Gary Patterson earned his 100th career victory Saturday, but don’t think TCU’s head coach spent too much time celebrating.
“I might go to dinner,” Patterson said Saturday evening after his team beat Louisiana-Monroe 38-17 in its home opener at Amon Carter Stadium.
“I don’t know if [wife Kelsey] has any plans. Just seeing her might be OK because I haven’t really seen her all week.”
Patterson’s milestone win inched him closer to Dutch Meyer’s all-time TCU win record of 109, but the 11-year veteran said the best part of reaching 100 wins means he’s kept his job longer than most.
“I’m excited about the 100 for the simple reason that it means I’ve had my job for a while,” Patterson said. “Hopefully, I’ll keep it until next week.”
But Patterson’s 100th win didn’t come easy.
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning led the Warhawks deep into TCU territory on their opening drive, down to the Frogs’ 6-yard line. TCU would make a third-and-goal stop and limit ULM to a field goal.
But on their next possession, the Warhawks drove deep into TCU territory again, capping it off with a 22-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Cody Wells to tight end Brent Leonard on fourth down. Leonard was found wide open after slipping past TCU defender Tekerrein Cuba.
Patterson said TCU had a general idea of what the ULM offense was going to bring, but the Warhawks’ early success happened because the Frogs’ simply did not do what they had to do.
“We understood what they were going to do,” Patterson said. “We had to make plays. Their whole first drive was our fault.”
After driving ULM into TCU territory for the third consecutive time, Browning tossed up what looked to be a prayer but turned out to be a 37-yard touchdown to a diving Tavarese Maye. Maye was guarded closely by TCU cornerback Kevin White but the two got tangled up in the endzone. White fell, but Maye managed to extend out to make the catch and give ULM the lead back.
Patterson said the Warhawks’ big first quarter showed his team what a lack of preparation leads to.
“I told them all week how they needed to practice,” Patterson said. “They found out in the first quarter what happens if you don’t.”
A 94-yard kickoff return by Greg McCoy sparked the team in the second half, which led to the 21-point victory.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall said McCoy’s return ignited the rest of the team and sent the momentum in their direction.
“That was big,” Pachall said. “That gave us a lot of momentum.”
Patterson agreed but said the intensity his team showed in the second half has to be there the entire game.
“When they turned up the knob, good things happened to them,” Patterson said. “We got to keep turning up the knob. We’ve got to learn how to play four quarters.”