AUSTIN -- TCU coach Gary Patterson bluntly called the Horned Frogs' final two regular-season games against Texas and Oklahoma measuring-stick games.
How well the Frogs did against the two pillars of the Big 12 Conference, Patterson said, would tell him and his staff exactly what they needed to work on to compete for future championships in their new league.
Maybe TCU has less work to do than previously thought.
TCU upset No. 16 Texas 20-13 in a nationally televised Thanksgiving night meeting in front of 99,950 at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin. It was the largest crowd TCU has ever played in front of, and included several thousand purple-clad Frogs fans who celebrated Thanksgiving by witnessing one of the biggest wins in school history.
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It was TCU's 600th victory and its first win over Texas since 1992, a 23-14 victory in Fort Worth when the teams competed in the Southwest Conference and the Longhorns were ranked 20th in the nation. The last time TCU won in Austin was 1967, 17 years before the Frogs returned to the postseason.
TCU (7-4, 4-4 in the Big 12) finishes the regular season at home against No. 13 Oklahoma (8-2, 6-1) on Dec. 1. The start time and television information has not been set.
"We are growing up as a football team," Patterson said. "It wasn't perfect, but we found a way to win. I'm excited for the kids. I told the team before the game we had an opportunity to get to eight wins, but to do that they'd have to beat Texas and they'd have to beat Oklahoma. We fortunately got by one of them, now we have to see if we can get by the other one."
For the second consecutive game, TCU's defense came up huge. The Frogs intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble and had the Texas offense scrambling for much of the night.
Longhorns quarterback David Ash entered Thursday's game with only five interceptions, but was picked off twice by the Frogs, including on Texas' opening drive. Jason Verrett stepped in front of receiver Mike Davis for his Big 12-leading sixth interception.
TCU's offense relied heavily on the run, including at one point rushing 16 consecutive times. But on the first play after Verrett's interception, quarterback Trevone Boykin connected with tight end Corey Fuller for 35 yards and TCU later scored after a 14-play, 94-yard drive. The Frogs rushed 11 times on the drive, including Matthew Tucker's 2-yard plunge that gave TCU a 7-0 lead.
A Texas field goal made it 7-3, but early in the second quarter the Horns' 62-yard drive was thwarted when Ash was intercepted by Elisha Olabode near the goal line. Later in the quarter, Ash fumbled as he cocked to pass inside the Texas 30 and Stansly Maponga recovered at the Texas 16. Tucker scored from 1 yard three plays later to give TCU a 14-3 lead.
"They're a good football team," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "They'd been turning it over and that had been their problem. They didn't turn it over but one time tonight. And we didn't make them."
TCU kept its offense conservative, running 48 times for 217 yards, the most rushing yards for the Frogs since they had 248 at Baylor on Oct. 13. Boykin completed 7 of 9 passes for 82 yards, but led TCU with 77 yards rushing. B.J. Catalon and Tucker had 66 and 57 yards, respectively, on the ground. All three averaged over 4 yards a carry.
Jaden Oberkrom recovered after an early miss to make field goals from 18 and 41 yards in the second half, as TCU stretched its lead to 20-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Texas (8-3, 5-3), which had 300 yards of offense, gained 120 of that in the fourth quarter, including 98 of backup Case McCoy's 110. McCoy replaced Ash at the end of both halves.
Jeremy Hills scored on an 8-yard run with 3:07 left in the game to pull Texas to within 20-13, but Sam Carter's interception with 1:20 remaining sealed the Frogs' victory. The Longhorns' hopes of finishing in a tie for the Big 12 title were dashed with the loss.
"To win a ballgame like this you've got to have guys make plays," Patterson said. "Defensively we had guys step up. On one of the interceptions they threw the post, and the corner was open. So it's good to be lucky sometimes, too."
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760