WACO, Texas (AP) — Griffin Kell threw a 40-yard field goal on the final play of the game, and fourth-ranked TCU beat Baylor 29-28 on Saturday, scoring nine points in the final 2:07 to avoid a another potential playoff loss on the banks of the Brazos River.
Emari Demercardo scored on a 3-yard TD run with 2:07 left to get the Frogs (11-0, 8-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP) within 28-26, but he wasn’t able to make a pass on the 2-point conversion attempt.
After kicking deep, TCU used all three of their timeouts while forcing a three and one out, and got the ball back at their 31 with 1:34 to go. Max Duggan converted a third with a 12-yard run on a quarterback draw, and after Demercardo’s third down against the Baylor 23, the placement unit rushed onto the field with the clock running . The kick from Kell, who had previously tried to score an extra point on the upright, went over time.
TCU, which previously clinched a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game, hasn’t gone this deep in a season undefeated since 2010, when it finished 13-0 with a Rose Bowl win and the No. ° 2.
When the Frogs first played at McLane Stadium in 2014, after the facility opened, they lost 61-58. It was their only loss that season, and they went on to share the Big 12 title with Baylor. They were the first two teams not to participate in the inaugural four-team college football playoffs.
Baylor (6-5, 4-4) was coming off a 31-3 loss at home to Kansas State a week earlier, but last year’s Big 12 champions took a 28-20 lead after a pair of real freshmen scored touchdowns early in the fourth quarter: 12-yard catch from tight end Kelsey Johnson and 1-yard run from Richard Reese.
Duggan completed 24 of 35 passes for 327 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for a score while leading the Frogs with 50 rushing yards on eight carries. Kendre Miller had a rushing TD in his 12th straight game, a 2-yard rush early in the second quarter that tied it at 14.
Baylor’s Blake Shapen passed 21 of 30 for 269 yards and a score, while Craig “Sqwirl” Williams rushed for 112 yards. Monaray Baldwin had six catches for 123 yards, including a 74-yard gain on third-and-11 that set up Reese’s TD with 9:47 left.
TCU got its first lead when Duggan hit a wide-open Gunnar Henderson for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, one play after the two connected for 20 yards. It was 20-14 after Kell’s failed PAT.
TCU: Another comeback for the Frogs, who last month overcame double-digit second-half deficits against Oklahoma State and Kansas State. They’ve had several players struggling with flu-like symptoms over the week, and first receiver Quentin Johnston appears to be bumping his ankle again. Yet Duggan and the Frogs never wavered.
Baylor: The Bears never really struggled to move the ball, racking up 501 total yards, 232 rushing. On their first practice, they had 56 rushing yards — twice as much as Texas had all game against TCU a week earlier. But they missed a chance to take the lead at halftime when Shapen’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Bud Clark with 4 seconds left after going for 76 yards on 11 plays.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY
TCU will remain in the top four in the AP poll on Sunday and is still expected to be in the all-important top four in the new CFP rankings on Tuesday.
TCU wraps up the regular season at home against Iowa State next Saturday.
Baylor plays Texas on Friday.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the PA college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2