Then Robert Griffin III happened. The Bears blew a 24-point fourth-quarter lead after Griffin fumbled in his own territory with 6:54 left. Seconds later a TCU team that gave up 564 yards and its most points in six years kicked the go-ahead field goal to make the score 48-47.
"You don't want to fumble and then lose the game," Griffin said. Thank you, Baylor, for giving us, really, the first good game and first upset of the season. On a night where pretty much no one played defense, Griffin was pretty much unstoppable. He accounted for 50 of those 60 yards on that that final drive that ended with Aaron Jones' 37-yard field goal.
Casey Pachall, making his first career start, threw four touchdown passes for the Frogs. And an interception thrown on the last play of the game to seal it.
On Friday he played six and it showed.
"We waited 11 long months just to play them again," senior receiver Kendall Wright said. It hurt our coaches. Baylor hadn't beaten a higher-ranked team since 1991. Unleashed upon them, Wright, Baylor's all-time leading receiver, caught 12 Griffin for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Call Griffin a Terrelle Pryor with touch ... and brains. "Robert Griffin is the best quarterback in the nation," Baylor tailback Terrance Ganaway said. Junior college transfer cornerback Jason Verrett, making his first start, was twice beaten badly by Wright for touchdowns. The secondary veteran, senior corner Greg McCoy, whiffed so bad on a couple of Griffin's touchdown throws in the third quarter that he laid face down on the turf -- shamed as Baylor receivers scored.
"I [played in] 37 straight games and they have two that haven't even played. Would that be Griffin or God?
The man who took the Bears to the first bowl in 17 years completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and five touchdowns in the game. Every Griffin pass seemed to glide over the outstretched fingertips of TCU cornerbacks and into the waiting arms of a Baylor receiver.
While scrambling on a broken play, Griffin was blindsided by TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga, causing him to fumble. First, Baylor’s much-maligned defense held the Frogs to a field goal rather than giving up a touchdown. Then, the defense put it on their unquestioned leader to win the game.
As you saw, almost everybody scored touchdowns.”
Then BU head coach Art Briles reached into his bag of tricks and called a double pass in which Griffin threw laterally to Wright, who then found Griffin open in the middle of the field for a first down.
The win was revenge of sorts for Baylor, which got humiliated last season in Fort Worth by a veteran TCU squad, 45-10. After allowing 10 touchdown passes for all of 2010, the Frogs surrendered six in their first game. Gary Patterson played six true freshmen in Friday’s contest, tying a record for amount of first-year Frogs he’s played in any season during his tenure.
In superhero terms, Wright was the Robin to Griffin’s Batman. “We saw how Coach Briles works,” Wright said. Friday night's carnage resulting from the slicing and dicing of the Robert Griffin-led Baylor Bears offense, especially in Patterson's beaten secondary, was that gruesome, that shocking.
TCU's 50-48 loss to Baylor was its first in the regular season since 2008 and ended the Frogs' 13-game overall win streak and a nation-best 11-game road win streak. In the end, a revamped TCU team on both sides of the football will have to lick its wounds from two massive trick plays, on Baylor's opening touchdown drive and on its game-winning one. The latter gem had Wright completing a 15-yard pass to Griffin on third-and-10 from the Bears' 20.
On Baylor's impressive opening drive, Wright took the backward pass from Griffin and lobbed an easy pass over a confused defense to a wide-open Terrance Williams for a 40-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
We saw it against Kansas [last season]," Patterson said. Griffin threw a career-high five of them for 35 yards, 28, 14, 64 and 42 yards. After the game, Baylor students rushed the field, surrounded his and chanted, "Heisman!"
Griffin finished 21-of-27 for 359 yards. He and Wright combined to throw as many touchdowns as the Bears had incompletions. The Bears racked up 564 total yards, 360 in the first half for 34 points, against a defense that finished No. 1 in the nation in total defense the last three seasons.
One play later and Baylor scored again.
"That's what Baylor does," Patterson said. The last time TCU allowed 40 or more points in a game was a 51-50 overtime win at BYU in 2005. Baylor had 27 in the first 18:18 of the game.