The season’s struggles were keeping TCU defensive tackle Chucky Hunter up late one recent night so he decided to text fellow lineman, Jon Koontz.
He wanted Koontz, a senior from Aledo High School, who is staring at the final two games of his Horned Frogs career, to know the underclassmen were going to do everything in their power to help get him to one more bowl.
TCU (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) needs to win at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Kansas State (5-4, 3-3) and finish with a win over fifth-ranked Baylor (7-0, 5-0) on Nov. 30 to earn its ninth consecutive bowl berth.
A tall order, for sure, but nothing Hunter doesn’t expect to pull off.
“I know the defense is going to keep pushing for the seniors to have a great year,” he said, also referring to senior defensive players, including starters Jason Verrett, Elisha Olabode. “We don’t want them to be like, ‘It’s over, we can’t do anything about it.’ No, forget that.”
Koontz thanked Hunter for the late-night text and told the junior that he knew everyone was still pushing, still working to finish with two wins.
“I was sitting in my bed just thinking about this season, how everything was when I was in high school,” Hunter said of his winning days at West Monroe High in Louisiana. “I didn’t really experiencing losing. When you win, you’ve got to experience losing, too. Losing brings a better character out of you. You’re going to see how people react when you’re losing.
“It tested me out a lot because I’ve never lost this much. The patience [you need] and you’re working hard and you know everything is going to come your way and it’s going to be good.”
For the seniors, that’s how Hunter is hoping the season ends.
3-3 All-time record between TCU and Kansas State. The Frogs are 1-2 in Manhattan, Kan., including a 24-22 victory in 1985, their last appearance there.
“For our offense, it was a game-changer as far knowing we could do that. They’ve had those drives in the fourth quarter and finally for them to be rewarded by winning a ballgame instead of tying one up is a big positive for them.” — TCU coach Gary Patterson on the Frogs’ game-winning drive at Iowa State