Part of the credit for TCU’s victory at Texas on Thursday night goes to health, coach Gary Patterson said.
“Josh Doctson being healthy, Cam Luper being healthy, our defensive line being healthy — the week and a half helped us,” he said. “I thought we looked faster on defense. The eight straight weeks had taken its toll on us.”
Patterson said six defensive linemen were at less than 100 percent coming out of the West Virginia game, playing at less than full strength against Kansas State and Kansas.
The list included defensive end Josh Carraway (pick six against Texas), defensive end James McFarland (forced fumble) and defensive tackle Terrell Lathan (fumble returned for a touchdown), who had been playing with a sore ankle.
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Also, linebackers Marcus Mallett and Paul Dawson were also “beat up,” Patterson said.
The Frogs did not get out of Austin at full health, however.
Receiver Deante’ Gray, who had recovered from a foot injury, was unable to finish the game because of an undisclosed new injury, and cornerback Ranthony Texada got poked in the eye.
Texada’s backup, Nick Orr, was shaken up late in the game. Patterson said both Texada and Orr will be fine, but said nothing definitive about Gray.
Patterson called his defense “knuckleheads” after allowing a 73-yard catch and run by Texas’ Armanti Foreman in the fourth quarter, but it sounded more like a term of endearment.
“This group’s been playing all year. What we’ve done is we’ve given up the big play, and we did it again tonight,” he said. “On the danged bubble — I mean, everybody ran to the inside. They’re knuckleheads.”
Mallett said, “It’s kind of tough love.”
Safety Sam Carter took the “compliment” in stride and blamed himself for not forcing the play inside.
“We understand, man,” he said. “I was the knucklehead on that one.”
Asked about outspoken linebacker Paul Dawson, who led the team with 10 tackles and had an interception, Patterson said, “Yeah, he did OK. He’s still a knucklehead. But he’s my knucklehead.”
Quarterback Trevone Boykin took another leap at the end zone Thursday night, and it made Patterson as edgy as it did three weeks ago.
“He’ll learn,” Patterson said. “I just hope it’s not at our expense.”
Patterson is trying to trust the quarterback to take care of himself when he runs with the ball. Boykin got hit in the air and flipped as he crossed the goal line to finish a 10-yard run against Texas. Against Kansas State three weeks earlier, Boykin did the same thing to finish a 19-yard run.
“He just needs to be smart,” Patterson said.
Boykin said he probably could have stayed on his feet.
“For some reason, it just happens like that,” he said.
Doctson said he didn’t know whether the Horned Frogs made a statement with the 38-point win, but that they know what’s going on.
“I’d be lying if I told you we weren’t aware of style points and all that,” he said. “We just came out and played TCU football. We handled business and put up the points we needed to.”
Doctson caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, and he was glad the offense contributed in the second half after the defense controlled the game for the first half.
“It’s just unifying, man,” he said. “Before the game, a couple of coaches were talking about how this was like a brotherhood team. The feeling is real. It’s surreal, sometimes, too. We all have each other’s backs, and defense makes plays and we make plays and just help each other out.”