TCU coach Gary Patterson has repeatedly cautioned that he was taking a long-term view of the Horned Frogs' move into the Big 12. Before the season and through the first four games, he mentioned that the first goal was getting to six wins to earn a bowl berth.
Even after starting 4-0 and before the suspension of quarterback Casey Pachall, Patterson reminded fans that "it's a marathon, not a sprint."
"I've always been realistic and honest about how everything was," Patterson said Sunday. "[Playing] 15 true freshmen and another 25 sophomores and understanding the competition level."
That six-win goal is not as eye-rolling any more after Iowa State beat TCU 37-23 Saturday. The loss snapped the Frogs' nation-best 12-game win streak and dropped them out of the Associated Press Top 25, falling 14 spots from No. 15 to 29. TCU (4-1, 1-1) fell 10 spots in the USA Today coaches' poll to No. 23. The initial BCS standings arrive Sunday. TCU plays at Baylor (3-1, 0-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday.
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There were encouraging signs, Patterson said, despite the loss. The Frogs' offense moved the football without its starting quarterback and running back and stopped themselves as much as Iowa State's defense did.
"We just had 455 yards against a pretty good Big 12 defense and really, until we threw the last pick for a touchdown, we're within six points of getting where we needed to get to," Patterson said.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin, in his first career start in place of the suspended Casey Pachall, completed 23 of 40 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown. He threw three interceptions, however, that led directly to 10 points for the Cyclones. Freshman running back B.J. Catalon, playing in place of injured senior Matthew Tucker, regrouped after two first-half fumbles to finish with 86 yards.
"I thought Catalon did a great job in the second half when he got in traffic," Patterson said. "If he would have done it in the first half we would have scored two more touchdowns. Trevone played tailback all last week before moving to quarterback on Thursday. So for me to even give him a fair evaluation is not very fair."
Running back Matthew Tucker was hoping to play, but it was decided that his ankle was just not ready. Gary Patterson said he expects Tucker to play at Baylor.
"He just couldn't cut on his ankle," Patterson said. "We thought he was going."