Horned Frogs show same struggles as 2012

Posted Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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lebreton Backup quarterbacks.

Can’t win with them. Can’t win without them.

In his first start of the season after taking over for the injured Casey Pachall, TCU sophomore quarterback Trevone Boykin struggled to move the chains against a feisty Texas Tech defense.

At the other end of the emotional meter, after starter Baker Mayfield was knocked from the game, freshman quarterback Davis Webb came off the bench and saved the night for the Red Raiders.

Backup quarterbacks.

In the end, big plays decided Tech’s 20-10 Big 12 triumph. The Red Raiders were able to strike for one in both the first quarter and the fourth.

Boykin and the Horned Frogs, meanwhile, had to squirm for every yard.

It was the first Big 12 victory for Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, and the record student crowd at Jones AT&T Stadium swarmed the field after the final whistle. For Tech football, a new era seems to have arrived.

But for the Frogs, the night looked an awful lot like last season. The offense was plagued by inconsistency, particularly in the passing game. TCU was 4 of 16 on third down.

Much credit has to go to the Tech defense, a rare and often-neglected species here in recent seasons. The Red Raiders appeared to have a firm grasp of Boykin’s strengths and weaknesses.

Seniors Terrance Bullitt and Will Smith spent the night stalking and swarming the TCU quarterback.

For young Boykin, it had to be a disappointing night, though he gained 101 yards on the ground and 194 yards through the air.

Just as the third-down statistics underscored how well he played in a bench role against LSU, the same numbers pointed to Boykin’s struggles Thursday night. For whatever reason, he played much better coming off the bench against LSU and Southeastern Louisiana.

A nervous sophomore starting on national TV?

Maybe, but Boykin, we were led to believe, had grown out of that.

Thanks to the resuscitated Frogs defense, whose missed tackles helped to dig them into an early 10-0 hole, TCU was able to wrest the momentum away from Tech and appeared to be taking over the final quarter.

Alas, the best thing the TCU defense did all night was pressure starting quarterback Mayfield. But it also turned out to be the worst thing, when Webb came off the bench and breathed new life into the Red Raiders’ deciding drive.

A year ago, Boykin was thrust into the spotlight when Pachall was suspended after the fourth game. He played well – at times – but Pachall, a senior, was an easy choice to remain the TCU starter as this season began.

They are different quarterbacks, however, and the Red Raiders seemed to be daring the Frogs to try to beat them by throwing the football.

Boykin can run, but on this night he wasn’t up to the task.

For the Frogs, a difficult second year in the Big 12 Conference just got a lot tougher. Ahead in October are challenging rough trips to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

To be a contender in the Big 12, TCU has to show that it’s moved ahead of the Techs and Baylors in the league pecking order.

Instead, it couldn’t do it Thursday night. For all the promise that the opening game against LSU showed, the Frogs suffered a relapse.

Game Three, 2013, looked too much like 2012.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

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