TCU is a break-even team after a 27-24 loss in two overtimes to Texas Tech at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
That’s not where the Horned Frogs expected to be after eight games. The Big 12 title fell out of reach last week and now a bowl bid may be slipping further away. It will take a split of the last four games to get there, and with the uncertainty at quarterback and kicker, that will not be easy.
But first, a look at five things we think after Saturday’s game against Tech:
1. Quarterback is now a problem. That’s the last area most people would have picked to be a weak spot on this team, outside of maybe placekicker. Kenny Hill is a good runner and has the tools, but the throws don’t always line up for him. Quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie finally saw enough for a change and made the switch to Foster Sawyer in the third quarter against Texas Tech. What did he get? The same thing. The new quarterback made some throws and missed some throws. Badly. The result of such poor quarterbacking was 24 points in 13 possessions against a bad defense. There is no winning in the Big 12 that way.
2. This could become more of a running team. The Frogs were forced to dip into their running back inventory very early against Texas Tech when Kyle Hicks turned an ankle. He returned to the game but didn’t see a lot of action, so Derrick Green, Travorris Johnson and Sewo Olonilua wound up with 26 carries. And they all looked good. Olonilua averaged 6.9 a carry. Green scored on a direct snap. Johnson bulled his way in for a touchdown after getting three straight carries from the 6-yard line. The coaches will decide how well they played in pass protection and other areas, but when it came to running the ball, they all earned trust.
3. The danger of missing a bowl game is real. TCU needs to split the last four games. Look at Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State and pick two wins. Baylor and Oklahoma State have very good quarterbacks, Texas is dangerous and K-State does not beat itself. Nothing can be assumed.
Defensive end Mat Boesen had two sacks against Texas Tech to give him a team-leading six for the season. He recorded 10 tackles, the most by a TCU defensive lineman this season.
4. Speaking of nothing can be assumed, the kicking game is not settled at all. But Brandon Hatfield appeared to have things nailed down. Three weeks ago, Gary Patterson said it would be hard to move him out of the job. That was after he had made six of seven kicks and won a game at Kansas. Since then, it’s two of five. There were three misses against Texas Tech, all inside 40 yards. The Frogs won a game at Kansas because of three misses. Now they’ve lost a game with their own three misses.
5. Mat Boesen is going to help. Just watch him play. He is relentless, and he is making plays. He had two sacks and a forced fumble against Texas Tech. That gives him six of the first for the season and two of the second. And he’s not even a starter. But playing time could be growing for the transfer from Boise State. He spent a lot of time on the field in the second half against Tech because Josh Carraway went out. If the door is open for Boesen, he looks ready to step through it.