If your head is still spinning from Baylor’s mind-boggling comeback against TCU, you’re joined by a large club that includes 46,803 fans at McLane Stadium and everyone who saw it on television.
You’ll have the same level of disbelief 20 or 30 years from now when you tell people what you witnessed on Oct. 11, 2014.
You’ll have to convince them you’re not exaggerating. Good luck on that one.
Scoring the last 24 points of the fourth quarter, the Bears stunned the Horned Frogs, 61-58, finishing it off with freshman kicker Chris Callahan’s 28-yard field goal as time expired.
In the first matchup of top 10 teams in Waco since 1956, this game exceeded the considerable hype. The combined 119 points were the most by two top 10 teams since the Associated Press poll began in 1936.
“These are wins you think about and dream about,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “But they very seldom happen.”
It wasn’t the first time Baylor rallied from a three-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter in the Briles’ era. Trailing 24-3 at Kansas in 2011, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III rallied the Bears to a 31-30 win in overtime.
After the game, I remember standing outside Baylor’s visiting locker room in Lawrence wondering if the walls were going to collapse. I think the Bears made more noise in their postgame celebration than the Kansas fans made all afternoon. They knew how big and unlikely that comeback was.
But as remarkable as that win was, it wasn’t against the No. 9 team in the country. It wasn’t against a defense as good as the one TCU put on the field. It wasn’t in a rivalry that spans 110 games dating back to 1899 that Baylor now leads 52-51-7.
Who would have believed that the Bears would score three touchdowns and a field goal in the final 10 minutes to overcome a 58-37 deficit?
After getting torched much of the afternoon by TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, who would have predicted that Baylor’s defense would hold the Horned Frogs scoreless on their final three possessions?
Who would have believed that the game-winning field goal would be nailed by a kicker who hit just one of six field goals coming into the game?
All of these elements added to the disbelief everybody witnessed Saturday in the just the third game in Baylor’s new $266 million home. There will be hundreds of more games played at McLane Stadium, but all of them will have a hard time topping this one.
Both Briles and quarterback Bryce Petty cited the decibel level of the fans in helping the Bears pull out the win.
“It was really loud in there the last couple of minutes, which is what a home-field advantage is supposed to give you,” Petty said. “It’s supposed to get (the visitors) rattled and nervous. I thought they did a great job the entire game.”
Petty gave his Heisman Trophy campaign a boost as he passed for a career-high 510 yards and tied the school record with six touchdown passes. He earned the Walter Camp and Athlon Sports national player of the week awards for his performance.
Return to Morgantown
The win gave the No. 4 Bears a 6-0 overall record and 3-0 Big 12 mark heading into a tough road game against West Virginia on Saturday in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are coming off a last-second win of their own as Josh Lambert drilled a 55-yard field goal to finish off a 37-34 thriller over Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Everybody remembers what happened in 2012 when the Mountaineers outgunned the Bears, 70-63, in a game that produced 1,507 offensive yards. Expect gaudy numbers again with Petty and West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett squaring off.
If the Bears had lost to the Horned Frogs, their shot at the four-team playoff for the national title would have taken a severe blow. Now they’re unbeaten and still on track halfway through the season with Top 25 opponents Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State still on the docket.
But Briles and his players understand how their comeback win over the Horned Frogs can propel them to bigger things.
“In my opinion every win is a statement because if you want to be in that conversation (for the playoffs) you have to win them all,” Briles said. “It just happened that there was a little more spotlight on this game than some of the others. What this does is put a lot of energy and confidence in our team.”