Every loss counts the same in the standings, but not every loss is the same.
TCU fans should keep this in mind when mulling the Horned Frogs' five-game finish to the regular season.
TCU (5-2, 2-2 in the Big 12), which starts a two-game road stretch at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1), is four or five plays away from starting 4-0 in its first season in the Big 12.
That's a big difference from being a few plays from 0-4. The Frogs' 56-53 triple-overtime loss to Texas Tech on Saturday offered no moral victories, as coach Gary Patterson rightly said after the nearly four-hour game.
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He's right, not only for clichéd coaching reasons, but because it's reality. And moral victories aren't needed. Not when TCU, which dropped out of the BCS standings Sunday, outplayed the Red Raiders for much of the first three quarters and five minutes of the game.
As in the loss to Iowa State three weeks ago, TCU outgained Texas Tech but turnovers and big plays rendered that moot.
TCU led 26-21 and had outgained Tech 319-178, had a 20-10 first-down advantage, and had almost 10 more minutes of possession when the Red Raiders got the ball with 10:31 left.
That's when Tech's offense began to make plays and TCU's defense didn't, as Patterson and safety Sam Carter said repeatedly after the game. From that point, Seth Doege and the Tech offense gained 212 yards to TCU's 187, including a 75-54 advantage in three overtimes.
"You got to make plays," Patterson said Sunday. "I take full responsibility. It's my job to get people stopped. We screwed up a few [defensive] calls and missed a couple tackles. The kids played hard, showed resiliency."
"Their biggest challenge is going to be [forgetting] this loss, because it was so emotional and how they played, and getting ready to go play the next ballgame on the road," Patterson said. "You've got five games left and you've got to win at least one of them to get to bowl eligibility and how you want the season to turn out."
Red-zone failures continued to give TCU coaches red faces. Texas Tech scored four touchdowns on four red-zone chances, while TCU had to settle for field goals three times inside the 20. Big plays also burned the Frogs' defense as Tech had four scores of 25 yards or longer.
"Both sides of the ball we've got to be able to play in the red zone," Gary Patterson said. "The defense didn't play in the red zone in overtime and the offense didn't play in the red zone really all game. You can't just kick field goals."
Offensive lineman Blaize Foltz left the game with a sprained ankle and is probable for Saturday. Gary Patterson said the swelling wasn't as bad because Foltz didn't play in the second half. Running back Matthew Tucker is still not 100 percent despite rushing 12 times for 59 yards and a score against Tech.
Defensive end Stansly Maponga, who did not play Saturday because of a foot injury, remains questionable for OSU.
OSU QB Walsh out
Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh is out for the season with a knee injury, coach Mike Gundy said. Walsh, a redshirt freshman from Denton Guyer High School, had filled in nicely for freshman Wes Lunt, who has been out since an injury Sept. 15. Walsh threw for 415 yards in the Cowboys' win Saturday over Iowa State.
Long time, no see
TCU and Oklahoma State meet Saturday for the first time since 1993, a 27-22 Cowboys win in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State leads the series 11-9-2. The Cowboys won the first meeting 13-0 in 1915.