TCU tries to stay on even keel after beating Texas Longhorns

Posted Friday, Nov. 23, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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In a comparison of Big 12 teams' starting lineups for Nov. 17 games and Thursday's TCU-Texas game, TCU started a league-high seven freshmen. Only Texas started more underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) than TCU:

School

Fr.

Soph.

Off.-Def. Total

Texas

2

11

6-7/13

TCU

7

5

5-7/12

W.Virginia

4

4

3-5/8

Texas Tech

1

5

3-3/6

Baylor

1

4

4-1/5

Iowa State

1

3

3-1/4

Okla. St.

3

1

3-1/4

Kansas State

2

2

2-2/4

Kansas

1

3

2-2/4

Oklahoma

0

2

2-0/2

Future is now for five freshman Frogs

1 DE Devonte Fields: The Arlington Martin ex picked up his ninth sack Thursday, a TCU freshman record, and leads the Big 12 with 17 1/2 tackles for loss.

2 QB Trevone Boykin: He was thrust into the starting role when Casey Pachall left the program and has since thrown for 1,548 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 222 yards.

3 RB B.J. Catalon: With Waymon James' season cut short in the second game and Matthew Tucker limited for several games because of injury, Catalon leads the Frogs with 511 yards rushing.

4 OT Aviante Collins: He has started every game (nine games at right tackle, two at left tackle) and, along with sophomore Tayo Fabuluje and freshman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, is a cornerstone of future lines.

5 WR LaDarius Brown: He's fourth on the team with 22 receptions for 327 yards and has five touchdown catches. His 27-yard reception on first down on TCU's last drive of the third quarter against Texas set up a field goal that gave TCU a 20-6 lead.

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TCU coach Gary Patterson was asked to put the Horned Frogs' win at Texas in perspective.

Patterson, at first, declined, then revealed the swirling emotions inside his head that likely speaks for Frogs fans past, present and future.

"Nah... I'm probably going to get home, sometime tomorrow and go out in the street and yell," Patterson said shortly after TCU's 20-13 win Thursday, its first in Austin since 1967.

A good primal scream has probably come in handy for Patterson and TCU fans this season. The win at No. 16 Texas is all the more remarkable when you consider TCU started a Big 12-high seven freshmen Thursday.

TCU started 12 underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores), while Texas started a league-high 13 among the 22 starters (offense and defense). But of those 13 young Texas' starters only two were freshmen, including former Aledo High School running back Johnathan Gray.

TCU (7-4, 4-4 in the Big 12) wasn't supposed to be this young in 2012, its first year in the Big 12. But there were scream-inducing losses of integral players, including a record-setting quarterback, two running backs, three linebackers, a starting defensive tackle, two defensive ends, a tight end and a nose tackle.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin, a redshirt freshman who stepped in when Casey Pachall left the team after the fourth game, has been forced to grow up fast. His performance has been typically sporadic for a first-year starter, but he has shined like a veteran in key moments this season.

He led a ferocious comeback to force overtime against Texas Tech, ran the offense masterfully with 317 total yards against Baylor, and connected with Josh Boyce for a 94-yard touchdown to force overtime at West Virginia.

His performance against Texas was just as impressive, if not necessarily a statistical high point. He completed 7 of 9 passes for 82 yards and led the Frogs with 77 yards rushing, including 7.7 yards per carry. His only mistake was an interception on the Frogs' opening drive of the second half.

"For him, you just have to get him comfortable," offensive guard Blaize Foltz said. "You could see it in his eyes tonight, he was pretty happy. He's having fun, that's probably the biggest thing."

The Frogs' defense started one senior against Texas -- Kenny Cain, who led TCU with a career-high 14 tackles -- and seven underclassmen, who held Texas' offense to a season-low 13 points and 300 total yards, its second-lowest output this season. And 120 of that came in the fourth quarter with the Longhorns trailing 20-6.

TCU intercepted three more passes to run its league-leading total to 20. Jason Verrett picked up his Big 12-best sixth interception, Elisha Olabode had his fourth and Sam Carter clinched Thursday's win with his third.

"We knew our defensive line needed to get pressure, and those guys did a great job today," Carter said. "[Verrett] knew he wanted to come out and perform, and this year he's playing tremendously. We knew we had to come in and get turnovers, but without our D-line we wouldn't have had any opportunity."

Three of TCU's four starting defensive linemen are underclassmen, including true freshman defensive end Devonte Fields and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Davion Pierson. They combined for seven tackles against Texas, including 1 1/2 sacks and three tackles for loss.

"To be honest with you, I was little bit upset with our [defensive] starters on that final drive," Patterson said. "Because they were standing there. Hey, I should be begging to get myself back on the field. I guess that's just me. So you want me to be jumping up and down and you know I'm the guy that's still yelling at [my players] when we knocked down the two-point play in the Rose Bowl."

Patterson said Friday he hadn't made it out to the street for that scream. He'd already moved on to dissecting film of No. 13 Oklahoma, next week's opponent in the regular-season finale at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The game's start time will be announced either tonight or Sunday.

Patterson heard a Texas fan claim it was a bigger win for TCU than the Rose Bowl victory after the 2010 season. The self-important claim didn't elicit a scream from Patterson, only a big eye roll.

"That win wasn't bigger than the Rose Bowl," he said. "We're a young team, they don't know about [the Rose Bowl], but we have enough talent to beat people. We don't need to be giving [other Big 12 teams] too much credit, we just need to go out and play."

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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