TCU’s season has changed, and not just because of a bad Saturday night in Oklahoma.
The loss of running back Darius Anderson, probably for the remainder of the regular season, threatens to reshape the offense in a bad way.
“That’s tough, the way he’s been running the ball this year, big part of our offense,” quarterback Kenny Hill said. “He can go the distance any time he gets it.”
Anderson was hurt in the second quarter of the 38-20 loss at OU. The sophomore from Rosenberg had 42 yards and a touchdown on seven carries before leaving the field with the help of trainers, favoring his right leg.
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Without one of its top game-breakers, the TCU offense was less able to threaten the Oklahoma defense. On a night when points would be required to keep up with the nation’s No. 1 offense, TCU managed only 20.
The Frogs finished with 155 yards rushing, averaging 4.8 per attempt. Kyle Hicks had 10 carries for 38 yards, and quarterback Kenny Hill had eight for 40. Sewo Olonilua had four carries for 10 yards, and receiver KaVontae Turpin pitched in two for 19.
“I don’t know if he’ll play, probably, the rest of the season,” coach Gary Patterson said of Anderson, whose eight touchdown runs are most on the team.
“Big loss, but like I told them, ‘Who’s the next guy?’” Patterson said. “‘If you were the guy complaining because you weren’t getting enough carries, well guess what? Now it’s your turn, and you didn’t look that good, so somebody better step up.’”
TCU was once tied for the rushing lead in the Big 12. In their first four games, the Horned Frogs averaged 232.3 yards and totaled 12 touchdowns on the ground.
But in six games without center Patrick Morris, the numbers are 160.5 yards per game and 10 touchdowns on the ground. The Frogs now sit fourth in the league in rushing.
Morris dressed and took reps in pregame Saturday night in Norman, but he was not going to play, Patterson said. He might be available against Texas Tech.
The effects of Morris’ injury were only subtly felt. Anderson’s will likely be more obvious.
Some other observations from Oklahoma 38, TCU 20:
1. Was the stage too hot for TCU? Patterson might have been wondering that after the game. After all, in front of the largest crowd ever to watch a game in the state of Oklahoma, Patterson saw a personal foul on the first play, a player ejected for kicking, missed tackles, missed catches and a missed field goal. “You can’t hurt yourself with penalties. It started with the first series right out of the gate,” he said. “You can’t let the game be too big or too emotional. You get yourself in trouble.”
2. Patterson was immediately reminded of 2008. Oklahoma’s 35-10 victory against TCU in Norman that year was the first thing he mentioned in his postgame press conference. In that game, the Sooners led 28-3 in the first half before the teams played 7-7 in the second half. “We spotted them too many points. Finally, when we woke up it was too late,” Patterson said, and he could have been talking about either game. “I was proud of our guys, the way we fought back. But what you’ve got to understand, you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. I’ve been here before. The coaches have.”
3. Patterson’s halftime talks must be something. Saturday night, he gave his team a choice. “Either we were going to come out and play or we were going to scrimmage tomorrow,” he said. “If they didn’t want to hit anybody today, then we were going to put pads on Sunday and scrimmage. So they had a choice. Obviously, we did a little bit of hitting in the second half.” Obviously. The Horned Frogs recorded their fourth second-half shutout in a row.
4. It’s only three points, but a missed field goal is a killer in college football. For the first time this year, TCU had to deal with it. Ryan Graf missed a 30-yard kick in the first quarter with TCU trailing 10-7, sapping valuable momentum and transferring energy to the crowd. Frogs sophomore Jonathan Song, a perfect 8-for-8 this year, was unavailable after being unable to kick on Thursday. Song missed all of last season with an injury, and without him, TCU missed seven field goals. A reliable part of the team is now a question mark again. “Back to the kicking extravaganza,” Patterson said.
5. TCU linebacker Travin Howard set the career record for tackles by a player in the Patterson era. He has 318 now, three more than Jason Phillips, who played from 2005 to 2008 and is now his linebackers coach. Of course, Howard wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. He was in the mood for accountability. “Not playing hard-enough football,” he said, diagnosing the first half of the 38-20 loss. “Not playing smart enough, paying attention to the small details on the offense, things that we should have known from practice and preparation. We just let one go.”
TCU at Texas Tech
11 a.m. Saturday, FS1