FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Gary Patterson wasn’t on the sideline at a TCU game for the first time since 1997. The former Horned Frogs coach was watching from somewhere, and feeling proud.
Chandler Morris threw for 461 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for TCU and the Frogs beat No. 12 Baylor 30-28 on Saturday, six days after Patterson and the school mutually agreed to immediately part ways before completing his 21st season as head coach
“It was huge. I mean, I don’t know a team more deserving just everything we’ve been through this week obviously with Coach P, and we were fighting for him,” Morris said. “I mean, we deserved it. And I truly believe that.”
TCU (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) ended a three-game losing streak, and had lost five of its six previous games. The Frogs are now 22-22 since the start of 2018.
Baylor (7-2, 4-2, No. 12 CFP), which had its three-game winning streak snapped, was driving and past midfield after the Frogs missed a field goal attempt when linebacker Shadrach Banks intercepted a pass thrown by Gerry Bohanon with 1:03 left.
“Yesssssssssssssssss! Go Frogs!,” Patterson tweeted after the game. He showed up at practice this week, but said he wouldn’t attend the game.
Bohanon finished 14-of-20 passing for 214 yards with three TDs and two interceptions, and Abram Smith ran for 125 yards to go over 1,000 yards this season for Baylor. Tyquan Thornton had five catches for 121 yards and two TDs.
“Felt we were going to win it the entire time. I think our sideline did, too,” Aranda said. “Coming into the locker room, there’s a lot of guys just broken. I think that’s evidence of their belief. … Guys were fighting for it.”
Morris, a redshirt freshman who transferred from Oklahoma and is the son of former Arkansas and SMU head coach Chad Morris, completed 29 of 41 passes. He also led the Frogs with 70 yards rushing and a TD on 11 carries. Morris had taken over in the second half last week for Max Duggan, who had been playing with a fractured bone in his foot since getting hurt Oct. 9 at Texas Tech.
Patterson got to TCU as the defensive coordinator in 1998, then was promoted to head coach before the Mobile Alabama Bowl at the end of the 2000 regular season after Dennis Franchione left for Alabama. Patterson became TCU’s winningest head coach with his 181 wins.
Jerry Kill, the former Minnesota coach who was the best man in Patterson’s wedding and in an off-field role on his staff, took over as interim head coach.
“I have little to do with it. I credit the kids and the coaches that are on this staff. Gary Patterson and those people have built this program. I’ve been here or two years,” Kill said. “I’m just kind of a fill-in guy. I’m just so proud of those kids and the relentless effort that they played with.”
After TCU had an earlier field goal blocked and got the ball back on an interception in the end zone, the Frogs went 80 yards on 12 plays for a 30-21 lead on Morris’ 19-yard TD to Quentin Johnson with 11:59 left. Johnston had five catches for 142 yards, including a spectacular one-handed catch for 53 yards before the blocked field goal.
TCU took the lead for good on Griffin Kell’s third field goal, a 24-yarder a minute before halftime that made it 16-14.
Morris had the fourth-best passing total ever in a TCU game, and the first 400-yard game since Kenny Hill’s 446 yards against Oklahoma in 2016. Hill is now TCU’s quarterbacks coach. Morris finished with 531 total yards, the second-best in school history. And that doesn’t count a 7-yard reception he had.
“Unbelievable, to be honest with you. You know, he came in and he’s been telling us all year that he’s ready,” Johnston said. “His work ethic is unmatched, so he came out and did what he had to do. He exceeded my expectations, actually, which were pretty high.”
Baylor: The loss could really sting for the Bears, who are trying to get back to the Big 12 championship game for the second time in three seasons. Undefeated Oklahoma visits Waco next week. Baylor’s other loss was at No. 11 Oklahoma State, the only other team ahead of them in the Big 12 standings. After only one penalty the previous two games, Baylor had six penalties for 65 yards.
TCU: A huge relief for the Frogs and their fans, who stormed the field when the game ended. In what many expected to be a bounce-back season for the Frogs, they still have final three regular season games and then a bowl game to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1996 and 1997.
Baylor: The Bears are home next Saturday against fourth-ranked Oklahoma (9-0, 6-0), which will coming off its open date.
TCU: The Horned Frogs play their second game in a row against a ranked team, at No. 11 Oklahoma State next Saturday.