FORT WORTH, Texas -- The words of TCU coach Gary Patterson pretty much summarized the thinking of everyone watching the Horned Frogs battle Baylor in an unyielding rainstorm at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Friday night.
"It's frustrating," Patterson said. "Because you have the end of the year, two very good teams, and you want everyone to see the best of everything. [But] today was a survival game. Who is going to make the least mistakes and who is going to finally make a couple of plays?"
That team was TCU.
The Horned Frogs got a measure of redemption against the Bears with a 28-21 double-overtime win, securing a 10-2 regular season and knocking No. 7 Baylor out of College Football Playoff contention. Baylor was the only team to defeat TCU a year ago with its 61-58 win playing a major role in keeping the Horned Frogs out of the first edition of the College Football Playoff.
In a downpour that continued throughout the game, neither of the Big 12's most explosive offenses managed to do much, with Baylor and TCU holding each other under four yards per play; each offense entered the game averaging over seven yards per play. (Baylor's 7.93 yards per play leads the Big 12, and TCU's 7.15 yards per play ranks second.) TCU finished the game averaging 3.8 yards per play, and Baylor managed only 3.5 yards per play as the endless rain overwhelmed everything each offense attempted.
"We knew we had to fight through the weather, the adversity and just play football," said quarterback Trevone Boykin, who gutted through the game despite an ankle injury that had kept him sidelined for the Horned Frogs' Nov. 21 loss to Oklahoma.
It looked nothing like the Big 12 football we've become accustomed to. The rain turned the highly anticipated Revivalry into a battle of field position as TCU had 10 straight punts to end regulation, and Baylor had 17 straight scoreless possessions after opening the game with back-to-back touchdown drives.
"It was a real dogfight," said defensive end Josh Carraway, who had a critical 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown to tie the score in the second quarter and score the final points of regulation. "We were on our toes for the entire game."
TCU finally separated itself in the second overtime. After both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime, Boykin led TCU on another scoring drive, capping it with a 8-yard pass to a wide-open KaVontae Turpin.
"We knew we weren't clicking in the beginning, but we'd have to be in it in the end," Boykin said of the offense's effort.
The defense then sealed the win, stuffing Baylor on fourth-and-one at the TCU 16 to end the game and ignite a postgame celebration that included the Horned Frogs' student section storming the field.
The game-sealing play was a perfect portrayal of TCU's season. True freshman cornerback Julius Lewis, called into action because of various injuries throughout the season, knifed in to stop Baylor's Devin Chafin behind the line on a play that's not exactly a mainstay in Patterson's defensive playbook.
"We called a play we hadn't worked on all week. We brought one of our corners off the edge and he was able to get ahold of his legs," Patterson said. "I guess practice is overrated."
The resilient nature of Friday's win was reminiscent of the resilient nature of TCU's entire season. Five of TCU's 10 wins were by seven points or fewer as TCU continually fought its way into the win column.
"Coach P always says just find a way," running back Kyle Hicks said. "A game like this shows how close our locker room is. All the downs we had this year, we never gave up. We just kept fighting, this team is something special. There's something special about this group."
The win gave TCU back-to-back seasons with double-digit victories after a disappointing 4-8 season in 2013.
"Having a 10-win season is awesome," Boykin said. "All the adversity we've been through, to be able to find 10 wins is just crazy. It's a blessing to still be standing with a 10-win season."