Bowl Denial

Two players on the field at the same time wearing the #2 and losing by 2 points. Not a good day for TCU. Photo Courtesy: Kent Gilley
Two players on the field at the same time wearing the #2 and losing by 2 points. Photo Courtesy: Kent Gilley

By Will Martin

Homecomings are to be memorable. Homecomings are to be fun.

Homecomings are such that when the date in question is over and done there should be a happy memory that you take with you and remember for life.

In this case the reason that TCU football and coach Gary Patterson will be looking at a season of, ‘What If?’ is due to what occurred last Saturday in a moment that the outcome of a game was decided.

When Jaden Oberkrom nailed his 56-yard field goal for a 31-30 lead another comeback by the Horned Frogs looked to be locked in, locked up, dramatically won, with an eye for being a spoiler to Baylor’s dream run when they come to visit Ft. Worth on November 30th.

TCU will now have a lifetime to ask, ‘How in the hell did this happen?’

In football there are rules that are in place that are sometimes rare, archaic, never called, rarely an issue, located somewhere in the index section of the black book. When it finally rears its ugly head the proverbial you know what hits the fan and the second guessing shall begin.

We begin with a rough beginning for the Horned Frogs as the Wildcats-the team Gary Patterson once represented over 30 years ago-would put up a 14-0 lead in the space of two minutes on a Daniel Sams 11-yard run that completed a five play, 41 yard drive in under two and a half minutes with 4:01 to play.

Tyler Lockett would then be the recipient of a 74-yard touchdown pass from Jake Waters. One play in ten seconds as TCU was down two scores to start the second period. Keeping on cue with the script for most of 2013 TCU took a good 25 minutes to get themselves immersed in the end zone on a 15-yard run by BJ Catalon (his fourth in six quarters) for a 14-7 deficit before Jack Cantele added a 31-yard field goal right before halftime.

Saturday was also an unseasonably warm day in the midwest which led to some very windy conditions which suddenly disappeared in the third quarter. The fun and the fireworks were about to kick in.

Starting on their own 48 yard line TCU would quickly move the ball the full distance of the Little Apple to get within a field goal 17-14 when Trevone Boykin found Josh Doctson in the end zone for a 1-yard flip. 4 plays 52 yards. It seemed like a fantastic finish was about to be had.

Wildcat Daniel Sams on the ensuing possession looked to be heading for a first down on a 16-yard run before Jason Verrett popped the ball loose and Elisha Olabode recovered the fumble for TCU. 41 yards away from getting a lead or at the very least a tie.

Casey Pachall was finally able to generate some offense with some key rushes and two completions to LaDarius Brown for 19 yards. On a 4th and 1 at the K-State seven Trevone Boykin ambled on in for a touchdown with 7:44 left and the first lead of the game for TCU. 8 plays, 41 yards in three minutes and twenty seconds.

Just when it felt like the Horned Frogs were locked in with the bowl focus Kansas State struck back. Despite a horrid afternoon for receiver Jake Trujillo (three easy drops in the second half) the Wildcats began their next drive on the 20 and took all of three plays to regain the lead 24-21 on a 79-yard bomb to a wide open Trumaine Thompson for a touchdown.

BJ Catalon took the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to begin the Frogs next possession on their 46 yard line. Casey Pachall decided to be a good diner while tipping the Porter-in this case-David Porter for 51 yards and another touchdown for another TCU lead at 28-24 with 5:43 left in the 3rd.

All afternoon TCU was striking quickly and with this touchdown pass Casey Pachall tied Sammy Baugh for third place all time in touchdown passes in a Horned Frogs career. Andy Dalton still the leader.

Jack Cantele would add another field goal for Kansas State with 2:50 left as the third quarter ended 28-27 in favor of TCU.

Trumaine Thompson would provide excellent field position for the Wildcats on a 34-yard punt return as K-State would begin their next possession 44 yards away from paydirt.

This was the part of game that cost TCU the win in my humble opinion. Twice Jake Waters kept the football and gained only five yards. A pass to Kyle Klein went incomplete and Punter Mark Krause punted the ball all the way to the TCU four yard line. It appeared the Horned Frogs escaped trouble. Upon further review…

A penalty was assessed to TCU. Failure to wear required equipment!

Translation: Both Jason Verrett and Trevone Boykin were both defending on the punt. Both wear jersey #2. That is a no-no. This inexcusable lapse in reason gave K-State the momentum and the football in what amounted to a 14 play drive that covered 38 yards, ate up about nine minutes of the final period and after six Daniel Sams rushes brought the pigskin to the Horned Frogs 6 yard line as Jack Cantele gave the Wildcats another lead 30-28 with 5:59 left.

With no wind to contend with Casey Pachall and the Frogs took over again on their 20 yard line after a touchback. Three completions to Trevone Boykin, Brandon Carter, and Josh Doctson brought TCU to midfield. Two more pass completions after a false start took the Frogs to the 44 of Kansas State.

Trevone Boykin netted a rush of five yards to take the drive to the 39 of the Wildcats. It was here that Jaden Oberkrom connected for a 56-yard field goal that had room to spare for another lead change for TCU 31-30 with 2:13 to play. 9 plays 36 yards and a little under four minutes of time usage. This field goal didn’t surprise as I saw Jaden just miss a 62-yarder that was just a bit wide but long enough against West Virginia in the overtime.

Jake Waters began his last drive at his own 32 yard line. After two incompletions Waters connected on a 28-yard strike to Curry Sexton. 1st and ten at the TCU 40. Waters found Tyler Lockett for a 12 yard play on 3rd down at the TCU 28 as the clock began to wind down.

After an exchange of timeouts by both teams with under a minute to play the finish was about to happen. The second half alone up until now produced five lead changes. A sixth was about to come to pass. One last Jake Waters pass to Tyler Lockett netted 8 yards for a 4th and 6 at the TCU 24. Enter Jack Cantele.

Connecting from 41 yards out for a dramatic 33-31 with three ticks left. Victory for Kansas State (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) and the hope for a bowl bid still alive. With TCU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) defeat there will be no postseason or bowl invitations.

The margin of defeat was two points. Like the dreaded jersey number two players decided to both be wearing on one play that extended a drive for K-State when TCU had all the momentum.

Casey Pachall in defeat was 23 of 33 for 248 yards and one touchdown. BJ Catalon led all TCU rushers with 71 yards on 12 carries. David Porter with 77 yards on three touches for TCU. On the other side of the ledger Daniel Sims carried 19 times for 110 yards as Kansas State grounded out 170 yards. Jake Waters was 10 of 24 for 234 yards and two scores. Tyler Lockett with 123 yards on 8 grabs. 74 on 1 play while Trumaine Thompson amassed 85 on 2 receptions out of 257 as a whole.

As for the overall of the team Gary Patterson pulled no punches.
“Yeah, we had as much to win as they did. There is only one person to blame and that is me. We ran two guys on the punt return that had the same number which we do not do and so we left our defense on the field and let them go on fourth down and that was the difference in the ball game. Down the road you have to make plays, and you have to be defensive. That is a mistake that cannot be blamed on anyone, but me.”

How impressed was Coach Patterson with the field goal by Jaden Oberkrom?
“From the first day he has been here he has kicked over sixties in practice. He has not been as successful as of late doing that, kicking the long ones. He has been leaving them long as of late, but with this one he kicked it and drove it though. He gave us a chance to win the ball game. You could not ask for more.”

Lastly on the overall play of his team Patterson opined this:
“Like I said there was a lot of guys on both sides of the ball made some great plays. K-State had receivers with guys draped all over them and they still made plays. We had our guys when we had slant passes and there are just some great plays that really helped us stay in the ball game. They fought back last week when we let it slip against West Virginia and we fought back again today. There is a lot of fight at TCU, we just got to find away to win them instead of lose them.”

Although there will be no Bowl game to speak of don’t tell that to Casey Pachall who feels this way about Baylor on November 30th.
“It is our next game and we cannot think of it any other way. We are disappointed and very upset that we are not going to a bowl game, but we are going to play as if we are going to a bowl game. Our mindset is not going to change, we are going to come out and practice the way we need to. In two weeks on Saturday, we are going to show up as if we were going to a big bowl with the right mindset. That is how we have to approach everything. “ 

Except for one equipment boo-boo, that wardrobe malfunction, this year’s bowl will be empty. It would behoove Baylor to not look past TCU in two weeks if indeed they have BCS aspirations.