Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler secures a catch against TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney. Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com

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Penalties and turnovers doomed No.4 TCU on the road Saturday in Ames, as the Horned Frogs suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of No. 25 Iowa State, 14-7.

It was a combination of miscues that haunted TCU. Eleven penalties cost Gary Patterson’s squad 104 yards, often coming on key first down pickups.

However, the biggest one of them all came midway through the third quarter. After TCU quarterback Kenny Hill overthrew wide receiver KaVontae Turpin on an out-route from the seven-yard and was intercepted by Iowa State cornerback Brian Peavy, TCU appeared to run an interception of their own by safety Ridwan Issahaku back to the end zone to tie the game, but TCU defensive end Mat Boesen lined up offside, nullifying the game-tying defensive touchdown.

“I called it out because I saw the split, threw it right to him, problem was we were offside,” Patterson said. “What do you do?”

The referees also weren’t kind to TCU center Austin Schlottmann, who was flagged three times for holding.

However, the biggest back-breaker for TCU in its one-possession defeat was what happened in the red zone. The TCU offense was unable to reach as far as the Iowa State 20 in the first half, but in both appearances in the last two quarters, both ended in turnovers. The aforementioned interception by Hill, and a fumble by Hill on a play-action pass from the three-yard line. Naturally, questions abound as to why runs for either Darius Anderson, who finished with 95 yards rushing on 12 carries, or Kyle Hicks, who finished with 80 yards rushing on 12 carries, were not called just short of the goal line, but either way Patterson said Hill has to make those plays.

“In the red zone, inside the 20, got to get points, you got to make plays, been doing this a long time,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “You got to make plays.”

Even though the TCU offense couldn’t find the scoreboard, Patterson’s defense and the special teams unit gave the Horned Frogs a chance to win the game.

After allowing a couple of early touchdowns, the TCU defense shut out Iowa State in the second half, which was quite impressive, considering the size advantage the Cyclone receiving core posed.

The Cyclones top four receivers all stand 6-foot-1 or better: 6-6 Hakeem Butler, 6-5 Allen Lazard, 6-4 Matthew Eaton, and 6-1 Marchie Murdock.

 TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney is the only player in the Horned Frog secondary who stands at six feet tall or higher at six feet exactly. It showed, as Lazard hauled in six passes for 106 yards and on Butler’s and Eaton’s touchdown receptions in the first half, but Patterson and his defense adjusted, forcing five Iowa State punts, an interception, and a missed field goal in the second half.
Overall, the TCU defense allowed 255 yards, surrendering just 53 yards on the ground and 40 total yards in the second half.
The TCU offense actually out-gained Iowa State, as they finished with 307 yards of total offense, but the scoring spark for the Horned Frogs came on special teams.
For the second week in a row, Turpin found the end zone on a return, this time a kick return for 94 yards to begin the second half. It was Turpin’s first kickoff return touchdown and the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a Horned Frog since B.J. Catalon went 94 yards at Baylor in 2014. The kickoff return touchdown was the fifth way Turpin has scored this season. Turpin’s four combined kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns tie LaTarence Dunbar (1999-02) for the most in TCU history.

TCU punter Adam Nunez also put together a performance that put the Horned Frog defense in position to succeed, pinning Iowa State deep in its own territory a number of times, as he punted for a career-long 58 yards twice and averaged 42.6 yards per punt.

Ultimately, the penalties and turnovers added up, preventing TCU from holding on to its perfect season.

Up Next

Even though the Horned Frogs lost for the first time this season and will definitely drop out of the top four, there’s still an avenue for them to make the College Football Playoffs with one loss, especially this season. With games left against Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Baylor in the regular season, TCU can boost its resume significantly, especially if it wins the two road games in Norman and Lubbock, two of the harder places to play in the Big 12. If TCU could win the rest of their games, they would have another opportunity against a quality opponent in the Big 12 championship at Cowboy Stadium Dec. 2.

“We still control our destiny,” Patterson said. “We’re a good football team.”

TCU returns home to Amon G. Carter stadium for night game against the Texas Longhorns Saturday Nov. 4. Kickoff is set for 6:15 p.m.