TCU offense responds to Patterson's challenge

TCU coach Gary Patterson usually reserves his ire for defensive players.

Whether in practice or on the sideline, the defensive-minded coach is more often going to be in the face of a player on defense than offense.

But last week during practice Patterson said he was an equal-opportunity motivational speaker/fire starter.

"I told the whole offense, you're going to get mean," Patterson said. "I got over about seven or eight of those dudes. It's time for us to grow up. If they don't like it, if they want to shut me up, then do it the way you're supposed to do it."

The Horned Frogs' offense did just that Saturday night in Waco, playing their best game of the season and dispensing with Baylor in surprisingly easy fashion 49-21.

TCU (5-1, 2-1 in the Big 12) moved up two spots in the USA Today coaches' poll to No. 21 and is No. 23 in the initial Bowl Championship Series standings. The Frogs host No. 17 Texas Tech (5-1, 2-1) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

The defense also played a solid game, despite three long pass plays, including two for touchdowns and one that set up a score.

The three passes were good for 198 yards, but Baylor quarterback Nick Florence was held to 289 yards passing and was intercepted four times.

Baylor entered the game leading the nation with 416.5 yards passing a game, but TCU held the Bears to 326 yards passing and 432 total yards and snapped Baylor's eight-game streak of scoring 45 or more points.

Many fans and members of the media did not anticipate a TCU blowout.

"Everybody was like, the sky was falling," Patterson said of the reaction to Casey Pachall leaving the team and the Frogs losing to Iowa State last week.

Conversely, Patterson said he's not letting his players read anything more into Saturday's win, especially with the Red Raiders coming to Fort Worth after upsetting previously No. 5-ranked West Virginia 49-14, in even more dominating fashion than TCU's win over Baylor.

"You guys are writing us off last week and now all of sudden we became national champions," Patterson said. "We're just going to leave it alone because we have a long way to go. To be honest with you, that's when we play our best. I wish everybody would keep it up, that the sky is falling, because that's when TCU plays its best."

TCU's remaining schedule will help Patterson maintain that mental edge on his players.

After Tech, the Frogs are at Oklahoma State, West Virginia and then return to play No. 3 Kansas State, the only remaining undefeated Big 12 team.

"I'm glad we're growing up, but we still have six games left and it's a gauntlet," he said. Every team we're playing against probably has a better defense than what we just played."

Run-game respite

One of the biggest keys for TCU's win at Baylor was the ability to sustain long drives.

Much of that credit goes to the offensive line and running backs B.J. Catalon and Aundre Dean, who led the Frogs to 248 yards on the ground, their best day rushing since the opener against Grambling State.

Matthew Tucker, who is nursing an ankle injury, only rushed four times for 21 yards, all in the first half.

Patterson said the offense went with Catalon and Dean more in the second half because they were running better, not because Tucker's injury was hindering his ability.

"I was proud of Catalon and Aundre Dean," Patterson said. "Matthew Tucker has got to get himself healthy where he can play. It's going to make us a lot better offense when he can."

Catalon and Dean had 79 and 73 yards rushing, respectively. Trevone Boykin netted 56 yards on the ground.

Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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