No. 4 TCU stays unbeaten on last-gasp field goal to beat Baylor 29-28

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 win over Baylor.

TCU (11-0) ran the ball on third-and-7 with 22 seconds to go without any timeouts remaining. The run by Emari Demercado didn’t get a first down and TCU had to run the field goal team onto the field as the clock ticked toward zero.

The ball was snapped with around three seconds to go and Kell’s kick went right down the middle to keep the Horned Frogs' hopes of making the College Football Playoff alive and well.

The Horned Frogs found themselves trailing by two after Demercado scored with 2:07 to go. TCU had to go for two and the tie after the TD because Kell missed an extra point earlier in the game to snap a streak of 77 straight made extra points.

Duggan threw a pass to Demercado on a play that looked like it would tie the game. But the pass was just a little too far to the right and bounced off the outstretched hand of the running back.

TCU had all three timeouts after the TD and got the ball back after Baylor ran the ball on all three of its offensive plays and failed to get a third down. QB Blake Shapen appeared to have a receiver wide open over the middle on third down, but decided to tuck it and run. He came up two yards short of the first down.

The Horned Frogs got the ball back with 94 seconds to go and quickly made it to midfield. After Duggan picked up a crucial first down on a run, TCU’s clock management looked incredibly suspect. But coach Sonny Dykes sounded very calm about the situation after the game and said the third-down run by Demercado was by design to put Kell on his preferred hashmark for the game-winning kick.

WACO, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Sonny Dykes of the TCU Horned Frogs  celebrates with linebacker Zach Marcheselli #34 of the TCU Horned Frogs after the Horned Frogs beat the Baylor Bears 29-28 at McLane Stadium on November 19, 2022 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
WACO, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Sonny Dykes of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates with linebacker Zach Marcheselli #34 of the TCU Horned Frogs after the Horned Frogs beat the Baylor Bears 29-28 at McLane Stadium on November 19, 2022 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Kendre Miller and Quentin Johnston left the game

TCU played the end of the game without star offensive players Quentin Johnston and Kendre Miller and receiver Derius Davis didn’t play at all on Saturday. Johnston re-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 into Duggan's and Demercado’s hands. And they did exactly what they needed to do. Duggan finished the game 24-of-35 passing for 327 yards and rushed for 50 yards. Taye Barber and Savion Williams stepped up at wide receiver in the final minutes and finished with nine catches combined for 162 yards.

While the win wasn’t pretty — just like 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 was the second time in three weeks that the Horned Frogs found themselves trailing in the second half. TCU trailed in the second half before beating Texas Tech, 34-24, at home and was also down at points in the second half to both Kansas State and Oklahoma State before coming back to win those games.

The No. 15 Wildcats are likely to be TCU’s opponent in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 3 and, if they win out, will be another key opponent for TCU’s College Football Playoff chances. Even if TCU somehow loses at home to Iowa State on the final week of the regular season, a second win over Kansas State and a Big 12 title should be enough to keep TCU in the playoff at 12-1.