Collin Klein did Saturday night what most Heisman Trophy favorites tend to do, and hardly any of that involved putting up gaudy numbers.
Klein finished an underwhelming 12-for-21 passing, and though he ran for a respectable 77 yards, he averaged just three yards a carry. Then there was the interception he tossed on the Wildcats' first drive of the game, only his third all season. And he fell victim to pressure, as TCU's defensive linemen combined for three sacks and a number of forced throws.
But Klein did Saturday night what most Heisman Trophy favorites tend to do.
He made the Frogs pay for their mistakes.
"We didn't play good enough," safety Sam Carter said after the Frogs' 23-10 loss to what likely will be the top-ranked team in the country come Sunday morning. "They scored 23 points. We made a few mistakes, and it cost us."
After his second down pass was picked off by TCU defensive end Devonte' Fields, Klein, following a three-and-out stop by the Kansas State defense, responded with a 62-yard pass to Chris Harper, putting the Wildcats down to the Frogs' 27.
Klein, who is hardly known for his throwing delivery, a cockeyed, awkward motion that seems to squeak the ball out of his hand, was pressured by the TCU defensive line on the throw, as he was most of Saturday night.
But his pass was perfect, right into the arms Harper over the middle, who dragged TCU defenders about another 15 yards.
Five plays later, Klein ran seven yards to through the middle of the TCU defense for the Wildcats' first touchdown, the type of run so signature of his physical style of play.
Still, for the longest while after that, TCU was able to contain Klein and the KSU offense, holding the Wildcats to just 46 yards the rest of the half and entering the break down 13-0 but within sight.
But Klein did Saturday night what Heisman Trophy favorites tend to do.
He made the Frogs pay for their mistakes, this time, with 8:21 left in the third quarter, sucker-punching what little hope TCU had with a 34-yard touchdown run, the type of run that makes Klein look so deceptive as if he winds the game down to slow motion.
"When you have a team that just pounds the ball and you can't score and we give up points - you won't beat a team like that," Carter said.
Saturday's game down to TCU's mistakes, as few and far between as they might have seemed, Patterson said.
"There's a very fine line," he said. "Because that team right there, they might play for the national championship."
From an execution standpoint, Patterson said he felt like his team could have done a little bit more. But he was pleased with the effort by the Frogs, who scored a touchdown with less than a minute to go.
"I'm not sure that was our best shot," Patterson said. "But I think our kids played at high level, or tried to."
Regardless, Saturday night's game was a loss, the Frogs' fourth this season. TCU will play in a bowl -- that much was decided with its win over West Virginia last week. But after that, uncertainty sets in as to how the Frogs will finish up, with a Thanksgiving road trip to Texas and a Dec. 1 home date with Oklahoma looming.
For TCU, there were positives to take from Saturday night, but they don't mean much substantially, Patterson said.
"We played well enough at times to do the things we needed to do, but there's no moral victories around this place," he said.
After the game, Patterson said his team was feeling about as expected. And even with their third straight home loss behind them and a tough final stretch ahead, the Frogs still feel confident on a bright stage.
"I didn't see any kids hanging their heads, besides that we got beat. This is a young team, and I thought they fought," Patterson said. "We're not happy, but we haven't forgotten how to play big ballgames."