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TCU Pulls Away In The Second Half To Secure Spot in Big 12 Championship

TCU once again dominated the second half, and earned a spot in the Big 12 Championship.

Getty Images - Tom Pennington

TCU Pulls Away In The Second Half To Secure Spot in Big 12 Championship

As has been the case throughout the season, TCU’s defense stepped up when they needed to. TCU’s defense only allowed three points in the second half, and the TCU offense put up 24 second half points to secure the 45-22 victory for TCU.

The beginning of the game started out about as well as any Baylor fan could have hoped for. On the opening kickoff TCU received a penalty that put them back on their own 8 yard line. On second down Baylor brought a blitz and knocked the ball loose from Kenny Hill. TCU was fortunate that offensive lineman Lucas Niang was able to jump on it instead of a Baylor player. It wasn’t ideal for TCU, but giving up two points instead of nine points was a small victory.

Hardly thirty seconds into the game, and Baylor was up 2-0.

TCU kicked off after the safety, and looked to get settled on defense. Instead Baylor decided to further their lead. On the second play of the drive Charlie Brewer found Blake Lynch for a 54 yard touchdown. 94 seconds had run off the clock, and Baylor was leading 9-0 on the road.

After being forced into a three and out, the TCU defense decided to help their offense out. Baylor started with the ball on their 14 yard line. On first down Charlie Brewer raced up the middle on a quarterback run. He was caught from behind by defensive end Matt Boesen who forced the ball loose. Safety Nick Orr recovered and TCU’s offense took over at the Baylor 25 yard line. Five plays later, Kyle Hicks punched it in from four yards out.

After exchanging punts, TCU began one of their more methodical drives of the game. Officially it took eight plays and 78 yards before Kenny Hill found Jarrison Stewart for a seven yard touchdown reception. However, TCU was aided on the drive by two Baylor penalties. The touchdown pass put the Horned Frogs up 14-9 with 26 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

After forcing another punt, TCU continued their success on offense with a six play, 91 yard drive. TCU used the big play on this drive moving up the field on gains of 26, 17, and 17. Sewo Olonilua finished off the drive on a 32 yard touchdown run.

TCU now led 21-9, and although Baylor would get things close, TCU would lead for the rest of the game.

Baylor responded though before the half was over. Brewer found Tristan Ebner for a 58 yard touchdown reception, and Connor Martin hit a 48 yard field goal as the half expired. Heading into halftime TCU held a narrow lead of 21-19 over the Bears.

As has been the case for most of the year, TCU made incredible second half adjustments. Baylor received the ball to start the half, and on third down Brewer was intercepted by linebacker Ty Summers. TCU started with the ball on the Baylor 33 yard line, and three players later they would score.

On first and ten Kenny Hill found Desmon White for a 14 yard touchdown reception. It was a great bit of effort from White who had to fight through some tacklers to make his way into the end zone. TCU now led 28-19.

Charlie Brewer showed why he is going to give Big 12 defenses headaches moving into the future on the next drive. Brewer executed a perfect read option play. Brewer saw Matt Boesen crashing down on the running back, pulled the ball, and raced up the field for a 51 yard run. It was a great effort by Sammy Douglas to track down Brewer. It would turn out to be a four point play, as Baylor was forced to kick a field goal just three plays later.

These were the first points that any team has scored on TCU in the second half in six games. It would also be the last points of the game that Baylor scored.

After exchanging punts, TCU began with the ball on their own eleven yard line. The big play on this drive was the scoring play. It was a perfectly executed screen pass from Hill to Jalen Reagor. Reagor has world-class speed, and once he got a great block from Ty Slanina upfield, he was off to the races. TCU now led 35-22.

After forcing Baylor to punt, TCU would make quick work of their next drive. The Hill led offense would go 64 yards in four plays to extend their lead 42-22. Kenny Hill would take this one in himself on a three yard keeper.

TCU would add a field goal on their next drive to make it 45-22. From there the TCU defense would take over. They would force two punts, and seal the game with an interception of backup quarterback Zach Smith.

With the win TCU secured their spot in the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma next week in Arlington, TX.

TEAM STATS

MATCHUP BU TCU
1st Downs 14 25
3rd Down Eff 3-14 5-14
4th Down Eff 0-0 0-1
Total Yards 393 437
Passing 314 325
Comp-Att 21-34 26-36
Yards Per Pass 9.2 9.0
Interceptions 2 0
Rushing 79 112
Rush Att 29 36
Yards Per Rush 2.7 3.1
Fumbles Lost 1 0
Penalties 10-75 3-23
Possession 27:14 32:46
PASS LEADERS C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT QBR
BU – C. Brewer 19/29 301 15.8 2 1 94.2
TCU – K. Hill 26/36 325 12.5 3 0 127.6
RUSH LEADERS CAR YDS AVG TD LONG
BU – C. Brewer 9 49 5.4 0 51
TCU – S. Olonilua 10 71 7.1 1 32
RECEIVING LEADERS REC YDS AVG TD LONG
BU – B. Lynch 4 110 27.5 1 54
TCU – J. Stewart 6 72 12.0 1 33

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

Matt Boesen was unstoppable for TCU. The senior defensive end had 5.5 sacks, which is a TCU single game record. On top of that Boesen forced the fumble that gave TCU great field position for their first score.

Charlie Brewer is really good. He isn’t just good for a freshman, he is flat-out good. Brewer made a few perfect throws on the day, making it nearly impossible for defenders to do anything but whiff at the ball. He also showcased an ability to run, which is something that Zach Smith doesn’t do. I’d put money on Brewer being the trigger man for the Bears for the next couple years.

In an unusual move, the referees gave every single player for both teams an unsportsmanlike penalty. This came after a fight broke out near the Baylor sideline. It was a bad look for both teams, and TCU will be hoping that the Big 12 office doesn’t hand down any further discipline before their game next week.

The Big 12 refs didn’t have the best day today. It seemed that they were intent on getting screen time in the first half. They also missed a number of calls against both teams, but some particularly bad ones that hurt Baylor.

Props to Jarrison Stewart for leading TCU in receiving on the day. Coming into the game Stewart had one reception on the season for twelve yards. TCU is known to rotate receivers with regularity, and Kenny Hill likes to spread the ball around, so its nice when a guy that has been in the program for a few years finally breaks out.

With the win against Baylor, TCU will finish the season undefeated at home with a perfect 6-0 record. Additionally, TCU is has now reached 10 wins in a season for the third time in four years.

Baylor finishes their 2017 season with a 1-11 record under first year head coach Matt Rhule. Despite what their record says, I believe that Baylor is in good hands with Matt Rule. He inherited an incredibly difficult situation, but this team never gave up. Even late in the fourth quarter against TCU the Baylor defense was still swarming to the ball. That shows buy in from his team. I expect Baylor to continue to take steps in the right direction heading into 2018.

TCU is now 10-2, and will face off against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday December 2nd. The game will take place in Arlington, TX.

This is the first time the Big 12 has had a conference championship game in seven years. It will be TCU’s 1st appearance in the Big 12 championship game. On the other sideline Oklahoma will be appearing in their ninth Big 12 championship game.

Shortly after the game, TCU announced that head coach Gary Patterson has had his contract extended two more years until 2024.

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