Goal-line stand proves pivotal in TCU victory over Texas

The TCU defense came through with a momentum-turning goal-line stand in the second quarter Friday, keeping Texas running back D’Onta Foreman out of the end zone on a fourth-down play from the 1-yard line during the team’s 31-9 victory.

At the time, TCU held a 7-3 lead. The fourth-down stop, credited to safety Niko Small, ended one of five Longhorns’ drives that reached the TCU 30-yard-line or inside it during the first half.

The Longhorns managed only six points from those drives, which covered a combined 197 yards. Texas (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) kicked two field goals, missed a third attempt and was stopped twice on downs by the Horned Frogs (6-5, 4-4). TCU built on that first-half success, keeping Texas out of the end zone while recording a third consecutive victory over the Longhorns.

TCU has outscored Texas by a combined 129-26 margin in those victories.

“That felt real good,” linebacker Travin Howard said of the fourth-down stop of Foreman, a 2,000-yard rusher this season. “That gave us our energy. I felt like it was a big turnaround in the game.”

Linebacker Ty Summers said players had one common thought during the stand.

“You’ve got to be a wall,” Summers said. “When you’re protecting and keeping a 250-pound running back out of the end zone, it’s a matter of everyone stepping up and just thinking in their mind, ‘They are not getting in.’ 

No Turpin, Lewis

TCU played without receiver/kick returner KaVontae Turpin and cornerback Julius Lewis because of injury and Patterson said at least one should return for next week’s game against Kansas State.

“We’ll see how that all goes,” Patterson said, adding that it had been unlikely since Sunday that either would play.

In Turpin’s place, Desmon White had one catch for 25 yards and Deante Gray had four kickoff returns for 117 yards. Jeff Gladney started in Lewis’ place and drew praise from Patterson for a second consecutive strong game. It was the fifth game missed this season by Turpin, the Frogs’ all-purpose yardage leader last season.

Hill’s ankle ailment

Patterson said the availability of quarterback Kenny Hill was a game-time decision because of an ankle injury, which kept him out of practice this week. The ankle ailment flared up in the fourth quarter, and Hill did not play in the final 13:03, when the Frogs stretched a 17-9 lead to 31-9.

“He was ready to go, and he played, and he re-hurt it, I think,” Patterson said. “So he’ll have to go through what he’s got to go through to get ready to go and do what he needs to do again this week against Kansas State.”

Hill ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns, including a 41-yard scamper along the sideline in which barely avoided going out of bounds. He left the game after the first play of the fourth quarter and took treatment on the sideline for his ankle. But he was in good spirits after the contest, saying he plans to be ready for next week’s game against Kansas State.

Milestone moment

The contest marked Patterson’s 201st game in charge of the TCU football program, tying him with Dutch Meyer (1934-52) for the most in school history. Patterson picked up victory No. 149, improving to 149-52. He passed Meyer (109) as the school’s all-time victory leader in 2012.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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