Casey Pachall may have been the losing quarterback Friday night, but the sophomore still came out of Waco a winner.
Pachall won his team.
The Brownwood, TX native, making his first career start, threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns but even more impressive than those numbers may have been the near-heroic comeback he led in the fourth quarter.
With TCU trailing 47-23 at the end of the third quarter, Pachall led the Frogs to 25 unanswered points, throwing for three touchdowns and setting the team up for a field goal that gave TCU a 48-47 lead over the Bears.
Senior tight end Logan Brock, who was on the receiving end of one of those fourth quarter touchdowns, said the rest of the team followed Pachall’s lead late in the game.
“Casey’s an animal,” Brock said. “He don’t ever quit. He played hard all night tonight. He stayed in the pocket and took a lot of hits. He won the team over tonight.”
Much has been made of Pachall’s tattoo-clad body and long hair and how his image is strikingly opposite of his predecessor’s Andy Dalton. But Brock said Pachall’s outward appearance has nothing to do with his ability as a football player.
“He’s got a lot of people outside of the team that don’t understand him,” Brock said. “But no matter what, he plays hard. He plays hard for his team.”
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said there are areas Pachall needs to improve on but overall, he was impressed with his quarterback’s play.
“There’s a lot of things he’s got to work on,” Patterson said. “To have a guy come in the first game against a Big 12 team in their house and do what he did, I was very happy with what he did.”
Pachall realizes Friday night was a unique situation and that not every game will pan out the same way, but he knows he, and the offense as a whole, have to take what they learned at Baylor and maintain that same mindset next week at Air Force.
“Of course, it wasn’t what anybody would expect from their first start,” Pachall said. “But I learned a lot of things and we’ll be ready come next week. We got to expect to score every series we go out there.”