TCU football notes: First down futility against Oklahoma helped put Frogs in third-and-impossible situations

10/07/2013 1:05 PM

11/12/2014 3:03 PM

TCU fans clamoring for a more run-oriented offense did not see it against Oklahoma, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Horned Frogs could never get much going on the ground and finished with 44 yards on 27 carries.

TCU started with runs on its first two series, netting a combined 7 yards. But the Frogs’ next five possessions began with a pass, and they failed to gain a first down in the first half.

On three third downs — a third-and-6 and two third-and-8s — during the first seven possessions, TCU completed a pass, but the receiver was unable to pick up the first down either because he was tackled as he caught it or didn’t run a long enough route.

“I think they had a very good scheme, and we didn’t capitalize on some things we needed to do,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said Monday during the Big 12 teleconference. “I thought our guys did a better job in the second half getting balls when we needed to.

“Obviously, we have to do a better job against people who put that much speed on the field and make plays when we get a chance to.”

TCU (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) continued to struggle on third downs (3 of 14 against OU), but much of those problems are directly related to first-down issues. The Frogs gained a total of 9 yards on their first seven first-down plays.

“There wasn’t a lot of windows with what we wanted to do,” Patterson said Sunday. “You have to give them a little bit of credit.”

Patterson said youth on the offense is one reason for TCU’s slow starts.

“A lot of it has to do with guys who haven’t played a lot of football, and they need to adjust to the speed of the game,” he said. “Older teams play faster at the start of the football game.”

The Frogs host Kansas (2-2, 0-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Jayhawks’ defense is allowing 404.3 yards per game and ranks 67th among FBS teams.

OSU game set

TCU’s game at Oklahoma State will start at 11 a.m. Oct 19. The game will be televised by KDFW/Ch. 4. The Frogs lost to the Cowboys 36-14 a year ago in Stillwater, Okla.

Quotable

“There’s nobody here who is throwing in the towel. We’ve only played five games. You’ve got seven games left to play. You’ve got some tough road games and you’ve got some tough home games, but they like playing the game and I think the future is bright. So we’re just going to keep pushing.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson

Key stat

1 TCU’s ranking in the Sagarin’s strength of schedule rankings. The Frogs’ three losses are to teams that are a combined 15-1. The three teams — LSU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech — are ranked in the AP top 20.

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