Horned Frogs fall to Texas in Big 12 opening, 31-16

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For the first time since 2013, TCU is heading back to Fort Worth with a loss against Texas. The No. 17 Horned Frogs were defeated by the Longhorns 31-16 Saturday afternoon, bringing their record to 2-2.

Texas was a three-point underdog going into Saturday’s game, but they seemed to want it more than the higher-ranked Frogs.

“You’ve got to give Tom Herman and his group a lot of credit for finding a way to win and go from there,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.

The Horned Frogs drove down the field with ease on their first drive, marching deep into Longhorn territory. However, a third-down stop by Texas forced TCU to settle for a field goal. Placekicker Jonathon Song nailed the kick from 46 yards, putting the Frogs up 3-0.

On their first time out, the TCU defense seemed to be in charge. After they stopped Texas on third down, the pressure applied by the TCU defensive line forced Longhorns placekicker Cameron Dicker’s 42-yard field goal wide left, keeping the score at 3-0 with 9:40 left in the first quarter.

With 4:39 left in the first quarter, the Longhorns got the best of the Horned Frogs’ defense and scored the first touchdown of the game. A three-yard run by Tre Watson gave Texas a 7-3 lead over TCU, their first since their 2013 match-up.

Quickly after, a 50-yard pass from quarterback Shawn Robinson to wide receiver Jalen Reagor had TCU knocking on the Longhorns’ door. TCU couldn’t punch it in and had to settle for another field goal from Song. The 26-yard kick decreased the Frogs’ deficit to one with 1:34 remaining in the opening quarter.

TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson calls out a play at the line of scrimmage against Texas in Austin. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

Early in the second quarter, a short punt by TCU led to good field position for Texas. This led to an easy drive for the Longhorns and a 34-yard field goal from Dicker made the score 10-6.

After both offenses were stale for most of the second quarter, TCU retook the lead on Robinson’s one-yard fade to Reagor as the clock wound down to halftime.

At the end of the first half, Reagor had recorded six receptions for 81 yards, and the Frogs were leading the Longhorns 13-10.

The Frogs looked alive to start the second half, as Robinson hit wide receiver KaVontae Turpin on a beautiful 39-yard pass following a Longhorn three-and-out. However, on the very next play, Robinson threw his fourth interception of the year to the hands of Texas safety Brandon Jones.

“We threw it right to them on a ball right down the middle of the field,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to play better.”

The TCU defense held strong again, holding Texas to another three-and-out on their following drive.

Another deep pass from Robinson to Turpin, this one for 25 yards, set up the third field goal attempt of the day for TCU. After Song’s kick was good from 29 yards, the Frogs led 16-10 with 10:16 left in the third quarter.

While TCU couldn’t miss a field goal, Texas couldn’t seem to make one. The Longhorns left another drive empty-handed midway through the third quarter after Dicker was wide left again, this time from 43 yards.

The Frogs gave it right back to the Longhorns though, as Robinson fumbled on a rushing attempt. This set up Ehlinger’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Collin Johnson, giving Texas a 17-16 lead.

“Collin is a great player, I did my best that I could do on him, and props to them, they played great today,” said TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney.

On the very next play, Robinson’s pass was intercepted by Texas safety Caden Sterns, who returned it to the two-yard line of TCU. This made it all too easy for the Longhorns, as Ehlinger ran it in one play later to increase the Frog’s deficit to eight at the end of the third quarter, 24-16.

KaVontae Turpin’s interception on a pass intended for Jalen Reagor contributed to TCU’s four turnovers against the Longhorns. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

As the fourth quarter began, TCU’s troubles did not stop. Song pushed his 41-yard field goal attempt wide right, giving the ball back to Texas with 9:16 remaining in the game.

The Longhorns then burned almost six minutes off the clock on their next drive, capping it off with Ehlinger’s touchdown pass to wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey.

The Frogs were not able to answer for the rest of the game, and the Longhorns prevailed with a score of 31-16. Texas had outscored TCU 21-3 in the second half, including the game’s final 21 points.

TCU out-gained Texas in total yards, 372 to 367, but the Frogs’ four turnovers compared to the Longhorns’ zero was the clear difference in the game.

“That’s two games in a row I think we’ve lost 3-0 in the turnover department,” Patterson said.”It’s going to be hard to win ballgames if you do that.”

Up Next
The Frogs will look to recover next week at home against Iowa State.

“In life, you lose, so what do you do? You get back up,” center Kellton Hollins said. “TCU, what do we do? We fight them on ice, and then we fight them until Hell freezes over.”

In their first home game since Sept. 1, the Frogs are set to kickoff against the Cyclones at 6 p.m.