The Horned Frogs shut down Texas Tech’s high-flying offense and the Robinson’s offense put up enough point to defeat the Red Raiders, 27-3.
Next, it was freshman Shawn Robinson’s debut as TCU’s starting quarterback. He only completed one pass for two yards, but the running game was a different story. The DeSoto product was lethal on the ground, gaining 68 yards on four carries including a 41-yard gain on a first-and-25 after a holding penalty.
Horned Frog wide receiver capped off TCU’s first possession with a KaVontae Turpin two-yard rushing touchdown on a misdirection wide receiver reverse after Robinson faked a handoff up the middle to running back Kyle Hicks.
“It was cool to see him get success right away,” TCU center Austin Schlottmann said. “It was pretty important for us to run the ball because it takes pressure off of him, and him having the ability to run helps.”
Robinson became the first true freshman to start at quarterback in the 17 seasons Gary Patterson has been head coach. The last true freshman to start at quarterback for TCU was Casey Printers Sept. 25, 1999, at Arkansas State, a 24-21 Horned Frogs’ win. Patterson was in his second year as TCU’s defensive coordinator.
He finished the game with 169 total yards and a touchdown pass, and the freshman led TCU in rushing with 113 yards on ten carries.
“We won it with a freshman quarterback, he’s got a lot to learn, but he did a nice job,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.
Kicker Cole Bunce lined up for the first field goal attempt of his career from 43 yards out, and he drilled it right up the middle to give TCU a seven-point lead, 10-3, with 1:14 left in the first half.
The 43-yard field goal was the longest make of the season by a Horned Frog, and it occurred on Bunce’s first collegiate attempt.
After Texas Tech opened the game going three-for-five on third down, TCU stopped the Red Raiders on their last seven third downs of the first half.
With 7:11 left in the third quarter, Horned Frogs had the ball on their own 20. A couple plays later, the ball was on the ground after Tech defensive back Justus Parker punched the ball out of Robinson’s hands on an option keeper, and the Red Raiders recovered for the first turnover of the day. Three plays later, the Red Raiders lined up to attempt a 20-yard field and then this happened.
Oh no… pic.twitter.com/cKpBmAs7Ys
— Max Olson (@max_olson) November 18, 2017
After Hatfield and the Red Raiders were stopped short by the TCU to come away with points on a drive that started at the TCU six, Robinson and TCU would put the game away.
“That was huge,” TCU linebacker Ty Summers said. “We just trying to show Shawn that it’s ok, we’re here for you, and that whenever you fall, we’re going to pick you back up.”
TCU running back Kyle Hicks said that stand change the game.
“That was big for offense because previously we’ve had some struggles,” Hicks said. “After the defense got that stop and we marched down the field and scored, that was a big turnaround for the offense and our football team.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Texas Tech was within striking distance once again with the ball on the TCU 30; however, the Horned Frogs evened the turnover battle after TCU linebacker Sammy Douglas jarred the ball loose from Shimonek on a scramble with 13:50 left in the game.
After the fumble, the Horned Frogs utilized 12 plays to cover 78 yards and extend their lead to 17, 20-3, after Bunce nailed his second field goal of the day from 25 yards out.
“Besides the kick out of bounds, I thought knucklehead [Cole Bunce] did a great job,” Patterson said affectionally. “He kicked field goals the way we needed to.”
On the Red Raiders next possession, the TCU defense got on the scoreboard. After Tech reached the Horned Frog 11, Shimonek threw toward the left sideline, and Horned Frog cornerback Jeff Gladney ripped the ball away from Tech wide receiver Dylan Cantrell to run it all the way back 93 yards for a touchdown. The score increased the Horned Frog cushion to 24, 27-3, with 4:39 left to play.
“Turnovers are huge because it’s just a complete swing in momentum,” Summers said. “When we had that, especially it gives our offense confidence knowing they can go out there and try to get big plays and force plays for big yardage because they know if we fail, we have there backs to get the ball back to them to give them another chance.”
Patterson’s defense has now held its last five opponents dating back to Kansas scoreless in the second half.
“First drive, we were in a four-man front on the defensive line, and then I switched to a three-man front,” Patterson said. “The biggest thing is Texas Tech spreads things out, three-man front doesn’t look like you have as many people in the box, but you get as many people and you have more coverage people on the wideouts, especially the way we change coverages. The kids did a great job of that today.”
The Horned Frogs are now one win away from an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium Dec. 2. There’s just one thing standing in their way: its I-35 rivals from Waco, the Baylor Bears.
“It’s really meaningful to have the opportunity,” Hicks said. “That’s one of our goals we set out to do this year is play in the Big 12 Championship game. That job is not done yet. We have to go out there on Friday and take care of business.”
TCU hosts Baylor in its regular season finale Friday Nov. 24 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.