By Will Martin
It was the second largest crowd in TCU history save for a 2009 meeting with Utah (48,212).
It was the first night home game of the year for the Horned Frogs after three 11am starts. For the first time since the LSU game in Arlington, TCU donned the Black Nike helmet and jersey. Texas was in their backyard! It had been a while.
If you were looking to recall the last time a Texas Longhorn team had made the trek to Ft. Worth the year was 1994.
That was so long ago each team was part of the Southwest Conference. You also had no World Series due to a strike.
In a way it sort of figured that maybe the fates at hand wanted to keep each of these in Ft. Worth longer than required.
To the tune of a full game and 186 extra minutes of waiting thanks to Mother Nature.
Texas (5-2, 4-0) was coming off a bye and a convincing road win in Dallas against the Oklahoma Sooners. This night also belonged to the Longhorns by a score of 30-7. Early on the winds were swirling and it appeared that perhaps the bad weather would proceed to pass on by.
TCU (3-5, 1-4) began ineffectively in its first two drives with Trevone Boykin at QB. With the start of the third series Casey Pachall returned to the quarterback slot since his arm injury September 7th against SE Louisiana. For the night Casey completed 13 of 34 passes for 139 yards and one interception. Pachall was greeted with a standing ovation.
Longhorn QB Case McCoy was little more effective going 9 for 19 with one touchdown pass and two picks. The front four of the Texas defense played havoc on TCU’s o-line with Boykin first. A fumble on a sack early on gave Texas the ball on the TCU 3. Malcolm Brown got the first of two scores on a 3-yard run and an Anthony Fera conversion at the 7:48 mark of the 1st quarter. A nice one play, four second drive.
Texas would increase the lead to 10-0 on an eight play 62 yard drive followed by an Anthony Fera 43-yard field goal. Off to the west the clouds were beginning to firm up and get closer.
TCU finally struck gold on a flea flicker play. Covering 38 yards Pachall pitched out to Cameron Echols-Luper who then fired a strike to an in stride LaDarius Brown. A drive 70 yards long and took all of 97 seconds with 1:24 left in the 1st quarter.
The following possessions Casey Pachall would fall victim to another turnover via the interception. Texas would make the best of that miscue by Case McCoy when he found Marcus Johnson wide open on a 65-yard fly route for a Longhorn score at 9:24 and a 17-7 lead. The clock fell to 6:08 in the second period at 7:50 pm.
Having withstood many a weather delay in baseball it was different to experience one in football for the first time. First came the wind, then the rain, then the thunder and lightning. Then heavier rain and heavier lightning that refused to let up.
There were severe storms in the area but the rain didn’t start to fall and the first visible flashes of lightning didn’t come until several minutes after the players went inside. There was a bolt of lightning that went straight down behind one side of the stands, and several more after that when the storm moved over the stadium. My friend and one time broadcaster Mark Oristano told of the time lightning struck the field in a game with TCU and Texas Tech back in 1973. Scary!
Three hours and six minutes later at 11pm the remainder of the first half would play out. Only a five minute intermission as both teams stayed on the field. For those keeping track Texas added another field goal right before the half ended by Anthony Fera, this time from 37 yards out. 3 plays 46 yards and all of 50 seconds.
20-7 Texas at the half. Crazier than the weather? How about five scoring drives in which four of them were under two minutes and the other one a little over three. The Longhorns took full advantage of two turnovers for 14 points.
On Texas’ first possession of the second half they partook in an 8 play 89 yard drive that took up roughly four minutes and another touchdown by Malcolm Brown from three yards out at 9:20. One final field goal by Mr. Fera at 11:55 of the 4th quarter concluded the scoring in favor of Mack Brown’s team 30-7. Earlier in the week I predicted a low scoring game for Texas 24-13. I had the point total correct only distributed wrong.
Three Horned Frogs turnovers proved costly as it led to 17 Texas points. Johnathan Gray led all rushers on the night with 22 carries for 96 yards. Malcolm Brown netted 53 on 17 carries for Texas. Advantage Longhorns on the ground 187 to 45.
Aaron Green led TCU on the ground with 37 yards on 18 carries. Jordan Moore 4 for 18 and BJ Catalon 5 for 10.
Marcus Johnson (3 for 120 yards) and LaDarius Brown (7 for 87 yards) led all receivers on this wet and windy Ft. Worth night.
Texas played as complete a game as they have played all season. They appear to be all in under Mack Brown and remain undefeated in the Big 12 chase. TCU has now lost five games in a season for the first time since a ten game skid back in 1997. Back to back losses marked the first time that’s happened this year.
When all was said and done the game ended early morning at 12:30 am. Mack Brown was all smiles at games end when addressing the media.
“Proud of the guys. I thought they did a great job. They have all had a goal and a dream to play on Sunday and now they have done that, it has happened. We handled the three-hour delay much better than the two hour delay at BYU because we have experience at that now. Still got a lot of things we can fix, but still proud that they came back after the delay and played well.”
“I did think we played a team (TCU) that played Oklahoma down to three points and very well on the road. TCU is a very good football team. They were 3-0 at home coming into the night, so I really thought this would be a fight and a battle.”
On the other side of the coin was a dejected Gary Patterson who spoke of the teams shortcomings.
“You can’t spot a good football team points. Obviously we didn’t come back and play very well after we got into the rain. We warmed them up, we ran, we met with them, we walked through with them. Obviously they did a better job of that than we did.”
Coach Patterson then was asked about Casey Pachall.
“I don’t have any answers for that right now. We dropped passes; there were a lot of things. I’m not putting anybody at fault. The bottom line is we’re not very good. We’re going to have to get better if we want to win ball games.”
“The bottom line to it is that if we don’t drop balls then we have a chance. If we don’t hold people and jump offsides. I don’t think it has anything to do with Casey. You’ve got to give Texas credit to be honest with you.”
Casey Pachall with his take on the o-line play.
“They were playing extremely hard. I’m not putting blame on any single person or position group. We win as a team and lose as a team. Tonight we just came out not ready to play. [Texas] exceeded our energy level and were able to do what they did.”
19 years and 186 minutes later a dominant Texas team came away with a convincing win. Back to the drawing board for Gary Patterson and team. West Virginia comes to Ft. Worth this Saturday. Good tickets are available for the 2:30 pm start. Nothing short of a perfect finish will give TCU a chance at any kind of bowl game.
No pun intended but Saturday night’s matchup from the teams to the fans was thoroughly electric.