A three-hour lightning delay and the return of TCU quarterback Casey Pachall couldn’t slow down Texas on Saturday night at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
The Longhorns (5-2, 4-0 Big 12) shut out TCU after a 3-hour, 6-minute delay and took advantage of three Horned Frogs turnovers to win handily 30-7 in front of a rain-soaked, hearty bunch of approximately 25,000 still in attendance when the game ended at 12:40 a.m. Sunday morning.
TCU’s offense continued to struggle, despite Pachall returning to the field after being sidelined with broken non-throwing (left) arm since Sept. 7.
Pachall replaced Trevone Boykin for TCU’s third series before the delay. But he suffered from many of the same problems Boykin has endured. His offensive line failed to provide adequate protection and his receivers were not always reliable.
The Frogs (3-5, 1-4) were forced to punt on nine consecutive possessions, most them coming after the long delay.
TCU’s defense was again tasked with trying to clean messes caused by the offense’s mistakes.
“You can’t spot a good football team points,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “And obviously we didn’t come back and play very well after the rain. Bottom line is we’re not very good and we’re going to have to get better if we want to win any ball games.”
Texas scored 17 points off three turnovers, including a muffed punt in the fourth quarter when Sammy Douglas was blocked into Cam Echols-Luper and Texas recovered at the TCU 32. Anthony Fera’s 36-yard field goal stretched the Horns’ lead to 30-7 with 11:55 remaining in the game.
The Frogs offense crossed midfield for just seven plays, and none of those came after their first possession of the second quarter, which was before the weather delay.
Texas outgained TCU 415 total yards to 246 and held an eight-minute advantage in time of possession. The Longhorns remain in great position to win the Big 12.
The Frogs are looking for three wins in their final four games to earn their ninth consecutive bowl berth.
Pachall finished with 139 yards on 13 of 34 passing. McCoy completed 9 of 19 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown. Pachall was at a loss to explain what has caused such a dramatic drop in production from TCU’s offense this season.
“I can’t pinpoint it,” Pachall said. “Maybe it’s character, maybe it’s the willing to prepare or just come out and play for the other guys within the team. I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, it needs to change.”
Play resumed just before 11 p.m. with the Horned Frogs trailing 17-7 and 6:08 left in the first half.
After the delay, Texas added to its lead with 10 quick points.
McCoy connected with Johnson for a 43-yard pass and a pass interference call against TCU, plus a 16-yard run by former Aledo High School star Johnathan Gray set up Malcolm Brown’s second touchdown of the night, which capped an 89-yard, eight-play drive that put Texas up 27-7 with 9:20 remaining in the third quarter.
After the teams rode out the delay in their locker rooms, both offenses traded punts before the Longhorns connected on a 37-yard field goal to increase their lead to 20-7 just before halftime.
“[TCU’s offensive line] were playing extremely hard” Pachall said. “I’m not putting any blame on any single person, position group or anything. We win as a team and lose as a team and tonight we just came out not ready to play. They exceeded our energy level.”
The game, Texas’ first at TCU since 1994, was suspended by officials at 7:50 p.m. Heavy rains and consistent lightning lingered for nearly three hours. Play was finally resumed at 10:56 p.m.
Halftime was abbreviated to a five-minute break and the teams didn’t leave the field. A crowd of 48,212, a record for the renovated stadium, was on hand before the weather delay. TCU opened up nearby Daniel-Meyer Coliseum for fans to take refuge.
Before the delay, Texas took advantage of two TCU turnovers.
Boykin, who started at quarterback, fumbled inside the Frogs’ 5-yard line when he was hit by Texas safety Adrian Phillips on a blitz. Quandre Diggs recovered and Malcolm Brown scored on a 3-yard run to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead with 7:48 left in the first quarter.
Fera’s 43-yard field goal pushed Texas’ lead to 10-0 with 3:07 left in the first.
Pachall replaced Boykin for TCU’s third series. The Frogs were forced to punt after two incompletions.
On Pachall’s next series, TCU drove 70 yards for a touchdown, a 38-yard double pass in which Pachall hit Echols-Luper on a quick lateral pass and Echols-Luper turned to find a wide-open LaDarius Brown streaking down the field for the score. That pulled the Frogs to within 10-7 with 1:16 left in the quarter.
But Texas took advantage of another Frogs turnover in the second quarter. Pachall’s pass, intended for B.J. Catalon, sailed directly to Texas linebacker Steve Edmond for the interception. McCoy hit a wide-open Marcus Johnson, who shed safety Sam Carter down the left side and ran it in for a 65-yard touchdown reception.
Both teams punted on their next series before officials suspended play.