WACO, Texas -- Robert Griffin took the final snap and was swarmed by fans wearing Baylor gold.
One of the most-anticipated season openers in school history ended with a 50-48 victory over No. 14 TCU after almost turning into a monumental collapse.
Before Aaron Jones kicked the deciding 37-yard field goal with 1:04 left, Griffin had a 15-yard catch from star receiver Kendall Wright to convert a third and 10. That was probably the biggest pass play Friday night, even through Griffin threw a career-best five touchdown passes.
"It's big to show we can come out and win a game like that," Griffin said.
TCU, which had won an FBS-best 25 consecutive regular-season games, overcome a 47-23 deficit in the fourth quarter to briefly take the lead after new starting quarterback Casey Pachall threw three touchdowns passes. A fumble by Griffin, the Bears' only turnover, set up a go-ahead 27-yard field goal by Ross Evans, who earlier missed twice from behind 40 yards.
While Griffin completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards, including 12 catches for 189 yards and two TDs by Wright, the throwback to Griffin came after two incompletions set up third down. Jones' kick wrapped up that 11-play, 60-yard drive.
"Honestly, it caught me off guard," Griffin said. "I didn't expect Coach to call that on third and 10. I'm glad he did. It worked. I'm still feeling that hit."
Yet, it feels so good after the Bears' first win over a ranked team since 2004.
"This is a good win for us against a quality opponent," coach Art Briles said. "But we've got nine TCUs coming up."
The Frogs had one more chance, but Pachall's last pass was intercepted by Mike Hicks and he ran the clock down to 2 seconds before Griffin's final snap.
Baylor avoided another crushing loss to the defending Rose Bowl champion and its old Southwest Conference rival.
This would have certainly hurt more than the Bears' 45-10 loss in Fort Worth a year ago because Baylor was never in that game.
"You can't let six balls be thrown over your head and expect to win," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "You've got to give Baylor a lot of credit. You've got to understand that they did a good job, Robert Griffin and their receivers getting the ball over our head."
This is not the same TCU team that was a BCS buster the last two seasons. There are missing pieces on a defense that finished the last three seasons No. 1 overall in the country, and four-year starting quarterback Andy Dalton is now a rookie starter in the NFL.
Pachall was 25 of 39 for 251 yards and four TDs with that one interception. He threw to 10 players, with Josh Boyce making nine catches for 96 yards.
The only time Baylor appeared to be going backward before TCU's big comeback was when Wright was excitedly backpedaling after throwing his first pass, a 40-yard touchdown to Williams only 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Wright took a quick pass behind the line from Griffin, drawing the defender and leaving Williams wide open.
TCU allowed only 229 yards per game last season, and the most allowed in the regular season was 361 by SMU. The Bears had 360 at halftime, when they led 34-23, and finished with 564.
"I'm used to winning and stopping people," Patterson said. "I've been telling you guys for almost six months that I've not been very happy with the defense."
It was the most yards and points allowed by the Horned Frogs since Sept. 24, 2005, in their 51-50 overtime victory over BYU, which had 614 yards.
Baylor was 0-4 against Top 25 teams last season, when the Bears finished 7-6 with a bowl appearance for the first time since 1994. Their last win over a ranked team was a double-overtime victory over No. 16 Texas A&M in 2004.
Griffin is back for his fourth year, though he is only listed as a junior after a hardship redshirt for a season-ending knee injury in 2009.
Baylor built a 40-23 lead when Griffin appeared to underthrow Lanear Sampson streaking down the left sideline. But cornerback Greg McCoy, who had some big kickoff returns for the Frogs, misplayed the ball and Sampson caught it for a 64-yard touchdown.
Griffin's fifth TD pass came on the next drive, a 42-yarder to Williams. And even that wasn't enough.
Pachall, the sophomore who threw only nine passes behind Dalton last season, threw two TDs in a span of 3:18 early in the fourth quarter.
The Frogs drove 80 yards on 14 plays before Pachall threw a 1-yarder to Logan Brock. Skye Dawson's 30-yard punt return and a 15-yard penalty then set TCU up at the 12 before Pachall had a 9-yard TD throw to Boyce and they then connected for a 2-point conversion.
After a short punt set TCU up at midfield, Pachall threw a 19-yard TD to David Porter. But another 2-point try to Boyce was incomplete.
Stansly Maponga caused and recovered a fumble by Griffin at the end of the 10-yard run that started the ensuing Baylor drive.
During one span in the first half, there were scores on six consecutive possessions -- three touchdowns by Baylor and two touchdowns and a field goal for TCU. Griffin threw TD passes of 35 and 27 yards to Wright during that span, and Pachall had a 23-yarder to Brock.
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