TCU, Patterson shift focus to No. 2 Kansas State

Posted Monday, Nov. 05, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Rising: TCU's secondary has been hit-or-miss this season, but truth be told, that could be said about most Big 12 secondaries in 2012. The Frogs, however, held West Virginia to only three passes of more than 15 yards, including one in overtime.

Falling: Special-teams miscues could have been fatal for the Frogs. Skye Dawson's fumble on a punt return set up a WVU touchdown, and Jaden Oberkrom's miss on a 37-yard field goal attempt in overtime offered the Mountaineers a chance for the win.

Key stat

111Points off turnovers for Kansas State this season, which leads the nation. Even more astounding? The Wildcats have allowed zero points off turnovers.

Quotable

"We haven't had a lot of breaks. [Tight ends and special teams] coach [Dan] Sharp says when you play hard long enough, good things happen to you. We kept playing hard, and finally, good things happened." TCU coach Gary Patterson on the Frogs making the key plays to earn the victory in double overtime after losing games to Iowa State and Texas Tech that hinged on a few plays.

No. 2 Kansas State at TCU

6 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/4

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As you'd expect, TCU coach Gary Patterson didn't wait too long Saturday before turning his attention to the next opponent.

The cheers, hoots and hollering were still echoing out of the Horned Frogs' locker room at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va., when Patterson reminded his team.

"I'm glad to see you all are excited about this win," Patterson told his team. "But we have Kansas State. We got to bowl eligibility. Thank the man that gave us a chance.

"Then we did our prayer and took a shower," he summarized matter-of-factly.

With the win, the Frogs (6-3, 3-3 in the Big 12) set up a monumental showdown Saturday with No. 2 Kansas State (9-0, 6-0), the highest-ranked team to visit Amon G. Carter Stadium since second-ranked Texas came to Fort Worth on Nov. 12, 1970.

The game has more storylines than a soap opera:

Patterson played football at and graduated from Kansas State.

This is the first time Patterson has faced his alma mater.

The Wildcats are on a quest for their first BCS National Championship Game berth if they remain unbeaten.

The Wildcats' Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Collin Klein, was injured in KSU's 44-30 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, and his official status for this Saturday likely will remain a mystery with the famously tight-lipped Bill Snyder.

The Wildcats are an older, ultra-experienced team while TCU is one of the youngest, greenest teams in the country. Both offer similar hard-nosed styles of defense and a more conservative approach offensively.

TCU has yet to have two well-played games back-to-back, something not uncommon with a young team. The magnitude of the game could ignite the focus necessary to compete, or it could become a distraction for the younger players.

"We are glad to be home," said Patterson, who wasn't yet sure on Sunday whether his young team was ready to put up consecutive strong showings. "Let's hope so, but I can't honestly say that to be true. Emotionally, we haven't played two weeks in a row yet."

4-1-6?

Gary Patterson has become synonymous with the Horned Frogs' 4-2-5 defensive scheme, but against West Virginia it had a different look.

The Frogs employed four safeties instead of the usual three to help their two cornerbacks. Kenny Cain, and later Marcus Mallet, was the lone true linebacker in the set. TCU used the defensive back-heavy set for most of the game.

The only reason the traditional format was used at all was because strong safety Sam Carter missed the second quarter with an injury. He returned in the second half, and TCU reverted to the initial set.

"We just felt like we got more speed on the field, and we were right," Patterson said. "That's always been in our arsenal. We just decided it was finally time we had to do something different."

It worked. The Mountaineers' offense was held to its second-lowest output of the season with 338 yards.

"And they had 90 [offensive] plays," Patterson said. "I don't know if I've ever been in a ballgame where they had 22 third-down situations."

The 90 plays tied for the fifth-most by an opponent in Patterson's tenure.

TCU held WVU to 6 of 22 on third-down conversions. The Frogs routinely practice the new set, Patterson said, but had never used it before Saturday. They've also worked on a dime set with a three-man rush the last three weeks, he said.

Youth movement

Add sophomore linebacker Marcus Mallet and true freshman safety Derrick Kindred to the list of young players stepping up ahead of schedule.

Both played reserve roles in TCU's first seven games, tallying five tackles apiece.

Kindred led the Frogs with 12 tackles in his first start Saturday, and he also broke up two passes. Mallet had 10 tackles, including two for losses, a quarterback pressure and a pass breakup. He played for senior Kenny Cain, who missed the second half with an injury.

Kindred and running back B.J. Catalon became the fifth and sixth true freshmen to start for the Frogs this season.

"He did a really good job," Patterson said of Kindred. "He made a lot of good plays."

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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