TCU coach Gary Patterson defended his decision to play for overtime, rather than trying to get into field goal range with 36 seconds and all three timeouts left at the end of regulation in Saturday’s 29-23 triple-overtime loss to Baylor.
“You throw a pick, you get beat,” Patterson said. “You’re on your own 25 yard line. That’s not smart football, to be honest with you. You’ve held them to nine points. Why wouldn’t you think that you could hold them again?
“I mean, I hear the boos. Everybody needs to come down. They can come down and have my job. I mean, bottom line to it, you turn the ball over after they just barely made a field goal to tie it up to possibly go in overtime, you want me to start throwing vertical routes down the field? That’s not smart football. I don’t care what anybody says.”
Baylor had just tied the game at 9-9 with 36 seconds left on a 51-yard field goal by John Mayers.
Following a touchback, TCU had the ball on the 25 with all three timeouts. The Frogs likely would’ve needed approximately 40 yards to attempt a game-winning field goal.
Freshman Griffin Kell made a 52-yard field goal last month against Texas, and had knocked through a 47-yard field goal in the first half. Instead, TCU simply handed the ball off to Sewo Olonilua for a 6-yard run and let time expire.
That strategy didn’t work out in the end, of course. Other takeaways from the game —
▪ Freshman quarterback Max Duggan finished the game 14-of-32 passing for 140 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He played through an injury on the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand.
Duggan played better than the box score suggests. Once again, TCU receivers dropped passes, including Pro Wells dropping a perfectly placed TD ball on the opening drive.
Two of the interceptions aren’t on Duggan, either. One came on a pass that went through Olonilua’s hands, and another happened on the final play when Duggan had to get the ball into the end zone to try and extend the game.
Still, Duggan has now thrown seven interceptions in the last three games. He started the season without throwing an interception in his first 143 pass attempts. The seven have come in his last 97 attempts.
Asked about Duggan’s performance, Patterson said: “Good. Had a chance to win. The only thing we probably didn’t do, he threw back across his body on the one interception, it gave them an opportunity, but outside of that I thought he played a good ballgame.”
▪ Olonilua led the team in rushing for the first time this season. He had 79 yards on 19 carries, including a 2-yard TD run in the second overtime and a career-long run of 35 yards in the first half.
TCU’s offense finished the game with 199 yards rushing on 49 carries. If you take away Olonilua’s 35-yard run in the first half, the Frogs averaged just 2.7 yards per carry.
▪ TCU receiver Jalen Reagor starred in last year’s game. This year? Not so much. Reagor finished with just one catch for 8 yards and two runs for 4 yards.
▪ TCU’s offense gained 67 yards in the second half. Yes, 67. The Frogs had 171 yards in the first half.
▪ A bright spot from this game is redshirt freshman Ochaun Mathis. He had his best game as a pass rusher, finishing with seven tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Said Patterson: “All of those guys are growing up.”
▪ TCU has lost all four of its games decided by one score. Baylor, meanwhile, has won its four.
Said senior cornerback Jeff Gladney: “We’re 4 or 5 plays away. We talk about it every week, week in and week out. We talk about; we’ve just got to make those plays.”
▪ Patterson is now 101-11 when holding an opponent to less than 300 yards of total offense.
TCU travels to Texas Tech next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. in Lubbock.