By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Gary Patterson knew exactly what happened. The Texas Christian coach didn’t have to watch film to know what took place when his defense gave up a fourth quarter, 76-yard touchdown run to Oklahoma’s Brennan Clay.
The touchdown gave the Sooners a 10-point lead and essentially closed the book on the Horned Frogs’ comeback attempt. It was also a play his team should have made.
“I already know what happened,” Patterson said after TCU lost 20-17 to OU. “The mike linebacker (Jonathan Anderson) didn’t play the cut-back on a blitz we’ve run since two-a-days. His job was to play the cut-back and he ran over the top. It only got talked about in walkthrough today — final one before we got on the bus to come over. Play the cut-back. On that blitz. It’s a run blitz.”
The miscue signified the issues TCU (2-3, 0-2) had much of the night against the Sooners. It had opportunities to pull out the victory, but mistakes at inopportune times doomed their efforts.
“Missed tackles late in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line really hurt us,” senior cornerback Jason Verrett said. “We just have to better ourselves at that point.”
Those missed tackles really showed up on Oklahoma’s final drive. TCU had closed to within three points with more than two minutes left in the game. Instead of going for the onside kick, Patterson decided to let his defense get the ball for them.
However, OU quarterback Blake Bell was able to break several tackles and picked up two crucial first downs to close out the game.
“We missed four tackles,” Patterson said. “We even went back to last year. Their first third-and-one, they had not run their big set. We actually prepared for it on Thursday because I really felt just listening they were going to try something different. They came out and that’s what they ran. And we didn’t move our linebackers over like we were supposed to. At some point in time you have to be able to execute the game plan. We are getting closer every week.”
While it was the defense who made key mistakes in the second half, it was the TCU offense that didn’t show up in the first half. In 30 minutes of action, it had zero points, 17 total yards and no first downs.
“This one stings,” senior guard Eric Tausch said. “But the way we see it, we didn’t come out on offense. We weren’t clicking. We didn’t find a rhythm. We came out second half, defense kept playing well and offense finally found a rhythm. You saw what happened. It was pretty frustrating. I think we had 17 total yards of offense. But either way you still have to find a rhythm and keep your head up.”
The Horned Frogs’ three defeats this year have come by a total of 23 points. In each contest, Patterson said his team had its chances to win, but mistakes kept getting in the way.
Patterson said his team needs to start believing they can win these type of close games. They can’t wait for it to happen, they have to go out and take it.
“At some point in time you have to create luck,” Patterson said. “They have to start believing they can be in the ball game. Like I told them, you want to go get a good job. You are not going to find that good job locked in your house with the lights off with the doors locked. You’ve got to go outside, get in your car and go interview. It’s plain and simple.”