Although the Horned Frogs claimed a decisive victory over the Falcons without two of their top players – linebacker Tanner Brock and tailback Ed Wesley – head coach Gary Patterson believes even with the 35-19 win there is a lot of room for improvement.
“We won and it was two hard road games but we are a long way from being where we want to be,” Patterson said.
Quarterback Casey Pachall made 11 consecutive completions to start the game, but a fumble right before half-time underscored his inexperience as a starter.
“He needed to throw that ball away because sometimes you can’t make all the great plays,” said Patterson. “You have to learn how to make field goals and punt.”
Pachall fumbled after being sacked by Falcon’s linebacker Jamil Cooks who recovered the ball with only 20 seconds left in the quarter.
Air Force got on the board with a field goal, leaving the score 21 – 3 at halftime.
Pachall said he attempted to throw the ball away before he fumbled it but it is a mistake that he needs take with him and certainly learn from.
Patterson’s defense and offense showed their true colors this weekend by breaking the Air Force’s five-game winning streak.
Patterson said the difference between defense this week compared to last week’s [Baylor game] was seen in the better tackles and the fact that they played a different offense, but he believes they did not play the pass as well as they needed to.
“Coming off a loss is a heart breaker but coming back and getting a win was big for the team and the defense alone; we’re just trying to get our name back,” said Tank Carder. “We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of growing up to do.”
With Brock and Wesley out, the team knew that they had to score whenever they had the chance.
“We knew we had to come out and each time we had the ball we had to score because we did not know how much we were going to actually get the ball,” Pachall said.
Senior Luke Shivers and junior tailback Mathew Tucker dominated the first half.
Shivers made a -3-yard touchdown within the first quarter, while Tucker scored the last two, with a 1-yard and 3-yard touchdown.
“Offensively we still need to be able to finish a ball game and we did not do that,” Patterson said.
The Horned Frogs extended their lead 28-3 in the second half, before Falcon’s wide receiver Zack Kauth made a 32-yard touchdown.
TCU responded with an 80-yard drive, changing the score 35-9.
With Wesley out, Tucker stepped up to the task and with Saturday’s game now has 18 career rushing touchdowns.
“The offense worked hard, we ran fast, and scored points,” Tucker said.
Along with a quarterback switch, the Falcons scored a field goal and later a touchdown with only four seconds remaining in the game.
The Air Force honored heroes of September 11th during the game. Some of those heroes included men and women who helped save lives on the day of the attacks.
Patterson looks forward to playing in front of the hometown crowd when the Horned Frogs take on Louisiana-Monroe Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
“I would have taken one point, all we were looking for was a win,” said Patterson. “The key to it is finding a way and we have a long way to go.”
Saturday’s game will be the first time the Horned Frogs play in the renovated Amon G. Carter stadium.