Josh Hoover threw for 412 yards with two touchdowns to tight end Jared Wiley, Emani Bailey had two long TD runs and TCU snapped a three-game losing streak with a 42-17 victory over instate rival Baylor on Saturday.
TCU (5-6, 3-5), last year’s national runner-up, now has a chance to finally get bowl eligible in its regular-season finale Friday (Nov. 24) at 14th-ranked Oklahoma.
“That’s a big thing for us. Nobody in this locker room is ready for the season to be over,” Wiley said. “Nobody wants it to end on Friday. And having this momentum going into a big week to fight for bowl eligibility, that’s a really big deal.”
Hoover completed 24 of 29 passes for his fourth game with at least 300 yards in five starts since taking over for injured Chandler Morris. The redshirt freshman also had his first rushing touchdown with a 3-yard score that made it 28-17 late in the third quarter.
“He just gets better every game. I mean more comfortable, makes better decisions, gets on the same page more with receivers,” TCU coach Sonny Dykes said. ”Excited about next week and going and playing against a great Oklahoma team and a big challenge … I’m ready to see the continued maturation and growth from Josh.”
Morris, who has been out with a sprained MCL in his left knee, came in late and completed 2 of 4 passes for 19 yards. Dykes said Morris had a bit of a setback in practice this week, but is closer to being fully healthy.
Baylor (3-8, 2-6), which lost its fourth game in a row, had a 7-0 lead on Blake Shapen’s 10-yard TD pass to Dominic Richardson after Bailey fumbled at the Bears 2 on TCU’s opening drive. Caden Jenkins recovered and returned it to the 31, setting up the 11-play scoring drive.
The Frogs got even on Bailey’s 27-yard TD run in the second quarter, and went ahead to stay when Hoover hit Wiley in stride alone near the TCU 40 and the 6-foot-7, 260-pound tight end went untouched to the end zone on the 81-yard score. Wiley was wide open just beyond the line of scrimmage after halftime for his 28-yard score, and Bailey added a 31-yard TD run.
Baylor: The Bears dropped to 23-24 overall for fourth-year coach Dave Aranda. They have lost 12 of their last 15 games overall.
TCU: The Horned Frogs avoided their first four-game losing streak since 1998. They have won four in a row and eight of nine in the series against Baylor that dates back to 1899, and is now the most-played college football rivalry in the state of Texas at 119 games — one more than Texas-Texas A&M. Student body leaders from both schools announced Nov. 13 that they had given the rivalry game an official name, the Bluebonnet Battle, and unveiled a new trophy to be claimed by the winner.