Undefeated TCU, Baylor make statements in Sunflower State
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) TCU and Baylor made a pair of statements in the Sunflower State on Saturday.
The Horned Frogs showed their fortitude in a dramatic comeback win at Kansas State, while Baylor unleashed its score-a-second offense in a romp at Kansas. The results saw the teams switch spots in the new AP Top 25 poll - Baylor is No. 2, TCU No. 3.
But both remained unbeaten. Both stayed in the thick of the Big 12 title hunt. And both kept their national championship aspirations alive.
''Win and advance. Win and advance,'' said Bears coach Art Briles, whose team led the hapless Jayhawks 52-7 by halftime, before the starters got the second half off in a 66-7 victory.
''We understand that anything can happen on any given day and our job is to go out and perform at a championship level,'' Briles continued. ''There are trap games everywhere, there is one always sitting out there. We have to make sure we compete and execute.''
The Horned Frogs (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) were almost lured into a trap by the Wildcats.
TCU coach Gary Patterson had warned his players all week not to take them lightly, and was concerned when he noticed them joking and laughing through practice. But nobody was joking when coach Bill Snyder's injury ravaged crew raced to a 35-17 halftime advantage, energizing the 23rd straight sellout crowd at the stadium that bears his name.
But the Horned Frogs are a veteran bunch, and not surprisingly, it was a pair of seniors who managed to calm everyone else down and lead their comeback in a 52-45 victory.
Trevone Boykin added another page to his Heisman Trophy resume, throwing for 301 yards and two touchdowns while running for 124 yards and two more scores.
One of his runs, a 69-yard sprint with 6:07 left, gave TCU the lead. And his 55-yard pitch-and-catch with Josh Doctson with 1:10 remaining ultimately gave the Horned Frogs the win.
''You take it one play at a time, one drive at a time and one quarter at a time,'' said Boykin, who tied Andy Dalton's school record with his 21st consecutive game with a TD pass.
''In the first thirty minutes of the game, we were pretty much nonexistent,'' he said. ''We came back after halftime - we really did some soul searching and tried to find ourselves.''
They managed to do it just in time.
The 18-point comeback was TCU's largest since 2005, when it rallied from a 34-16 deficit to beat BYU 51-50 in overtime. The Horned Frogs have now scored 50 points in five straight games, and have won 14 straight overall, second to Ohio State's 19-game streak.
''I'm just trying to win,'' Patterson said. ''I'm not trying to be the number-one team in the nation. I'm just trying to be an undefeated team, and now I'm trying to beat Iowa State. That is all we can control. We cannot control the voters or anybody else.
''I'm tired of hearing about style points. It is hard just to win.''
Unless, of course, you're Baylor visiting Kansas.
The Bears (5-0, 2-0) were so efficient in building their lead that they actually finished with a season-low 644 yards of offense. Seth Russell threw for 246 yards and three scores, but by playing only half, he failed to throw at least four TD tosses for the first time in six starts.
It wasn't just Russell putting up gaudy numbers in a half. Shock Linwood ran for 135 yards and a touchdown, giving him 2,852 yards for his career, second-most in school history. And Corey Coleman had a pair of TD catches, giving him 26 for his career, third-most in Baylor history.
''Those guys are phenomenal at what they do,'' Kansas coach David Beaty said.
Lest anyone think Baylor can only put up points, its overlooked and underappreciated defense also managed to hold the Jayhawks scoreless on their final 13 drives.
''We're starting to come together,'' Russell said. ''We don't take any game for granted.''
They can probably take a couple for granted with struggling West Virginia and Iowa State up next. But then comes the four-game stretch that will define its season: at Kansas State, Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, and a trip to TCU on Nov. 11 that could decide the Big 12 title.
In the words of Briles, ''Win and advance. Win and advance.''
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org