TCU has lost consecutive games for the first time since the end of the 2016 season. Coach Gary Patterson described losing as a “disease” and the Frogs need to cure it after second-half collapses against Ohio State and Texas.
TCU had its chances to open Big 12 play with a win, but turnovers doomed it once again. It’s no secret that the turnover margin usually determines wins and losses in football games.
Away we go with our takeaways --
1. Quarterback matters. Shawn Robinson turned in the worst performance of his young career on Saturday. He’s now turned the ball over six times in the last two games – losses to Ohio State and Texas.
Growing pains are expected with a young, inexperienced quarterback. Patterson pointed to the 2007 season following Saturday’s loss, recalling a young Andy Dalton enduring similar struggles.
But Patterson reiterated his belief that maybe it’s time for backup Michael Collins to get more snaps. Patterson has said all season that teams need two quarterbacks to get through a season, and Robinson has left things to be desired the past two weeks.
“You’ve got to play better,” Patterson said. “Much is given, much is also asked, so you’ve got to play both of them.”
Robinson finished 17-of-29 passing for 197 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. He also lost a fumble on a 16-yard run. Robinson had a team-high 57 rushing yards on nine carries.
Collins, meanwhile, saw action late in the game after a big hit on Robinson. Collins went 3-for-9 for 34 yards passing, and also rushed for 6 yards on his lone carry.
The biggest question is how Robinson rebounds from an outing like Saturday.
“You can’t turn the ball over and beat people,” Patterson said. “Some of that’s on us. It’s not just on Shawn. He’s a sophomore. So we’ve got to do our job.”
As stated, it’s important to remember it was Robinson’s fifth career college start and this sort of game happens to young quarterbacks. Plus, he showed flashes such as a perfectly placed deep ball to Jalen Reagor in the first quarter for a 50-yard gain and another well placed deep ball to Reagor in the second quarter that Texas defensive back Kris Boyd knocked out of Reagor’s hands.
Robinson has shown poise beyond his years early on this season, and the hope is he’ll do the same after the Texas loss.
“Shawn has a strong mind,” center Kellton Hollins said. “He’s an athlete and he loves to compete. He won’t let [Saturday] stop him.”
2. Missed chances. Patterson pointed to multiple missed opportunities by the offense throughout the game.
The Frogs had a first-and-goal from the 4 late in the first quarter and settled for a field goal. In the second quarter, TCU’s defense made a fourth-down stop to take over in Texas territory and TCU couldn’t turn that short field into points.
In the third quarter, they failed to convert a third-and-1 from the Longhorns’ 11 and settled for another field goal.
In the end, the Frogs simply didn’t make plays. Patterson said that’s the difference between a winning streak and a losing streak.
“Losing is a disease,” Patterson said. “When it’s your turn to make a play, when things are going good, somebody finds a way to make a play. Things aren’t, somebody finds not a way to make a play. You’ve got to find a way to make guys make plays, and there was guys that made plays today, we just need to make more of them.”
3. The positives. As Patterson said, there were players who made plays in the game. Just not enough.
Among the more positives coming out is defensive end Ben Banogu registering 1.5 sacks. Banogu has gotten off to a slower start than he’d like, but he showed burst around the edge.
Along with his 1.5 sacks, Banogu had two quarterback hurries.
Defensive tackle Corey Bethley had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry; linebacker Garret Wallow finished with a team-high 11 tackles; and defensive end L.J. Collier had one sack, one break up and one quarterback hurry.
4. Johnson impresses. Texas WR Collin Johnson had a standout game. He finished with 124 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven catches.
The highlight-reel play came in the second half when Johnson laid out for a diving, 31-yard TD grab on a post route from Sam Ehlinger. His most important play, though, may have been early in the fourth quarter.
Johnson picked up a first down on a third-and-7, keeping a TD alive for the Longhorns as they extended the lead to 31-16.
TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney had nothing but good things to say about Johnson afterward.
“Collin is a great player, big body,” Gladney said. “I just did the best as I could do. Props to him … they played great today. He’s a good player. He knows how to use his body.”
5. Injury updates. TCU lost a couple significant players during the game.
Left guard Cordel Iwuagwu and free safety Niko Small each exited in the first half with injuries, and didn’t return.
Patterson is hopeful both will be ready for the Iowa State game next Saturday, but said Iwuagwu has a better chance than Small at this point.
Trey Elliott replaced Iwuagwu, and was flagged for a couple penalties. Overall, though, his teammates thought he handled coming in off the bench well.
“I think Trey did a great job of coming in and stepping up,” Hollins said. “Cordel is a leader on the offensive line and losing him was tough, but next man up. That’s our motto. He did a great job.”
Markell Simmons replaced Small, and Patterson felt he handled himself well.
“Markell played fine,” Patterson said. “There wasn’t anything that happened that he didn’t play. He made plays. You know, you lose some leadership [with Small out], but Markell is a senior.”