After losing its season opener to Baylor by two, the TCU football team bounced back to beat Air Force 35-19 Saturday in Colorado Springs.
“We won, and it was two hard road games, but we are a long way from being where we want to be,” head coach Gary Patterson said.
Quarterback Casey Pachall made 11 consecutive completions to start the game, but Patterson said although he played with presence, the play before the half was not good.
“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 said he attempted to throw the ball away before he fumbled it but it was a mistake from which he needs to learn.
“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.
Luke Shivers made the three-yard touchdown in the first quarter and Mathew Tucker made a one- and three-yard touchdown before halftime.
The Horned Frogs headed toward victory 21-0 at the end of the first quarter until Air Force gained three points on the board with a 37-yard field goal.
Patterson said the difference between defense this week compared to last week’s in the Baylor game was seen in the better tackles and the different offense, but he believes they did not play the pass as well as they needed to.
“Offensively we still need to be able to finish a ball game and we did not do that,” Patterson said.
The Horned Frogs continued to lead the game 28-3 in the second half of the game before Falcon’s wide receiver Zack Kauth made a 32-yard touchdown.
Although the Air Force touchdown was a success, TCU responded with an 80-yard drive, changing the score to 35-9.
With Ed Wesley injured, Tucker stepped up and 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.
Those points were not enough for Air Force who lost 35-19.
“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.”
The game was played the day before the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and Air Force continuously honored heroes of that day throughout the game. Some of those heroes included men and women who helped save lives on the day of the attacks.
Patterson knows that it is because of those men and women in the armed forces, like his son, that he can sleep at night and have peace.
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.”
Air Force 19
Casey Pachall: 20-25, 206 yards 2 TDs passing
Matthew Tucker: 16 carries, 99 yards, 2 TDs rushing
Josh Boyce: 5 catches, 76 yards receiving