Baylor-TCU grades: Horned Frogs defense shuts down Bears
As Baylor faced off with TCU, a high scoring contest was expected. But with a first-time starting QB on one side, a QB recovering from injury on the other, and some inclement weather conditions to top things off, it was the defenses shined in this one, with TCU ending any hopes Baylor had of a College Football Playoff appearance in a 28-21 two-overtime win.
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the game:
– It’s been a tough year for Baylor at the quarterback spot, with the injury to Seth Russell a cruel blow to their season hopes. True freshman backup Jarrett Stidham played quite well in his absence, but then he too was lost for the season to injury. Those hoping that Chris Johnson would perform well in the inclement weather conditions were sorely disappointed, as he had an incredibly difficult day where he completed just seven passes for 62 yards. The team tried to limit what was asked of him, but he couldn’t get anything going, and on the seven occasions he threw the ball deep, TCU caught more balls (one) than Baylor. He earned an awful -11.7 grade that wasn’t just about his poor throwing, but also his three fumbles.
– Safety Taion Sells (+3.3) had himself an extremely active day, leading the team with 11 tackles, five of which were defensive stops. He showed a real nose for sniffing out the ball-carrier behind the line of scrimmage, as he picked up two tackles for a loss. His only negatives on the night were a couple of dropped interceptions that could have proved big in what was largely a field-position game.
– It’s been another year in which defensive tackle Andrew Billings (+2.5) has enhanced his draft stock, and while he didn’t hit many high notes rushing the passer (which can be tough when you’re predominantly part of a three-man rush), he was, as ever, extremely active against the run. Sure, the tackles weren’t there, but his ability to either penetrate a-gaps or overpower linemen was crucial in slowing TCU runners down in the backfield.
CB Xavien Howard (+3.4)
S Taion Sells (+3.3)
NT Andrew Billings (+2.5)
G Jarrell Broxton (+2.3)
RB Devin Chafin (+2.2)
TCU Horned Frogs
-After missing the defeat to Oklahoma with an ankle injury, Trevone Boykin returned to the starting lineup, but as the grade (-5.1) shows he didn’t enjoy it all that much. In tough conditions he can consider the box score (two touchdowns, one pick and 148 yards) a little generous, as he had four other passes that should have been picks but were dropped by defenders. He clearly has a problem with his ball location on deep passes, and without star wide receiver Josh Doctson (out for the year with a wrist injury) available to bail him out with some impressive catches, it really showed up.
-It was a big day for defensive tackle Davion Person (+6.6), who, despite playing a mammoth 87 snaps, really didn’t let up all game. He made plays no matter what the Baylor offense was doing, with his forced fumble and recovery a clear highlight. He ended the day with two sacks, a hurry and seven defensive stops, showing off a relentlessness and motor that was eye-catching.
-Person wasn’t the only defensive player who stood out. Linebacker Travin Howard (+6.3) also had himself a monster game, with 10 defensive stops highlighting just how active he was versus the run. Given that he has only graded in the green in run defense once this year (representing a good or very good performance), we can say he enjoyed playing what was a one-dimensional Bears offense. He made a lot of plays.
DT Davion Pierson (+6.6)
LB Travin Howard (+6.3)
CB Julius Lewis (+4.1)
S Nick Orr (+3.9)
T Joseph Noteboom (+3.4)