The defense made TCU coach Gary Patterson proud enough to say they played their, ahem, backsides, off Saturday against Texas Tech and the nation’s No. 1 offense.
His own offense?
He just shrugged.
“We weren’t playing very well.”
It was about as much as he could say for a group that managed three touchdowns and a field goal against the second-worst defense in the country. Even a change of quarterbacks, from Kenny Hill to Foster Sawyer late in the third quarter, failed to change anything for the Horned Frogs in a 27-24 double-overtime loss at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
For years, you find ways to win them. Then you find ways to lose them. We’ve got to get back on the track of finding ways to win them. It’s pretty simple.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
Sawyer led a short touchdown drive in his first chance with the ball, but the second of three missed field goals by Brandon Hatfield left the door open for Texas Tech to force overtime.
In overtime, Sawyer threw a touchdown pass to Desmon White to force a second session, but Hatfield missed again and Tech won with its own field goal.
Patterson could only shake his head.
“For years, you find ways to win them. Then you find ways to lose them,” he said. “We’ve got to get back on the track of finding ways to win them. It’s pretty simple.”
After watching his defense limit Tech and quarterback Pat Mahomes — coming off an 854-yard performance last week and leading the country in yards and averaging 50.3 points per game — to a fraction of Tech’s normal output, the Frogs were rewarded with a drop to .500 at 4-4.
It was their third loss in four games, and they sit 2-3 in the Big 12.
Only Stephen F. Austin and Kansas had failed to score 44 or more points against Texas Tech this season.
TCU held Texas Tech to 17 points and 315 yards in regulation. Tech entered as the nation’s leader in offense (640.3 yards per game) and second in scoring (50.3 points per game).
“It’s pretty frustrating just knowing that we have the talent and the weapons that we need to do well,” center Austin Schlottmann said. “I think we just need to grow up and figure out what it takes to win a close ballgame like that.”
The Frogs tried. They switched quarterbacks in the third quarter after Hill’s deep pass, intended for a well-covered KaVontae Turpin, was intercepted. Douglas Coleman, at 6-foot-1, gave the 5-9 Turpin no chance for the underthrown ball. It was Tech’s first takeaway in a month.
Hill went to the bench, and Sawyer came in. The 6-5 sophomore from Fort Worth All Saints completed his first pass but missed his next two and finished 6 for 17. For his career, he’s 17 for 44 in seven games, all but one in relief.
“OK, but we didn’t win,” Patterson said of Sawyer’s performance. “I thought he did some good things. … On the last drive, we missed Taj Williams on a play that would have gone down to about the 18-yard line and we could have kicked a field goal.”
Hill finished 16 for 29 for 160 yards. His second drive ended in a missed field goal from 37 yards by Hatfield. The other misses were from 32 and 39. Hatfield made a 23-yarder in the second quarter for a 10-7 lead. The junior from Chino Hills, Calif., was 6 for 7 coming in, including a game-winner at Kansas.
4 Sacks for TCU, including two by reserve defensive end Mat Boesen and others by Travin Howard and Aaron Curry. The Horned Frogs entered leading the Big 12 with 27.
TCU did not trail until overtime, when Tech opened with a touchdown on a 15-yard scramble up the middle by Mahomes, who finished with 206 yards passing and 39 yards rushing.
“They took away the pass, which is our main thing on offense,” Mahomes said. “We had to run the ball, and when we showed up at the end of the fourth quarter, we started running the ball and we drove down the field and scored.”
Tech averaged only 3.9 yards a play.
I told you the defense was getting better. ... They played their (rear end) off.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
“I told you the defense was getting better,” Patterson said. “Basically, we hold them to 17 points in regulation. They played their [rear end] off.”
TCU safety Nick Orr’s interception at the goal line stopped Texas Tech’s first drive. He has four of the Frogs’ six interceptions.
“You can feel proud, but we still lost,” Orr said. “You can feel good that we held them to 17 in regulation, and that’s one of the top offenses in the nation and coming off a week where they had over 800 yards. You can see that it’s improving on the back end. But nothing good comes from a loss.”