Thursday, December 22, 2011
Big 12 new member update: TCU
By David Ubben
Time for what's probably our final checkup on TCU before the Horned Frogs join the Big 12.
Record: 11-2 (7-0 Mountain West)
National rank: No. 18 in the BCS standings. No. 16 in the AP poll. No. 15 in the USA Today poll.
Last result: Beat Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
What to know: Anybody who watched could tell TCU was a bit uninspired, perhaps disappointed it narrowly missed out on a third consecutive trip to the BCS.
Either way, the Horned Frogs erased a 24-17 fourth-quarter deficit to win 31-24.
Skye Dawson hauled in a 42-yard touchdown pass from Casey Pachall on a rollout to take the lead for good with 4:26 left to play.
The secondary struggled, and TCU couldn't get off the field for much of the first half, but managed to tie the game at 10 after after a Greg McCoy interception.
We saw plenty of those secondary struggled against Baylor early in the season, but the Horned Frogs rebounded in the second half.
"It didn't turn out the way we expected or how we wanted it to but we came out with a win," Dawson said.
He finished with 85 yards on four catches to earn MVP honors.
Pachall finished 15-of-29 for 206 yards and broke Andy Dalton's single-season school records for completions (228) and passing yards (2,921).
For frame of reference, five Big 12 quarterbacks had more completions, and Missouri's James Franklin needs just five completions to make it six. Five Big 12 quarterbacks had more yards, and Franklin needs 182 yards passing to make it six.
A couple local takes on the game:
What's next: The move to the Big 12.
Ironically, TCU is a combined 10-0 against the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC.
Against the Big 12, it is just 6-6. The Horned Frogs have won 11 games in seven of the past nine seasons, and in the Big 12, that pace figures to slow as they adjust to more grueling week-to-week schedules. Still, most of the offense returns next year, including several contributors. TCU's quarterback (Pachall), leading rusher (Waymon James), top receiver (Josh Boyce) and sacks leader (Stansly Maponga) will all come back next year as juniors.
There's no reason TCU can't contend for a Big 12 title in 2012.