What TCU did to Kansas on Saturday night was so complete, so thorough, so destructive, coach Gary Patterson started his postgame press conference by talking about Iowa State.
“We’ve got a tough ballgame next week,” were his first words.
What could he say about Kansas?
“We wiped them off the face of the earth”?
Well, no, not and remain a polite host.
But basically, yes, in a 43-0 victory at Amon G. Carter Stadium in which the Horned Frogs allowed only 21 yards — a Big 12 record — got five touchdown passes from Kenny Hill and a video-game punt return for a score by KaVonate Turpin.
It was the kind of performance the Frogs had long been unable to put together against Kansas, the worst team in the Big 12 since TCU joined the league. The Frogs had managed to win their five meetings by only a touchdown on average. Even two of the best teams in TCU history, the 2014 and 2015 squads, had to sweat against the Jayhawks.
Not this team. Not this night.
Favored by 39 points, the Frogs (7-0) met that standard and looked every bit the No. 4 team in the country. Their performance left no potential for a blemish on their College Football Playoff resume.
The 43 points were the most TCU has scored in the Kansas series, and the margin of victory alone was more than the 35 points that had decided the previous five games in the series, all TCU wins.
Until its final possession, Kansas and former TCU offensive coordinator Doug Meacham had 4 yards on 42 plays. The Jayhawks’ best drive, seven plays for 17 yards, came on their final possession. Two of their four first downs were because of pass interference.
“Just speechless,” Hill said, asked to describe his reaction to that kind of defense. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”
Patterson didn’t go that far, but he had few complaints.
“Excited for our guys,” he said. “We didn’t play a close ballgame like we had against Kansas.”
Not for one minute. The Frogs appeared determined to put this game in the bag early, not only to stay ahead of bad weather expected to roll in by midnight.
“We knew how important this win was to us and how big it is for us,” said receiver John Diarse, whose 67-yard touchdown catch gave TCU a 24-0 lead in the second quarter. “Because it’s games like this that those top-five teams lose and they go in the tank and you never hear about them for the rest of the season. That’s playing in the back of our heads.”
It looked like it. The defense gave up a first down on the opening drive, then forced eight consecutive three-and-outs. Kansas finished the third quarter with zero yards. Still, the Frogs weren’t even close to a team record for yards allowed. In 1932, they allowed minus-32 yards to Hardin Simmons.
Meanwhile, the Hill-led offense scored on four of the first five drives, stubbing its toe only on a first-and-goal at the 1 that turned into a field goal in the first quarter and punting on a fourth-and-1 in Kansas territory on the next drive.
Oh, and two missed extra points in the second half.
Patterson didn’t like that, or the way the backups ended the game.
“If you look at it as, ‘Well, I’m coming in for mop-up’ — no, you’re coming in and we’re evaluating,” Patterson said. “That’s what we do. We’re one play away from some of those guys having to play the next Saturday or the next Saturday or the next Saturday.”
Speaking of the next Saturday ...
“Not a lot of mistakes, but there were mistakes — mistakes that we can’t make, especially on the road against a good Iowa State team,” Diarse said.
Patterson, in fact, was getting ready for the next Saturday before the present Saturday was over.
“Got a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’ll start tonight. That’s why I’ve got my peanut butter and jelly.”
It was easier to think of the game ahead. Kansas, and a tight series, was now in the past.