TCU-Baylor: Steady Dalton vs. exciting Griffin
Steady senior Andy Dalton is the winningest active quarterback in college football's top tier, with 31 victories for fourth-ranked TCU.
Robert Griffin, the dual-threat second-time sophomore at Baylor, may be the most exciting.
Dalton and Griffin will be on the same field Saturday when the Frogs and Bears, former Southwest Conference rivals, play at sold-out Amon G. Carter Stadium.
For Dalton, this week provides the chance for a flashback to his first game - and victory - as a redshirt freshman in the 2007 season-opener. Dalton threw for 205 yards and a touchdown, and no interceptions, in a 27-0 victory over the visiting Bears the year before coach Art Briles and Griffin got to Baylor.
''I was young. It was a long time ago,'' Dalton said. ''I remember it pretty well. That was my first game so there was a lot of emotion, but it's a little bit different now playing the game. ... I'm a lot more confident now and know what I'm capable of doing.''
Dalton has since surpassed ''Slingin' Sammy'' Baugh as the winningest quarterback in TCU history and last season the Frogs finally became a BCS buster. The fourth-year starter is the TCU career leader in passing yards and completions.
The Frogs (2-0) have a 15-game winning streak at home. They have lost only six home games over 11 seasons.
Griffin, 6-8 in his Baylor starts, gets the chance to pull off a program-defining victory for the Bears, who haven't had a winning season since moving from the old SWC to the Big 12 in 1996.
''You try not to look at it that way,'' Griffin said. ''Every game is a challenge. You look at is as the next game on the schedule. You suit up and go play.''
The Bears, 2-0 for the first time in six seasons, are three-touchdown underdogs.
Griffin seems fully recovered from the torn ACL he sustained in his right knee during the third game last season. He is a sophomore again after the Big 12 approved a hardship waiver to restore a year of eligibility.
Griffin has had a hand in seven of Baylor's eight touchdowns so far this season. He threw for a career-high 297 yards in only three quarters last weekend against Buffalo, after throwing for 242 yards in the season opener. He threw two touchdowns in both games.
''He was really sharp, kept his composure really well early and just played with a lot of confidence,'' Briles said.
Plus, Griffin has already rushed for 86 yards and three TDs, helping put an end to the question of whether his knee is OK.
During his sensational freshman season as an 18-year-old in 2008, Griffin had 2,934 total yards and 28 touchdowns (15 passing, 13 rushing).
''He can run around. Obviously, he's a great athlete, probably a guy that some day may be able to go to the Olympic trials in the hurdles,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said. ''He can throw the football around, he makes good decisions. The team plays with a lot more confidence when he's on the field.''
Dalton, who has thrown for 357 yards and two TDs, has run for one more yard (87) than Griffin while matching him with three rushing TDs.
But Dalton isn't having to do as much on his own as Griffin. While Baylor has scored eight TDs, the Horned Frogs already have eight touchdowns which didn't directly involve their quarterback.
''Obviously playing quarterback, you want to be the best quarterback of the two teams,'' Dalton said. ''But you know when they've got a guy like him that they can score at any time, he can make big plays. So you've got to go out and be your best the whole time.''
As Frogs senior receiver Curtis Clay put it, ''I think Andy will be all right.''