Saturday, September 15, 2012
TCU's mistake-filled win opens Big 12 play
By David Ubben
TCU came to Lawrence to play its first Big 12 game.
It left with a win.
The Frogs can leave with that knowledge, but they also leave with a long list of mistakes that could have made Saturday's 20-6 win much more impressive.
TCU won and convincingly looked like the better team, but it also looked like a team prone to bone-headed mistakes when it mattered most.
On the game's opening drive, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall had a snap go between his legs on a play inside the KU 10-yard line. A scramble resulted in KU possession all the way back at the Jayhawks 47-yard line.
On TCU's next drive, Pachall was sacked and fumbled on a play at the KU 23-yard line. The Jayhawks took over, but threw an interception on the ensuing play.
With a 20-6 lead and a chance to seal the win early in the fourth quarter, Pachall was stripped at the 1-yard line on what would have been a touchdown. The ball squirted out the back of the end zone for a touchback and seven more points that would never be on the scoreboard for the Frogs.
Most unbelievably: Running back Matthew Tucker fumbled with just over three minutes to go inside the 10-yard line and TCU nursing that same two-touchdown lead.
The Frogs' Jaden Oberkrom also missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter.
By game's end, TCU had been inside Kansas' red zone six times. It finished with 10 points, three turnovers and a missed field goal. Not good at all.
TCU got the win, but the focus in the days to come will undoubtedly be on those big, big mistakes.
Make those same kinds of mistakes, and how many Big 12 teams does TCU beat? Anyone besides Kansas? It's certainly debatable, especially considering nine different Big 12 teams got votes in polls this past week.
The Frogs were the more physical team in this one, and running backs Waymon James and Tucker combined for 164 yards on 24 carries. James left the game late in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.
Tucker's fumble marred an otherwise good day for the backs, too.
Fortunately for the Frogs, the defense picked up the slack on this day. Through two weeks, though, Kansas had been the Big 12's worst defense. How many Big 12 offenses can TCU hold to six points?
Gary Patterson doesn't need anybody to tell him scoring 20 points, especially on the road, won't get it done in Big 12 play.
The mistakes were out of character for the Frogs, but they happened on this day.
To Kansas' credit, the Jayhawks have now forced 12 turnovers through just three games. In all likelihood, that'll be the best mark of any team in the league by day's end. No Big 12 team had more than five through two games.
On one hand, it's impressive that TCU could do so much wrong and still win somewhat comfortably on the road in conference. When you lose the turnover battle 4-2, that's not easy to do. TCU kept from sweating in the final minutes by forcing a Dayne Crist fumble near the goal line.
On the other hand it's definitely going to be big, big trouble later in the season if TCU does anything like this again.