The unfinished, out-of-place upper deck towering over Amon G. Carter Stadium Saturday afternoon was a fitting shadowcaster to the even more out-of-place scene of SMU players and fans storming the field.
The visiting Mustangs beat TCU 40-33 this weekend, getting past the Frogs for the first time since 2005 and snapping their rivals’ 22-game home winning streak.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said Saturday’s outcome wasn’t what he or his team had wanted, but all streaks must come to end. How the Frogs respond to the loss and move forward is what matters most, Patterson said.
“For us, at some point or another, it was all going to come to an end,” Patterson said. “You didn’t want it to end right there, but the bottom line is our group downstairs has to do some soul-searching.”
But home winning streak aside, Saturday’s loss was TCU’s second this season. That’s two more than the Frogs had in the past two regular seasons combined. Plus, both have come at the hands of in-state rivals – the first being a 50-48 loss to Baylor Sept. 2.
TCU’s two early setbacks have been strikingly similar.
SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott torched the TCU secondary for 349 passing yards and four touchdowns, three of which came in the first three quarters and sent the Mustangs up 27-10 heading into the final quarter.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin did nearly the same against the Frogs a month ago, tossing five touchdown passes and getting to a 47-23 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
But, like in Waco, TCU and quarterback Casey Pachall used a big fourth quarter against SMU to erase the 17-point deficit and tie the game at 33-33.
Also like in Waco, the Frogs came up short in the end, this time giving up a touchdown to the Mustangs in overtime and failing to respond with one of their own.
Patterson appreciates his team’s resiliency but knows that in both cases – against SMU and Baylor – TCU failed to capitalize on their comeback.
“The bottom line is we’ve come back twice and come up short,” Patterson said. “Our kids did everything they could to get to that point, but you’ve got to find a way to finish. That’s two ball games we weren’t able to finish.”
Pachall said coming back like TCU did, then falling short again was tough and something they’ll have to learn from while moving forward.
“It was really tough after getting off to a slow start,” said Pachall, who threw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Mustangs. “To come all the way back and have it happen like that, it’s never easy to swallow, but we’ve got to move on and get ready for next week.”
TCU will be back in action Saturday when they travel to San Diego State University to take on the Aztecs. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. local time.
Wesley returns from injury, contributes in big way
Junior running back Ed Wesley returned to action Saturday after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury.
Wesley, who led the Frogs in rushing last year, had a team high of 93 yards rushing on 11 carries, including a 63-yarder in the second quarter that set up TCU for their first touchdown of the game.
Patterson said his team benefited from the return of Wesley, who also racked up 67 yards receiving on three catches.
“I thought Ed coming back gave us a spark,” Patterson said.
“I can’t talk about the officiating, but they were from Conference-USA.”
– TCU head coach Gary Patterson when asked about the referee crew used in Saturday’s game against crosstown rival and C-USA member SMU. The Frogs were flagged for 115 yards on nine penalties as opposed to the 76 yards incurred by the Mustangs.
“We’re in a six coverage where they shouldn’t even run by us. We’re backed up. We got everybody 12 yards deep, and they run a switch route, and we let the guy run by us. My mom might have knocked that away.”
— Patterson describing what happened on SMU’s second touchdown of the game, a 71-yard bomb from McDermott to receiver Terrance Wilkerson.