TCU coach Gary Patterson sticks largely to what he knows: defense. But one thing on the other end of the ball has been made clear to him since the start of the season.
“We’ve got to grow up on offense,” Patterson said.
The most obvious manifestation of that need to grow up has been the shuffling at the quarterback position in the latter half of the season. Foster Sawyer got his first start this season in TCU’s 30-6 loss to Kansas State, but the shuffling, and even some re-shuffling had no effect Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
It was Sawyer’s first start since TCU’s 30-29 loss to Oklahoma in November of 2015. He threw three interceptions in that game, which was about the only stat he improved on Saturday against Kansas State when he threw just one, on the game’s final snap.
Sawyer went 12 for 25 for 86 yards through the air before being replaced by Kenny Hill one series into the third quarter. Hill went 5 for 11 for 52 yards in six drives and added 50 yards rushing on seven attempts before sustaining an injury with eight seconds to play after his final scramble down to Kansas State’s 5-yard line.
The official word from TCU sports information before the game was that Hill was out of the starting lineup due to injury, but would be available in the event of an injury to Sawyer. Sawyer, however, did not appear to be injured when he was replaced by Hill, and two of the first three plays after Hill entered in the third quarter were zone read plays.
But quarterback wasn’t the offense’s only problem.
“Really across the board we got thrown around by everybody,” Patterson said. “We dropped balls. We didn’t block anybody on the perimeter. We’ve got to grow up, or go recruit.”
Sawyer was the victim of three dropped passes in the first quarter alone, and running backs managed just 60 yards on 17 carries. TCU got outrushed 336-142 by Kansas State and outgained 495-280 in yardage.
In the postgame press conference, Patterson, without being prompted by a specific question, expressed disappointment in his team’s fan support for the final game of the conference schedule, which was also Senior Day.
“I was happy with the student section that was here, but I wasn’t happy with the rest of it,” Patterson said. “Rain or shine, everybody’s got to be there. We’re all either going to be all in or all out.”
Saturday’s announced attendance at Amon G. Carter Stadium was 42,746, but if half that many actually made it into their seats, it would be a generous estimate.
TCU’s loss to Kansas State was its fourth consecutive loss at home, leaving the Horned Frogs’ home record at 2-5 for the 2016 season. That is the worst home mark in the Gary Patterson era.
“We’re suposed to protect the Carter,” linebacker Sammy Douglas said. “And we didn’t do such a good job. It is kind of difficult to lose every home game.”
Sophomore safety Ridwan Issahaku made his second start of the season, in place of the injured Denzel Johnson. He picked up extensive experience last season as a rotation player when waves of injuries hit the TCU defense, especially the secondary.
Issahaku finished with nine tackles, three on the game’s opening drive. His biggest was a run-stopping second-down play on Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz two yards behind the line of scrimmage to force a third and 7 before KSU settled for a 27-yard field goal.
▪ Cornerback Julius Lewis, who was banged up last week against Texas, did return in the third quarter against Kansas State but limped off later in the period. He avoided putting weight on his left leg as he came off.
▪ Senior Caylin Moore, a transfer from Marist, got his first action of the season covering a kickoff against Kansas State. Moore was named a Rhodes Scholar last week, the program’s first.
Matthew Martinez; 817-390-7760; @MCTinez817