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Column: Patterson earns his paycheck

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In this Oct. 6, 2012, file photo, TCU head coach Gary Patterson watches from the sidelines during the first half on an NCAA college football game against the Iowa State in Fort Worth, Texas. Patterson and TCU take on Kansas State. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

In this Oct. 6, 2012, file photo, TCU head coach Gary Patterson watches from the sidelines during the first half on an NCAA college football game against the Iowa State in Fort Worth, Texas. Patterson and TCU take on Kansas State. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

On Monday, USA Today reported that TCU head coach Gary Patterson was one of the nation’s 10-best paid college football coaches.

On Thursday, Patterson showed that he probably deserves his almost-$3.5 million a year by out-coaching the nation's second-highest paid coach, Texas’ Mack Brown.

And Patterson did it with defense.

Coming into Thursday’s game, Texas had put up 39.6 points and almost 458 yards per contest. TCU held the Longhorns to 13 points and 300 yards.

The Longhorns held the Frogs to 20 points and 299 yards, well under their season averages of 31 points and 411 yards. But TCU won the turnover battle (four to one), broke up four passes and recorded three sacks. 

Texas’ first drive ended with a red zone interception at the six-yard line. The Frogs’ defense went on to force a fumble and two more interceptions, the last pick sealing the win with 1:30 left.  

Patterson has been known for building teams based on defense since his head coaching debut in 2000. The Frogs ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

TCU was the third school in NCAA history to finish first in total defense for three straight seasons and the only school to lead the nation in that category five times.

The Frogs’ defense ranked No. 16 nationally coming into Thursday’s game, giving up 326.3 yards per game. It’s not the spot they claimed in Conference USA, the WAC and the Mountain West, but it’s enough to top the Big 12 conference.  

TCU leads the Big 12 in total defense and interceptions with 20. Junior cornerback Jason Verrett has a conference-high six interceptions while freshman defensive end Devonte Fields leads the conference with 17.5 tackles for losses.

The team has grown up this season and should take more credit for their work, Patterson said Thursday.

The Frogs faced Texas on Thanksgiving Day, an opportunity they haven’t had since 1928 when they beat SMU 15-6.

“For the Big 12 to put us on TV for a Thanksgiving game, to be in this place, we’ve come a long way from when I arrived 15 years ago,” Patterson said.

Patterson and the Frogs slowed down the No.13 scoring offense in the nation. TCU’s job won’t get any easier next Saturday when the No. 9 scoring offense visits Fort Worth.

But Patterson has already pulled off the upset against the nation’s second highest-paid coach.

When the nation’s third-highest paid coach, Bob Stoops, brings his Oklahoma team to visit next weekend, Patterson’s defense will have an opportunity to step up and show that their coach deserves his pay by defeating another team whose coach gets a bigger paycheck.

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