Hoover, Wiley lead TCU to blowout win over rival Baylor

TCU continued its recent domination of rival Baylor with a 42-17 victory on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

The Horned Frogs (5-6, 3-5) have won eight of the last 10 games against the Bears (3-8, 2-6) and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process.

The last few matchups have featured plenty of late game dramatics, but those weren’t necessary this time as Josh Hoover led TCU to its best offensive game in more than a month.

Hoover excelled in every phase as he showcased his arm talent, mobility and sound decision making. The redshirt freshman threw for 429 yards, accounted for three touchdowns and had no turnovers in arguably his best game as a starter.

Despite his play, it was still a close game late in the third quarter with the Bears only trailing 21-17. Facing a third-and-long, Hoover picked up 22 yards with his legs and eventually capped the drive off with a three-yard touchdown run, the first rushing touchdown of his career.

After a clutch fourth down stop, Hoover orchestrated another touchdown drive as his long completion to Jared Wiley set up a short touchdown by Trey Sanders that made it 35-17 with 10:27 remaining in the game. With Baylor’s offensive shortcomings the deficit was too much to overcome as TCU pulled away.

Hoover’s hot start

The quarterback was locked in from the first snap as his accuracy shined against a Baylor secondary, ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 in passing yards allowed. Hoover completed his first eight passes in a row including his first three going for first downs on the Horned Frogs’ opening drive.

Hoover attacked all levels of the Baylor defense, hitting a number of intermediate and short routes to soften the Baylor defense. Midway through the second quarter, Hoover hit a wide open Jared Wiley on a seam route for an 81-yard touchdown that made it 14-7 with 6:04 remaining. Hoover finished the first half 13-of-14 with 215 yards and the touchdown throw.

Hoover was just as excellent in the second half as he went 11-of-15 after halftime and spread the ball out to different receivers. He hit Savion Williams for a 41-yard gain on a beautiful pass on a go route, he found a rhythm with Major Everhart late in the game and continued to feed Jared Wiley after the break. As well as Hoover played against BYU, this game was even better as he finally avoided having a turnover for the first time this season.

He finished 24 of 29.

Wiley’s career day

For a second straight week a TCU receiver set career-highs. This time it was tight end Jared Wiley. Wiley was Hoover’s go-to target and the senior made the most of every opportunity. After his 81-yard touchdown put TCU ahead in the first half, Wiley added another highlight score in the third quarter.

With the Horned Frogs facing third-and-25 in Baylor territory, Hoover hit Wiley on a short underneath route and the 6-foot-7 tight end did the rest of the work. He cut up field, shed a tackle and eventually hurdled over a defender for a 28-yard touchdown that made it 21-10 with 11:36 remaining in the third quarter.

Wiley added two more receptions after his second touchdown including a 25-yard gain on second-and-14 that set up a Trey Sanders touchdown for a 35-17 lead to start the fourth quarter. The seven receptions, 178 yards and two touchdowns were all career-highs for the senior playing his final game at the Carter.

Timely run game

The TCU rushing attack wasn’t great most of Saturday despite facing a defense that allows almost 190 rushing yards per game. The offensive line struggled in short-yardage scenarios and Emani Bailey was hit in the backfield numerous times, but Bailey was still able to make key plays when he needed.

It was Bailey who tied the game at 7 as he eluded a free rusher in the backfield and raced 27 yards for his first quarter touchdown. Then in the fourth quarter on the first play after the defense got a fourth down stop Bailey had nearly identical touchdown run. He made a defender miss near the line of scrimmage and then ran 31 yards for his second touchdown of the day.

Bailey finished the game with 53 yards on 16 carries with two scores. On the season Bailey has 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns.

Red zone issues continue in first half

The first half was closer than it needed to be due to TCU struggling to produce points once they got inside the Baylor 20. After a defensive stop, the offense marched down the field with ease and reached the Baylor 2-yard line. The Horned Frogs were about to take the lead until Emani Bailey was hit in the backfield and fumbled with Baylor recovering at their 31.

The Bears would turn the costly turnover into points. TCU marched down the field again and got to the Bears 6, facing a 3rd-and-1. The third down rush was stuffed and then the Horned Frogs tried an ill-advised wide receiver reverse to Savion Williams that was blown up. An offense that ranks near the bottom of the NCAA in red zone offense had two drives inside the Baylor 10 that resulted in zero points.

It’s a credit to the defense that the Horned Frogs were able to take a 14-10 lead into halftime as the offense once again needed time to get out of its own way. TCU was better in the second half with two touchdowns scored inside the the five-yard line.