The TCU Horned Frogs suffered another road loss Saturday night, this time falling to the Oklahoma Sooners 30-29 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Frogs fell to 9-2 (6-2 Big 12) on the season, and were eliminated from Big 12 title contention with the loss.
A ferocious comeback effort fell just short for the Frogs, who trailed by 17 points entering the fourth quarter. After scoring a touchdown to make it a 30-29 ballgame, Gary Patterson and the No. 18 Horned Frogs decided to go for two rather than tie it with an extra point, but failed to convert.
“Our rule on the road is always to go get the win,” Patterson said. “To be honest, if their safety doesn’t knock it down, there’s a guy open in the end zone to catch it. If there was a mistake it was us going for two earlier in the game.”
Mistakes earlier on did indeed put the Frogs in the risky situation that ultimately cost them the game. Backup freshman quarterback Foster Sawyer, who started in place of an injured Trevone Boykin, threw three interceptions in the loss. The Frogs surrendered 24 points of turnovers to the Sooners.
Time of possession was not on the Frogs side either, with the Sooners having the ball for 36:37 to the Frogs’ 23:23. The Frogs were also out gained by the Sooners 536-390 on the night.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” Patterson said. “But our kids fought back and played the way they needed to.”
The Frogs got off to a hot start, with Sawyer leading the Frogs on a 97 yard drive in the first quarter that concluded with a 37 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kolby Listenbee, putting the Frogs up 7-0. That would be the only lead the Frogs had all night, as the Sooners would score 23 unanswered in the half, taking a 23-7 lead over TCU into halftime.
Plagued by four turnovers in the stretch, the Frogs also lost outside linebacker Ty Summers in the 2nd quarter when he was ejected for targeting Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield did not return in the 2nd half as a result of the hit and was replaced by Trevor Knight.
TCU tailback Aaron Green made it a 23-13 ballgame when he ran 26 yards for a touchdown early in the 3rd quarter. The senior from San Antonio finished with 126 yards on the night.
A 75 yard Semaje Perine touchdown would put the Sooners up 30-13 shortly after, but the Frogs caught some fire when senior Bram Kohlhausen came into replace a struggling Sawyer at quarterback. Trailing 30-13 entering the fourth quarter, The Frogs were propelled by a touchdown pass to freshman KaVonte Turpin and a Jaden Oberkrom field goal to cut the lead to 30-23.
With just under a minute to play, the Frogs came through when Kohlhausen found a leaping Emmanuel Porter in the end zone for a touchdown that made it a 30-29 ballgame. Rather than tying it up at 30 apiece with an extra point however, the Frogs went for two and failed to convert, sealing the win for the Sooners.
Patterson defended the controversial call that ultimately cost that sealed team’s fate in the game and the Big 12 title race.
“I didn’t go for the tie at West Virginia last season and wouldn’t do it again tonight on the road,” Patterson said. “They had no timeouts left, and if we make it, they only have 50 seconds to go a long way.”
Patterson also noted that he was concerned about fatigue that an overtime might give the team, pointing to the upcoming game against Baylor.
“We have a ballgame coming up on Friday, so if you go to three overtimes, you’ve got no chance to win next week,” Patteson said. “There is not one person on our sideline who wanted to go for one.”
Despite the heart-aching loss, players still maintained a positive outlook. Green said he is still proud of his team for its comeback effort.
“It’s what we do – we fight,” Green said. “We fight back no matter who’s on the field. We just laid it all out there, and we unfortunately came up short.”
Green praised his team for what they have accomplished this year with all the adversity they have faced from the injuries to the pressure of being on the big stage.
“I wouldn’t rather be on any team,” Green said. “These guys, my teammates, my brothers, they make this experience, my last year, that much sweeter for me. I’m just happy and fortunate to be here.”