Morris and TCU beat No. 14 Baylor in first game without Patterson

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Gary Patterson wasn’t on the sideline at a TCU game for the first time since 1997. The former Horned Frogs coach was watching from somewhere, and feeling proud.

Chandler Morris threw for 461 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for TCU and the Frogs beat No. 14 Baylor 30-28 on Saturday, six days after Patterson and the school mutually agreed to immediately part ways before completing his 21st season as head coach

“It was huge. I mean, I don’t know a team more deserving just everything we’ve been through this week obviously with Coach P, and we were fighting for him,” Morris said. “I mean, we deserved it. And I truly believe that.”

TCU (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) ended a three-game losing streak, and had lost five of its six previous games. The Frogs are now 22-22 since the start of 2018.

Baylor (7-2, 4-2, No. 12 CFP), which had its three-game winning streak snapped, was driving and past midfield after the Frogs missed a field goal attempt when linebacker Shadrach Banks intercepted a pass thrown by Gerry Bohanon with 1:03 left.

“Yesssssssssssssssss! Go Frogs!,” Patterson tweeted after the game. He showed up at practice this week, but said he wouldn’t attend the game.

Bohanon finished 14-of-20 passing for 214 yards with three TDs and two interceptions, and Abram Smith ran for 125 yards to go over 1,000 yards this season for Baylor. Tyquan Thornton had five catches for 121 yards and two TDs.

“Felt we were going to win it the entire time. I think our sideline did, too,” Aranda said. “Coming into the locker room, there’s a lot of guys just broken. I think that’s evidence of their belief. … Guys were fighting for it.”

Morris, a redshirt freshman who transferred from Oklahoma and is the son of former Arkansas and SMU head coach Chad Morris, completed 29 of 41 passes. He also led the Frogs with 70 yards rushing and a TD on 11 carries. Morris had taken over in the second half last week for Max Duggan, who had been playing with a fractured bone in his foot since getting hurt Oct. 9 at Texas Tech.

Patterson got to TCU as the defensive coordinator in 1998, then was promoted to head coach before the Mobile Alabama Bowl at the end of the 2000 regular season after Dennis Franchione left for Alabama. Patterson became TCU’s winningest head coach with his 181 wins.

Jerry Kill, the former Minnesota coach who was the best man in Patterson’s wedding and in an off-field role on his staff, took over as interim head coach.

“I have little to do with it. I credit the kids and the coaches that are on this staff. Gary Patterson and those people have built this program. I’ve been here or two years,” Kill said. “I’m just kind of a fill-in guy. I’m just so proud of those kids and the relentless effort that they played with.”

After TCU had an earlier field goal blocked and got the ball back on an interception in the end zone, the Frogs went 80 yards on 12 plays for a 30-21 lead on Morris’ 19-yard TD to Quentin Johnson with 11:59 left. Johnston had five catches for 142 yards, including a spectacular one-handed catch for 53 yards before the blocked field goal.

TCU took the lead for good on Griffin Kell’s third field goal, a 24-yarder a minute before halftime that made it 16-14.

BIG YARDS

Morris had the fourth-best passing total ever in a TCU game, and the first 400-yard game since Kenny Hill‘s 446 yards against Oklahoma in 2016. Hill is now TCU’s quarterbacks coach. Morris finished with 531 total yards, the second-best in school history. And that doesn’t count a 7-yard reception he had.

“Unbelievable, to be honest with you. You know, he came in and he’s been telling us all year that he’s ready,” Johnston said. “His work ethic is unmatched, so he came out and did what he had to do. He exceeded my expectations, actually, which were pretty high.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Baylor: The loss could really sting for the Bears, who are trying to get back to the Big 12 championship game for the second time in three seasons. Undefeated Oklahoma visits Waco next week. Baylor’s other loss was at No. 11 Oklahoma State, the only other team ahead of them in the Big 12 standings. After only one penalty the previous two games, Baylor had six penalties for 65 yards.

TCU: A huge relief for the Frogs and their fans, who stormed the field when the game ended. In what many expected to be a bounce-back season for the Frogs, they still have final three regular season games and then a bowl game to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1996 and 1997.

UP NEXT

Baylor: The Bears are home next Saturday against fourth-ranked Oklahoma (9-0, 6-0), which will coming off its open date.

TCU: The Horned Frogs play their second game in a row against a ranked team, at No. 11 Oklahoma State next Saturday.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that roiled the school’s football program.

The lawsuit against the school claimed that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused of being sex offenders. The players, who were identified in the lawsuit as John Does, sought unspecified damages for willful and malicious discrimination.

A woman alleged up to a dozen football players raped her or watched and cheered at an off-campus party in 2016. None of the players were ever charged.

The university found that 10 football players committed sexual misconduct. Five of them were expelled or suspended for violating student conduct codes, and the others were cleared on appeal.

In their lawsuit, the players alleged that the woman initiated the sexual encounters with players and an underage recruit.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the former players did not prove any of their claims, including allegations of bias by university investigators or pressure from Athletic Director Mark Coyle and former President Eric Kaler, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

David Madgett, an attorney for the players, said Tuesday that they are considering an appeal but have to determine if it makes sense financially and in terms of letting the former players get on with their lives. He said it was disappointing that the outcome was determined by the judge’s version of events and not decided by a jury.

“It’s disappointing to see disputes decided in this way,” Madgett said. “That’s the way things are decided more and more these days. … It’s disappointing you don’t get your day in court.”

When the allegations became public in 2016, players threatened to boycott the team’s trip to the Holiday Bowl. But after a graphic report of the investigation was released, the players agreed to play in the game.

University of Minnesota spokesman Jake Ricker said the school appreciated the judge’s decision affirming the actions taken in the case. He said the university would continue its work focusing on sexual misconduct awareness, prevention and response.

Frank dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, but an appeals court reinstated part of it in 2021 and returned it to Frank.

The players, all of whom are Black, also initially claimed racial discrimination, but that claim was previously dismissed.

The only remaining claim alleged Title IX gender discrimination. The former players noted that they never faced criminal charges, but Frank’s ruling said that “is certainly not evidence of a judicial adjudication or that plaintiffs ‘were proven innocent.'”

The men also claimed that an investigator for the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action used “manipulative tactics” with them in interviews and that their accuser helped draft the report. The players also alleged that “prior failed investigations motivated” the the school to punish them.

Frank said all the claims were unsupported by the evidence and “no reasonable jury could find that the University disciplined plaintiffs on the basis of sex.”

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field.

Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan State players charged in a skirmish that followed a loss at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 29.

Crump was the only Spartan facing a felony, but that charge was dismissed in an agreement to plead guilty to misdemeanors. His record will be scrubbed clean if he stays out of trouble while on probation.

“Unfortunately, an exchange of words (took place), I felt attacked and unfortunately I did what I did,” Crump said of the tunnel altercation involving Michigan’s Gemon Green. “I’m not proud of that. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

Crump was suspended by coach Mel Tucker. In addition, the Big Ten has suspended him for eight games in 2023.

“I had difficulties trying to stomach my actions … on that fateful day, but it happened. I can’t take it back,” Crump told MLive.com after the court hearing. “Honestly, I’m just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue in the future — on the football field, of course.”

At least four other players charged with misdemeanors Will Likely have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service and other conditions. The cases against two others are pending.