after winning 42 games. But sophomore Casey Pachall competed 25 of 39 passes for 251 yards and four TDs, three in the fourth quarter when TCU overcame a 47-23 deficit to take a 48-47 lead on Ross Evans' 27-yard field goal.
Griffin's fumble, forced and recovered by Stansly Maponga, set up the field goal that put the Frogs ahead for the first time since early in the second quarter. But Evans also missed two kicks from beyond 40 yards, going wide left on the first and wide right on the second.
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. One of those losses was 45-10 against their former Southwest Conference rival.
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.
The Bears 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 three TD passes and a 2-point conversion in a span of 7:12 of the fourth quarter before Griffin's turnover.
''I thought they showed unbelievable class, unbelievable determination, the way we trained to come back in the third and fourth quarter to get back in that ballgame and go ahead,'' Patterson said. ''We were going to try an onside kick on that last kick, and I chickened out. It was there. I should have did it. We thought we could stop them one more time and we didn't do it.''