In the greatest comeback since George Washington and the American colonies defeated Britain in the Revolutionary War, Baylor came from three touchdowns behind in the fourth quarter to shock TCU with a 61-58 win. Quarterback Bryce Petty was the difference maker in this one as he threw for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns in the win which kept the Bears in the race for the Big 12 championship.
They are also alive for the first ever four-team playoff for the national college football championship. The fifth-ranked Bears improved their season record to 6-0 and conference mark to 3-0.
Petty told ABC sportscasters before the game this is the first time he’s felt completely healthy all year since a back injury he suffered against SMU in the season opener. He was also quoted as saying he was reconciled to his injury situation, saying that if it was God’s will that he stay healthy then he would.
But Petty shook off any after effects of his injury when he led the comeback after the Frogs surged to a 58-37 lead early in the fourth quarter. Baylor fans in brand new McLane Stadium began to feel hope as Petty led the Bears back with a 92-yard touchdown drive featuring running back Shock Linwood to cut the deficit to 58-44. Burkburnett’s Devin Chafin powered over from seven yards out to paydirt to climax the drive.
There was still time left as the Baylor defense stopped the powerful TCU offense on the next series. When Baylor started its next drive from its own nine yard line sportscaster Todd Blackledge commented that if Baylor could make a 91-yard drive for another touchdown they’d only be behind by a single score. Petty made him look like a prophet as he loosened up his arm and hit several long passes culminating in a touchdown pass to lead the Bears to within 58-51. Petty fired a laser to All-American receiver Antwan Goodley for a 28-yard touchdown to complete that drive.
The Baylor defense then stopped TCU and forced them to punt again. Petty was once again on target as he led the Bears on the game-tying drive to knot the score at 58 apiece. Petty’s 25-yard touchdown pass to receiver Corey Coleman brought the Bears even. TCU still had time to win the game in regulation but the Bear defense once again tightened and forced a TCU punt.
Petty then orchestrated the game-winning drive which resulted in a field goal as time expired.
Boykin attempted a sideline fade to Josh Dotson that Baylor defensive back Ryan Reid broke up on fourth down to stop TCU’s last drive of the night with 1:11 left. Petty then engineered the final drive to the TCU eleven yard line which set up Chris Callahan’s game winning field goal.
Callahan kicked four field goals on the night to aid the Baylor cause.
Baylor’s extaordinary freshman wide receiver K.D. Cannon helped keep Baylor in the game in the first half by catching a bomb from Petty for a touchdown after TCU started the game with a 14-0 lead.
Baylor entered the game ranked No. 5 in the nation while TCU was No. 9 after its dramatic victory the week before in Fort Worth against then fourth-ranked Oklahoma.
With his six-touchdown, 512-yard passing performance, Petty should be a strong contender for the Heisman Trophy.
The committee which will decide which four teams are the best in the nation for the playoffs will not release its first poll until Oct. 25. Former Secretary of Defense Condoleeza Rice heads a blue ribbon panel which will decide which teams are worthy of making the Final Four.
Former football greats Archie Manning and Pat Haden are also on the committee.
Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN analyst, ranked Baylor No. 4 behind Mississippi State, Mississippi and Florida State following Saturday’s games. Baylor will face another rugged test when they travel east to West Virginia next week to play another team which can put points on the board.
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