TCU quarterback Casey Pachall didn’t beat Baylor last Friday night in Waco. Nor did he extend TCU’s 25-game regular season winning streak. And he sure didn’t cap off a 24 point comeback.
With the Frogs trailing by one and needing about 10 yards to get within field goal range, Pachall threw an interception. A play later, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III took a knee, running out the clock and handing the Bears their first victory over TCU since 1995.
But…there’s two sides to everything.
Pachall threw for four touchdowns and 251 yards against the Bears but numbers, wins, and losses aside, the sophomore earned the respect of his team and his coach.
And he did it in his first career start after replacing the most respected, most accomplished quarterback in school history.
Pachall has it. Lots of it, too.
Moxy, as in watching your defense get scored on five plays into your first career start then returning the favor with a down-the-gut drive and capping it off with a touchdown run to even the score.
Moxy, as in down 24 points on the road to a team and a crowd seeking nothing but revenge and still being able to look a huddle in the eye, take control of it, then score three touchdowns in a row. All in seven minutes.
Moxy, as in throwing a game-ending pick then having the courage to face the media when no one is forcing, or expecting, you to.
We’re not talking about tattoos and long hair, both of which Pachall has plenty of.
We’re talking about a Dang It I’m Not Going Out Like This kind of mindset.
When asked what Pachall was like in the huddle during the fourth quarter, tight end Logan Brock’s eyes lit up.
“Casey’s an animal,” Brock said. “He don’t ever quit. He won the team over tonight.”
This, coming from a fifth-year senior who was there for TCU’s last regular season loss, there for the Rose Bowl and there for Dalton, who was regarded as one of the best leaders ever to play for TCU.
Even head coach Gary Patterson, who’s been known to fire his quarterbacks, even Dalton, every Monday, had high marks of praise for Pachall.
“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,” Patterson said.
Translation: Pachall’s job is safe.
But, while we’re here, back to the topic of tattoos.
As late Friday night approached early Saturday morning, Pachall stepped out of the TCU locker room to address the media, the tattoos on his chest and arms up close and visible and his shaggy strands of hair slicked back, still wet from the showers.
After answering questions for a few minutes he headed back through the locker room to board the team bus.
As we waited to talk to the next player, a member of the Baylor media nudged my arm and asked me about Pachall’s tattoos. It was the first time he’d seen him up close and he was a bit shocked at Pachall’s rough appearance.
Well, that’s Pachall for you, take him as he is, I said.
Friday night, Patterson, Brock and the rest of the Frogs took Pachall for what he was.