Mac Engel

TCU’s offense is so bad, it’s going to force Gary Patterson to find a new coordinator

TCU fans desperately looking for something to celebrate after its Saturday loss to rival Baylor, know that your team will soon have a new offensive play-caller.

There is no way TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie will survive the offseason to return. One of the most important parts to being a successful college head coach is having a fall guy, and the 2019 TCU Horned Frogs and head coach Gary Patterson have but one candidate.

To tie its game against Baylor and either win on a two-point conversion or send it to a fourth overtime, TCU had first and goal from the Baylor 1-yard line.

“We were at the 1,” guard Cordel Iwaugwu said. “We have to get that. Ain’t no excuses.”

No, no excuses. But he didn’t mention blame.

To win the game, TCU had to gain a total of four yards: a touchdown, followed by a mandatory two-point attempt from the 3-yard line.

In five plays, TCU only moved backwards, and rather than celebrate a season-saving win against No. 12 Baylor, the Bears left Fort Worth with a 29-23 victory and their undefeated record intact.

TCU should have won this game in regulation, but Baylor is the better team for a reason.

TCU’s wretched final possession

TCU has had some bad-to-mediocre offenses in Gary Patterson’s era, but we are watching something special this year.

The final score doesn’t reflect just how poorly TCU’s offense played during regulation. The Frogs tried to win a Big 12 game on the strength of three field goals. They nearly did it.

The only reason the game went to an additional overtime was because of receiver Te’Vailance Hunt’s “Palm of God” 24-yard touchdown catch in the first overtime on a fourth-down play that required a replay review.

The only reason TCU was in a position to tie the game in the third overtime was because of freshman quarterback Max Duggan’s twisting, bouncing 17-yard run. It was initially ruled a touchdown, but replays showed he had stepped out at the 3-yard line.

What ensued is going to force Patterson to find a new offensive coordinator.

TCU was stopped for no gain on consecutive plays; only a Baylor facemask penalty put the ball at the 1-yard line.

First and goal: Run for minus 3.

Second and goal: Incomplete pass.

Third and goal: Run play and a holding call.

Third and goal: Max Duggan was flushed out and barely made it one yard.

Fourth and goal: Duggan’s pass was too high and was picked off, regardless.

Even when TCU had the ball at the 1-yard line, Duggan lined up in the shotgun. The ball is at the 1, but it’s snapped three to four yards away from the line of scrimmage.

This was a running game that averaged 3.4 yards per rush Saturday.

The passing game was equally bad; Duggan completed 14 of 32 passes.

When TCU had to get one yard against a good team, it could not get it. Because the Frogs are not a good team, and when the offense did anything positive, it was more of a surprise than something that was expected.

Only beating Oklahoma can save TCU’s season

Saturday was more of the same for this 2019 TCU team; the Frogs dropped to 0-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

Don’t let Gary, or anyone wearing TCU purple, convince you they should be 4-0 in those games. They have lost all of them for a reason.

Unlike their “close” losses against Oklahoma State, SMU or Kansas State, the loss to Baylor should hurt the worst.

TCU’s defense played its best game of the year, and this was a game the Frogs led from the start. The Frogs should have led 7-0 in the first quarter after Duggan threw his prettiest pass of the season; from the Baylor 30-yard line, he arced a perfect spiral into the eager arms of tight end Pro Wells.

Wells dropped it in the end zone, and TCU had to settle for a 3-0 lead.

TCU’s most talented offensive player, receiver Jalen Reagor, did not register his first stats until overtime. It should be noted he had at least one major drop in the first half, as well as a potential touchdown catch that he could have made.

Nonetheless, this is a player who should touch the ball more.

TCU had plenty of chances to win this game but could not because the offense was just that bad. Bad as in 67 total yards in the second half.

Credit Baylor for forcing overtime on John Mayers’ 51-yard field goal with 36 seconds remaining.

The only reason Mayer’s field goal was relevant was because of TCU’s offense. At least when TCU lost Big 12 games earlier this season, it managed to score double digits in regulation.

TCU has three games remaining to qualify for the type of bowl game no one watches.

The Frogs lost another game Saturday, but at least in doing so, they found their 2019 fall guy.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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