Gary Patterson put the blame on himself and the coaching staff Thursday night.
TCU gave up two big plays on defense and the offense sure didn’t make Texas Tech’s worst-ranked defense in the Big 12 look like it by scoring just two touchdowns.
In the end, Tech held on for a 17-14 victory over TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
“There’s only one person to blame – that’s me,” Patterson said to open his postgame remarks. “I allowed two big plays.”
Yes, those were big plays, but the defense is hardly to fault. Tech entered the game with one of the nation’s best offenses, averaging 48.4 points a game and 591 yards. The Red Raiders finished with 17 points and 353 total yards.
Later in his postgame news conference, Patterson included the offensive side as well.
The Frogs’ offense has turned the ball over 13 times in the last four games, including three on Thursday, and scored just two touchdowns against a Red Raiders defense that had allowed an average of 28.2 points a game.
“We had a week-and-a-half to get these guys ready and obviously we did not on offense and we gave up two big plays on defense,” Patterson said. “... You shank a punt when you need a 50-yarder ... you can just go down the list.”
The turnovers and big plays were two of Patterson’s keys going into it, and TCU clearly fell short in each category.
The offense had 411 total yards, but turned it into only 14 points. They turned it over twice in Red Raiders territory in the first half.
Quarterback Shawn Robinson, playing through an injured left shoulder, had a would-be TD pass deflect off tight end Artayvious Lynn’s hands and into those of Tech’s Jordyn Brooks on TCU’s second offensive series of the game.
TCU had another turnover in plus-territory when running back Sewo Olonilua fumbled on a fourth-and-1 run out of the WildFrog formation from Tech’s 32.
“Just put two hands on the ball and get the first,” Olonilua said afterward. “[The turnovers] are definitely frustrating. We can’t let that be a [trend]. We just can’t keep doing the same things. We’ve got to improve every week.”
TCU saw its chances come to an end with a turnover on the final offensive play with Robinson trying to make something out of nothing on a fourth-and-1 from TCU’s 47.
“Great players make great plays, good players make good plays, bad players make bad plays,” Patterson said. “Everyone’s got to be a good or great player. That’s what we need if you want to be on the field, or we’re making a mistake putting you on the field.”
Robinson finished his night 26-of-45 passing with two touchdowns and one interception. He also had seven carries for 42 yards.
Robinson served as a team captain and impressed his teammates by gutting it out despite his shoulder issues.
“It showed he’s willing to fight for the team,” Olonilua said. “He played his heart out, so that’s good for him.”
Robinson was not made available for postgame interviews.
Patterson said he’d have to watch film of Robinson before assessing his game, and wouldn’t say whether he felt backup Michael Collins should have seen action on the night.
Patterson has been adamant all season that TCU needs to use two quarterbacks to get through the season, but Collins has seen limited snaps in four games.
For now, Patterson is leaving the QB snaps up to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie.
“Right now, that’s Sonny’s call,” Patterson said. “At some point in time that might become my call, but right now that’s Sonny’s call.”
For his part, Patterson is a defensive-first coach and wasn’t pleased the Frogs allowed “knockout punches” he warned about leading into the game.
Texas Tech scored on plays of 62- and 38- yards in the second half. The Red Raiders were held to just a field goal in the first half.
But they struck on their second possession of the second half with a 62-yard pass play from Jett Duffey to Ja’Deion High. High found himself wide-open down the middle of the field on the score that put the Red Raiders ahead 10-7.
“We screwed up the coverage,” Patterson said. “They went to quads and we didn’t have anybody vertical. We’re supposed to have, but we didn’t have.”
TCU’s secondary missed the veteran presence of senior Niko Small for the second consecutive week, and starting strong safety Innis Gaines exited with an injury in the second half.
After TCU had regained a 14-10 lead, the defense gave up what became the game-deciding play.
Tech had a short field when it took over with 7:11 left in the game, and Duffey started the series by scoring on a 38-yard keeper.
“They really had a nice call on the last one on the run,” Patterson said. “They caught us in a blitz.”
Now TCU catches itself at 3-3 with Oklahoma coming to town a week from Saturday. Patterson acknowledged it “doesn’t look good,” but said his team will learn and continue to grow up after an outing such as Thursday.
“Hopefully we’ll win more than we lose, but we’re going to learn,” Patterson said.