Jalen Reagor has begun to find the knack for the big play in record-setting fashion.
And he did so twice on Saturday at McLane Stadium in Waco to help Texas Christian University keep its bowl dream alive with a 16-9 victory against Big 12 rival Baylor University.
Reagor, a 2017 Waxahachie graduate, first ensured his place on the highlight reel with a 65-yard touchdown catch and run in the second quarter. It was no ordinary score, either. Reagor spun out of the grasps of multiple defenders, reversed field and outran the Bears secondary to the goal line.
The touchdown, which went to an official review before the call on the field was ultimately upheld, put TCU up 9-6 with 13:05 to play in the first half. The review was needed to determine if Reagor stepped out just inside the 5-yard line.
After the game, Reagor said the play was a "missile screen" and noted it is "really supposed to go back inside."
"The way I saw it was I've got to make something happen, so when I did that, I broke a few tackles and saw a lot of green, so I had to go score," he added.
The pitch-and-catch was also the first in the collegiate career for TCU graduate student and quarterback, Grayson Muehlstein (11-15, 137 yards), who entered after backup quarterback Mike Collin exited the game with an injury in the first quarter.
"All I had to do was throw a quick little short pass and he did all the rest," Muehlstein said. "It was fun watching him do everything he did from behind and watching him take it down and score."
The touchdown reception was the 16th in Reagor's career, which ties him with Stanley Washington (1979-82) for fifth place on TCU's all-time list. It was also his sixth consecutive game with a touchdown reception, matching a program record set in 2015 by Josh Doctson.
With one regular-season game to play, Reagor has team-highs in catches (65), yards (970) and receiving touchdowns (8) on the season. The touchdown reception also matched his season total from last season, which he finished with eight touchdowns and 576 yards
With 30 more receiving yards, Reagor will become just the fourth Horned Frog to ever top 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Reagor then added a 37-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one with 2:02 to play in the third quarter and the game tied at 9-all. Placekicker Jonathan Song then split the uprights for the 16-9 TCU win.
"I knew I was going to get the first down," he said. "I was either going to have to beat the defensive end or the safety to the spot and I'm pretty fast, so I should be able to."
When asked if he felt a newfound pressure to create in the open field or when challenged by defensive backs on deep passes, Reagor said he feels "that way anyway, because the way the season has gone, I have to do things like this. Even when those injuries happened, I thought, all right, I've got to empty the tank more. Even if I don't have anything left, I've got to go make more because everyone was out and we're really shorthanded."
Head coach Gary Patterson said Reagor stepped up in more ways than one to help the Horned Frogs to the victory.
"Reagor stepped in on kickoff returns, stepped in on punt returns, stepped in on about everything that you can step in on," Patterson told TCU Athletics after the game. "You know, he's really matured since the first of the year. You know, you go through this where you think you have to catch a certain amount of balls and you have to do certain things and do everything else, and the bottom line to it is you've just got to win, and then the game just takes care of itself. And we're learning as a football team to do that."
TCU (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) will look to become bowl eligible for the 16th time in 18 seasons under Patterson with a victory at home Saturday against (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) Oklahoma State University.
The Horned Frogs won the last meeting, 44-31, in 2017, but OSU leads the all-time series 15-11-2.
The game will be telecast on FOX at 7 p.m.
"We just have to give the seniors the best season we can," Reagor said of the importance of winning Saturday. "We just gotta finish, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. I'm pretty sure if we finish, win a bowl, nobody's gonna talk about how our season went, they'll be talking about how we finished."