By Matthew Postins
The senior played his first game since breaking his left arm against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 7 and he certainly had some rust. But he wasn’t helped by a Horned Frog offense that was out of sync and a stifling Texas defense as the Longhorns swooped into Amon G. Carter Stadium and left with a 30-7 victory Saturday night.
The game was stopped for three hours and six minutes due to lightning and all it did was put off the inevitable. TCU (3-5, 1-4 in Big 12) turned the ball over three times and Texas (5-2, 4-0) turned those mistakes into 17 points. It led to TCU’s third loss in four games and put their bowl hopes in jeopardy, as they must now win three of their final four games to qualify for a bowl game.
The loss and the long weather delay made for a weary Gary Patterson after the game.
“I’m not pleased with anything,” Patterson said when asked about the Horned Frogs’ center play Saturday. “I’m not pleased about being 3-5. I’m not pleased with anything.”
The Horned Frogs have now been held to 20 or fewer points in four games this season, with three of them coming in the last four weeks. TCU also punted on nine straight possessions in the game.
Patterson wasn’t in the mood to blame the weather delay or particular players after the loss, but it was clear throughout the press conference there was a thread of frustration over not only the result but the overall play Saturday night.
The Horned Frogs gained just 246 total yards offensively and was 4-of-16 on third down. The Horned Frog defense played well at times, holding Texas to 4-of-15 on third down. But there were beat downfield several times by Texas quarterback Case McCoy and ended up giving up 415 total yards.
“I don’t have any answers for that right now,” Patterson said.
Defensive back Sam Carter called it a lack of execution and didn’t want to make excuses.
“They had to make plays and made them,” Carter said. “We had to make plays and we didn’t.”
Pachall was a bit more frank. He didn’t blame the weather delay either. Nor did he blame particular players. But something was definitely off.
Passes were dropped. Penalties were committed. Pachall mentioned an overall drop in intensity after the first seven or eight minutes of the game.
“At times it seemed like one or two of us would take turns screwing it up,” Pachall said.
Trevone Boykin started the game for the Horned Frogs at quarterback, but he only lasted two drives. In fact, Boykin’s second drive ended with him fumbling the football while being tackled by Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs. Boykin lost the ball and Adria Phillips recovered it for Texas at the Horned Frog 3-yard line. Malcolm Brown scored the first of his two touchdowns a play later, giving Texas a 7-0 lead with 7:48 left in the first quarter.
From there, the ball went to Pachall and he showed obvious signs of being away from the field for more than a month. He and his receivers were not in sync. He was on the run all night, too, as the Texas front four dominated the line of scrimmage, especially on passing downs.
Pachall practiced all week and was a game-time decision. Patterson said Boykin started because he “had been there,” but once Pachall entered the game Patterson said he never thought about putting Boykin back in.
He went 13-of-34 for 139 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception. He was only sacked once, but he was under duress for a good portion of the evening as Texas end Jackson Jeffcoat led a pass rush that swarmed the TCU backfield.
Pachall committed TCU’s second turnover of the game, with the Horned Frogs down 10-7.
Pachall drove TCU down to the Texas 30 in the second quarter. But he underthrew his intended receiver going downfield and Texas linebacker Steve Edmond picked off the pass and returned it to the Texas 21.
McCoy turned the miscue into points, tossing a deep bomb to Marcus Johnson down the TCU sideline for a 65-yard touchdown with 9:48 to play in the second quarter for a 17-7 Texas lead. The pass was as pretty as any of the scoring strikes McCoy threw two weeks ago against Oklahoma.
McCoy went 9-of-19 for 228 yards and a touchdown. He did throw two interceptions, but TCU wasn’t able to do anything with either of them. Johnathan Gray rushed for 94 yards and Brown rushed for 51 yards.
Pachall did help score TCU’s only touchdown. He threw a bubble screen to wide receiver Cameron Echols-Luper, who then threw it downfield to LaDarius Brown in stride for the score. At the time it cut Texas’ lead to 10-7 with 1:24 left in the first quarter. Patterson said the play was installed this week.
Luper also figured in the final turnover. He was trying to field a punt after signaling for a fair catch, but a TCU player bumped into him and the ball went off both players. Texas recovered and it led to an Anthony Fera field goal, which gave Texas a 30-7 lead.
At 7:51 officials stopped the game due to lightning the immediate area of the stadium. A large cell of thunderstorms came in from the west and dumped heavy amounts of rain on the field at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Game officials had to keep the seating bowl clear during the delay and the decision was made during the delay to have a five-minute halftime to keep the game moving. The game re-started at 10:57.
Patterson said he and the Horned Frogs had once gone through a 90-minute rain delay during a game against Arizona in his first year as head coach. But he had never been through a delay like this.
“We stretched and then we stretched again, we warmed up and we talked about the game plan,” Patterson said about what TCU did during the delay. “The only other thing we could have done was go over to the practice bubble and run around. And we thought about it.”