FORT WORTH, Texas — Baylor coach Art Briles threw his hat and his headset in a rare display of emotion on the interception that ended TCU’s upset bid in the final seconds.
The No. 9 Bears had persevered and recovered from a blowout loss to Oklahoma State that ended their hopes for a national title a week earlier. They also won for a coach whose older brother, Eddie, died from an apparent head injury after a fall just three days before the tense 41-38 victory on Saturday.
Briles didn’t bring up his brother when asked how he felt after the game. His players did it for him.
“You’ve got to understand that coach Briles, he never shows anything,” said running back Lache Seastrunk, who had 94 yards rushing after missing two games with a groin injury. “When he’s around us, I think it takes away the pain. Before the game even started, I said, ‘Coach Briles, I know you lost somebody but you gained 99 of us.”’
Briles attended his brother’s funeral Sunday, safe in knowing that Baylor (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) — while needing help — still has a shot at the outright conference title and a BCS bid, likely the Fiesta Bowl.
The Bears will know what they’re playing for early in Saturday’s game against Texas, which re-entered the rankings at No. 23 on Sunday. The last game in the 64th and final season at Floyd Casey Stadium will be starting when Oklahoma’s Bedlam battle is ending in Stillwater.
Baylor, which is moving to a campus stadium on the banks of the Brazos River next year, needs the seventh-ranked Cowboys to lose to No. 20 Oklahoma. Otherwise, the Bears and Longhorns are likely playing for a spot in the Cotton Bowl.
Either way, Baylor has a lot more at stake than it would have if the defense hadn’t returned two interceptions for touchdowns and picked off TCU’s Casey Pachall at the goal line with 11 seconds left when the Horned Frogs were in position to send the game to overtime.