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October 21, 2012

10 Things to Think About Moving Forward

Now that there's been some time to process TCU's 56-53 triple overtime loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, here's a few postgame thoughts and things to think about moving forward:

1. Let's be blatantly honest: The Horned Frogs could have won that game yesterday just as easily as they lost it. On paper, they beat the Red Raiders in almost every offensive category. As for the defense, it played well, too, shutting the Red Raiders down in the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter.

But TCU couldn't finish.

I thought the third-to-last play of the game was a microcosm of the Frogs' day. Jason Verrett had just broken up Seth Doege's first down pass, then, one play later, Doege threw an out route near the home sideline and found Darrin Moore, who managed to out-maneuver Verrett for a 17-yard gain that set up first and goal for Tech.

My point: Verrett had a team-high 11 tackles, two for loss, with three pass breakups. Doege threw his way 10 times and completed seven passes, but only one of those went for more than eight yards. Verrett was all over the place.

But that one play -- one of the few mistakes he made all game -- was crucial in setting Tech up for the game-winning score.

Patterson talked a little about finishing games during his postgame session.

"We didn't finish this game," he said. "This late, it comes down to it, you're going to have to play 60 minutes, all day long."

2. The TCU defense dominated the third quarter and, overall, contained Doege for long stretches of Saturday's game. But Doege is a competitor. What he was able to do in the second quarter, leading two quick touchdown drives, kept Tech in the game when it trailed 17-7. Then, of course, what he was able to do in the fourth quarter and overtime speaks for itself. He finished 30-of-42 passing for seven touchdowns and 318 yards. When Doege earned the starting job last season, he seemed to slip into that mold of Tech quarterbacks that have been churned out the past 12 or so years. And, really, Doege, like Kliff Kingsbury, Sonny Cumbie, Graham Harrell and others, is a product of a system. But if producing huge numbers and scoring a lot of points was as easy as plugging a guy into a formula, then every program would do it.

3. Speaking of making things look easy, Trevone Boykin had another big game, throwing for 332 yards and four touchdowns. The problem Saturday for the TCU offense, which out-gained the Red Raiders 516-389, was converting first downs inside Texas Tech territory. The Red Raiders were able to pressure to Boykin and the TCU running backs. On five of the six sets of downs before their field goal attempts, the Frogs' running backs were either held for no gain or Boykin was sacked. TCU's offense was efficient for most of the day, but Tech was able to get pressure in key situations and the Frogs couldn't recover.

4. On his biggest stage yet, freshman kicker Jaden Oberkrom was perfect Saturday, making a school record six field goals. His 42-yarder with 18 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 36-36. It's amazing that Oberkrom is so accurate, yet so strong.

Before Saturday's game, he started warming up around the 20-yard-line, a distance of 30 yards from the field goal. But he wasn't going all out. What he'd do was stand over the ball, which was placed under a holder device, hinge his leg back and boot it through the uprights. No steps taken and no movement from the rest of his body. Each kick I saw would have been good from at least 35 yards.

5. Skye Dawson had the best game of his career with 10 catches for 154 yards. He also combined for 95 yards on kickoff and punt returns.

6. Devonte Fields is a manchild. The true freshman only had three tackles Saturday, two of which were for loss, including a sack. He also added a pass breakup. But, as is the case with most dominant defensive ends, Fields was able to draw Tech's attention, allowing the rest of the defensive line to put pressure on Doege. And he did it without Stansly Maponga, the drawer of most double-teams, playing opposite of him.

7. On that note, Patterson said he didn't know if Maponga would be able to play the rest of the season. Like last week, he'll be a game-time decision. Not surprisingly, the redshirt came off of true freshman Josh Carraway, who saw time in a backup role Saturday at defensive end.

8. Patterson wasn't happy with some fans leaving before the game was over.

"We were down 10, and people were leaving the stadium," he said. "Disappointed me. Our kids our fighting their tails off. You got to learn how to stay there until the end, to be honest with you. But I'm in charge of the team. I'm not in charge of the fans so I'm not talking about the fans anymore."

Personally, I thought the crowd was fine. I was walking down the northwest tunnel to the field when the Red Raiders scored to go up 36-26 late in the game. I'll be honest, when I reached the field the Tech fans were making some serious noise, and there were a lot more of them than I could tell from sitting in the press box. Still, TCU fans were plenty representative and rowdy, too. The student section was packed. The announced attendance was just more than 47,000, and I think that was an actual figure, not just a tickets-sold number. I do agree with Patterson, though, when it comes to any fan -- both TCU or Tech -- leaving Saturday's game early. No excuse -- great atmosphere, great game and a lot at stake even when the Frogs were down late in the fourth quarter.

9. I wrote Friday that Collin Klein would move into the Heisman lead if Kansas State beat West Virginia on Saturday. Well, the Wildcats thrashed the Mountaineers, 55-14, and Klein, at least on offense, had everything to do with it, accounting for all seven touchdowns, four on the ground, three through the air. So now, not only is Klein the favorite for the Heisman, his team is in the driver's seat in the Big 12 title race. The Wildcats host Texas Tech next week.

10. Either Oklahoma State looked really good, or Iowa State looked really bad Saturday. The Cowboys beat the Cylcones 31-10 at home. I'm not too surprised ISU didn't do much offensively, but I was impressed OSU was able to score the way they it did. Backup quarterback J.W. Walsh, filling in for Wes Lunt, threw for 415 yards, while Joseph Randle rushed for 151. Walsh could still be starting next week, but there is the possibility that Lunt could return. Either way, it seems Saturday the Pokes were able to get back into an offensive rhythm. Kickoff for the Frogs' road trip to Stillwater is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.



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