The lightning delays were bad enough.
Now try waiting them out with the knowledge that two Top-10 teams had lost the night before. Was your turn next?
How long before the TCU Horned Frogs could get that question off their mind?
More than seven hours, it turned out.
And yet, by the end of the sixth-ranked Frogs’ 26-6 victory against Kansas State, it looked like a moot point. TCU (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) so dominated Saturday’s game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, no kind of weather would have made for a different outcome.
Everybody knew it. Hardly anybody bothered to return for the final 12:49 of a two-possession game, even with the home team holding the ball.
“Obviously, you relax a little bit and take some of the pressure off,” quarterback Kenny Hill said, asked what the team did during a three-hour wait to start the game and then a one-hour delay in the fourth quarter. “But then not get too out of there to where you can’t get back on the field and get the job done. I thought we did a great job of dealing with that.”
That was the real test Saturday.
The Frogs’ job was to stay ready for a game that could eventually result in them being alone atop the Big 12 — which they are now, with Texas’ loss to Oklahoma — and also remain one of the handful of unbeaten Power 5 teams in the country.
But also to stay mindful that two Top 10 teams, No. 2 Clemson and No. 8 Washington State, had lost just a night earlier. They watched it happen.
“It’s just learning from somebody else’s mistake and realizing that it can be gone just like that,” receiver John Diarse said. “You can go from top five, top six, to 23, to unranked. This team is much more mature than last year, and guys understand that hey, we’re trying to get to December. October on the road? Yeah it’s tough. But we want to be relevant when December comes around.”
That becomes more likely with the type of defense TCU played Saturday.
Head coach Gary Patterson’s Frogs were a mismatch for first-time starting quarterback Alex Delton of Kansas State.
Their blitzes had him under constant duress, resulted in two sacks and forced 11-for-29 passing. The KSU rushing game produced only 70 yards. Defensive end Mat Boesen forced a fumble with a sack. Travin Howard, Markell Simmons, Ben Banogu and Ross Blacklock stopped plays behind the line of scrimmage. Nick Orr and Ridwan Issahaku teamed up for a 4th-and-1 stop at the TCU 8 in the third quarter.
The Wildcats were 2-for-15 on third down.
TCU simply was never threatened by an offense playing without its normal starting quarterback, Jesse Ertz, who a year ago ran for 170 yards in K-State’s 30-6 victory in Fort Worth.
“We had a little bit of a salty taste in our mouths from last year,” Boesen said. “They beat us up pretty good. We came in this year, really prepared hard for them, wanted to stop that run. I think we did a good job.”
After play resumed following a one-hour lightning delay with 12:49 left in the fourth quarter and TCU leading 20-6, Kansas State gained just 41 yards. TCU put the game away with Sewo Olonilua’s second touchdown run with 8:44 left.
“We just wanted to finish the game off, really,” Boesen said. “We were just trying to get out of Manhattan, Kansas.”
On offense, it was more of the same for TCU. The Frogs won time of possession, ran for three touchdowns and converted nine of 18 third downs.
Outside of Darius Anderson’s second-quarter fumble, setting up a Kansas State field goal, and a dropped touchdown pass by KaVontae Turpin on the second play of the fourth quarter, it was a workmanlike performance for the TCU attack.
By game’s end at 6:15 p.m., about 10 hours after they arrived for a scheduled 11 a.m. kick, the Frogs had totaled 395 yards.
“They’re a good defense. They made some plays,” said Hill, who went 27-for-37 for 297 yards, no interceptions and was sacked once. “We made some plays, too. They stepped up in crucial spots. We had to kick field goals where we wanted touchdowns. We came out with a win. That’s the only thing that we care about right now. We’ll worry about that tomorrow when we watch film.”
Tomorrow. Seems like it would never get here.
TCU—Hill 7 run (Song kick), 3:54
TCU—FG Song 39, 1:43
TCU—FG Song 22, 5:44
KST—FG McCrane 38, 2:27
TCU—Olonilua 1 run (Song kick), 10:01
KST—FG McCrane 51, 8:21
TCU—Olonilua 1 run (kick failed), 10:01
Time of Possession
RUSHING—TCU, K.Hicks 16-58, Hill 6-13, Robinson 4-11, Olonilua 5-8, Anderson 2-5, Turpin 1-2, Reagor 1-2, (Team) 1-(minus 1). Kansas St., Delton 19-39, Silmon 5-14, Dimel 1-10, Barnes 4-7.
PASSING—TCU, Hill 27-37-0-297. Kansas St., Pringle 0-1-0-0, Delton 11-29-0-146.
RECEIVING—TCU, Turpin 5-70, K.Hicks 5-50, Reagor 4-49, D.White 3-44, Diarse 3-41, Austin 2-20, Slanina 2-11, Olonilua 2-11, Thomas 1-1. Kansas St., Zuber 4-40, Pringle 3-80, Schoen 2-17, Reuter 1-7, Valentine 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.