After a 30-6 loss to Kansas State on a gloomy day at Amon G. Carter Stadium, TCU coach Gary Patterson spent a lot of time talking to his team, and then to reporters.
But he hardly talked about the game.
Instead, his message was simply, “We have to grow up on offense.”
That side of the ball gave the Horned Frogs little chance Saturday.
The production totaled a season-low 280 yards and two field goals. The Frogs averaged less than 4 yards per play. Receivers dropped balls left, right and middle. Neither Foster Sawyer, who started, nor Kenny Hill, who entered on the second series of the second half, completed half of their throws. And there were six three-and-outs.
By the time they finished the regular season finale with Hill hurt and Sawyer being intercepted under gray skies and a nearly empty stadium, the Frogs had lost for the fifth time at home, most in a single season under Patterson.
Talk about gloomy.
“We played the best defense in the league, and they treated us just like they were the best defense in the league,” Patterson said.
Patterson largely acquitted a defensive performance that allowed 30 points, praising an effort that produced a four-point margin at halftime. K-State led 10-6 at the break behind an opening-drive field goal and a 32-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by quarterback Jesse Ertz.
On the offense, Patterson was less forgiving.
“We have to grow up on offense,” Patterson said. “People turn the heat up, hit you in the mouth, and we don’t respond. That’s what I told them. You’ve got to respond. It’s simple.”
Receiver Taj Williams understood Patterson’s frustration.
“We beat ourselves up,” he said. “We had a lot of drops today. Rainy weather, we still have to go out and do our job.”
Patterson summed it up.
“We’re a 6-6 football team,” he said. “Pretty simple.”
Ertz finished with 177 yards rushing, and running back Justin Silmon added 133 yard and two touchdowns for K-State, which earned the right for consideration ahead of TCU for a bowl assignment. The teams were generally believed to be vying for a spot in the Texas Bowl, with the loser likely headed to the Liberty Bowl.
“Get it off your shoulders and get back for the bowl game and use that as motivation for the next year,” linebacker Sammy Douglas said, asked what the message would be in bowl practices. “Keep moving forward so we can get back to another bowl game.”
The Frogs’ bowl assignment is expected to be announced between 2:30 and 3 p.m. Sunday. It will be their 17th in 19 seasons.
Between now and their next game, Patterson will be preaching the same message — a 6-6 team still needs to grow up.
“We’re 6-6,” Patterson said. “We’re not accustomed to being that. We have a standard of how we play. I’m not going to sit here and crucify people. If you want to blame people, blame me – the head coach didn’t get it done. I’m a big boy. ‘Coach Patterson needs to handle his team a lot better, they need to grow up, that should be your headline.’ That’s OK with me.”
KST—FG Patterson 27, 9:56
TCU—FG Hatfield 31, 2:12
KST—Ertz 32 run (Patterson kick), 9:17
TCU—FG Hatfield 40, :09
KST—Pringle 83 pass from Ertz (Patterson kick), 13:01
KST—Silmon 5 run (kick failed), 8:22
KST—Silmon 3 run (Patterson kick), 2:38
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Kansas St., Ertz 19-170, Silmon 22-133, Dimel 2-16, C.Jones 4-15, Warmack 3-3, (Team) 1-(minus 1). TCU, Hicks 17-60, Hill 7-50, Anderson 4-22, Sawyer 8-10, Gray 1-0.
PASSING—Kansas St., Ertz 9-21-0-159. TCU, Hill 5-11-0-52, Sawyer 12-25-1-86.
RECEIVING—Kansas St., Pringle 6-126, Harris 3-33. TCU, D.White 3-16, Gray 2-59, Stewart 2-18, Diarse 2-13, Hicks 2-2, D.Walsh 1-13, Slanina 1-7, Tr.Johnson 1-4, T.Williams 1-4, I.Graham 1-3, Turpin 1-(minus 1).
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.