TCU kicker Griffin Kell ran onto the field with seconds left and kicked a game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired to keep the No. 4 Horned Frogs undefeated in a 29–28 victory over Baylor.
TCU (11-0) ran the ball on third and seventh with 22 seconds left with no timeouts left. Emari Demercado’s run did not get a first and TCU had to run the field goal team onto the field as the clock ticked toward zero.
The ball was snapped with about three seconds left and Kell’s kick went straight through the middle to preserve the Horned Frogs’ hopes of making the College Football Playoff alive and well.
The Horned Frogs trailed by two after Demercado scored with 2:07 left. TCU had to go for two and the tie after the TD as Kell missed an extra point earlier in the game to break a streak of 77 extra points in a row.
Duggan threw a pass to Demercado on a play that appeared to tie the game. But the pass was just a little too far to the right and bounced off the running back’s outstretched hand.
TCU had all three timeouts after the WL and got the ball back after Baylor ran the ball on all three offensive plays and failed to get a third down. QB Blake Shapen appeared to have a receiver wide open over the middle on third, but decided to tuck it away and run. He got to two meters behind the first down.
The Horned Frogs got the ball back with 94 seconds left and quickly moved into midfield. After Duggan picked up a crucial scoop on a run, TCU’s clock management looked incredibly suspect. But coach Sonny Dykes sounded very calm about the post-game situation, saying Demercado’s third down run was meant to put Kell on his favored hashmark for the game-winning kick.
Kendre Miller and Quentin Johnston exited the game
TCU played the end of the game without star forwards Quentin Johnston and Kendre Miller and receiver Derius Davis did not play at all on Saturday. Johnston again injured his right ankle on a Duggan interception in the second half and Miller left the game in the fourth quarter due to an apparent injury.
That put the end of the game in the hands of Duggan and Demercado. And they did exactly what they had to do. Duggan finished the game 24-of-35 passing for 327 yards and rushing for 50 yards. Taye Barber and Savion Williams stepped up as wide receivers in the closing minutes and finished with nine catches combined for 162 yards.
While the win wasn’t pretty — much as TCU’s win over Texas was a week ago — it should be enough to keep the Horned Frogs in the top four of the playoff rankings on Tuesday.
Saturday’s victory marked the second time in three weeks that the Horned Frogs fell behind in the second half. TCU trailed in the second half before beating Texas Tech 34-24 at home and also trailed both Kansas State and Oklahoma State in the second half before coming back to win those games.
The No. 15 Wildcats will likely be TCU’s opponent in the Big 12 title game on December 3 and, if they win, will be another key opponent for TCU’s College Football Playoff chances. Even if TCU somehow loses at home to Iowa State in the final week of the regular season, a second win over Kansas State and a Big 12 title should be enough to take TCU into the playoffs at 12-1. to keep.