FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU scored 82 points on Saturday. Could have been 100.
Not that Gary Patterson wanted that many points. But he did expect more than what he saw Saturday. Moments after witnessing the most outrageous result of his 15-year head-coaching career -- TCU 82, Texas Tech 27 -- Patterson was hardly satisfied.
"Fortunately for us," Patterson said, "we didn’t play very well and won a ballgame."
No, really, Patterson is serious. He found a handful of flaws in the No. 10 Horned Frogs’ 55-point victory. His cup runneth over with points, but Patterson refuses to call it full.
"I don’t think we played well all day," he said. "We still had to kick three or four field goals in the red zone in the second quarter. If you want to win a championship, you’re going to have to play better."
He has a point. TCU settled for four field goals Saturday, on drives that reached Tech’s 28-, 26-, 30- and 10-yard line. Sure, those drives could have ended with touchdowns.
Then there was the second-quarter possession that restarted at the Red Raiders' 38 thanks to a roughing the punter penalty. TCU lost two yards on its next three plays and punted again.
Finish with at least a field goal there, to go with touchdowns on all four of those field goal drives, and you would have a 101-point performance.
Would 101 points have made Patterson all that thrilled? He went out of his way to express frustration about a few more mistakes, such as poor first-quarter pass coverage and the ejection of safety Chris Hackett. At various points in his postgame comments, Patterson called his team’s showing fine, OK and sloppy.
That is what he told his players after the game. And they agreed.
"We know we didn’t play our best game," TCU receiver Deante' Gray said. "It may look like that on the scores and records, but we know we left a lot of points out there."
Quarterback Trevone Boykin, after his record-shattering day, added: "If we didn’t score every drive we were on the field, we really weren’t efficient."
What is wrong with these guys?
Knowing you can be even better, hey, that’s great. But don’t they know they just racked up 82 points, 785 yards and the biggest offensive output the Big 12 has ever seen in league play?
TCU averaged 9 yards a play and 18 yards per completion and had a 24-point first quarter, a 31-point third quarter, zero turnovers, four takeaways and countless rewrites of its school record book. The Frogs have already scored more points through seven games (353) than they scored all of last season (301). They scored so many on Saturday that the school burned through its annual supply of fireworks. Isn’t that just a little impressive?
"From a fan standpoint, from a media standpoint? Probably so," Patterson said. "From a coach’s standpoint? From what we’re trying to get accomplished? No."
There’s a reason for his madness, of course. After the game, Patterson thought back to 2010. The Rose Bowl season. The undefeated team.
He could sense his players were a tad too proud of themselves that November after a 47-7 road win against No. 5 Utah. He says he didn’t "corral them in" the next week, and TCU beat San Diego State 40-35. That was a little too close. The Frogs stayed No. 3 in the BCS but dropped a spot to fourth in the coaches' poll.
"It about cost us the Rose Bowl. Anybody remember that?" Patterson said. "We didn’t play well. Dropped. Almost cost us the Rose Bowl. We were lucky Boise got beat."
Those concerns came back early Saturday afternoon. Something about the Frogs’ vibe during warm-ups irked their head coach. Before kickoff, Patterson told them they weren’t ready to play.
That’s the biggest reason why, after the destruction of the Red Raiders was finished, Patterson stayed critical. There can be no letdown next game, not on the road against No. 20 West Virginia.
"I’m keeping my nose down," Patterson said. "I know I have a good football team. I understand the level of play they can play. I’ve seen them do it. Now we need to be able to do that."
Fourteen minutes into his news conference, Patterson finally gave in a little. He grinned, shrugged and joked: "You guys talked me into it. I’m happy now. We won 82-27; what do you want me to do?"
It’s not that Patterson doesn’t get it. He’s just not falling for it. Why get excited about 82 when you want so much more?
"If you guys want me to go jump up and down, that’s not ... we’ve got five games left," he said. "Gotta go win championships."