Opinion: Team far from perfect, but growing

    213
    print

    Sometimes you just have to dance.

    Gary Patterson had to.

    Granted, it was for a mere two seconds–maybe less–but as the stone-faced, never-satisfied TCU head coach jogged off the Cowboys Stadium turf, a popular song blared over the PA system, and the former rocker couldn’t help but bust a move.

    Can you blame him?

    TCU beat BYU 38-28 Friday night in a far-from-perfect, get-the-job-done kind of way.

    But this year–with this team–that kind of way may be perfectly fine with Patterson, whose team won its sixth game and became bowl eligible for the seventh straight season.

    “Well, we just wanted to come out of this with a win,” Patterson said. “We’ve watched BYU improving. Their quarterback was hard to handle.”

    Coachspeak, maybe, but it’s hard not to believe Patterson.

    TCU entered Friday as a 5-2 team with two losses to teams similar to BYU both in talent and design. Throw in the fact they’d be playing in front of a split crowd at Cowboys Stadium on a Friday night and it’d be hard to expect anything more than a win.

    So if you came to Jerry’s World expecting a blowout, then, well, you came to the wrong place.

    But you almost got one in the first quarter.

    Casey Pachall found Skye Dawson on the game’s second play to put the Frogs up 7-0 within a minute of kickoff. Then after the TCU defense forced a three and out, BYU botched the snap on the punt, giving the Frogs the ball back on the Cougars’ 9-yard line.

    Two plays later, backup quarterback Matt Brown scampered in for a 6-yard score.

    Bang. Bang. Five minutes in and the Frogs were up two touchdowns and poised for a rout.

    Didn’t happen, though.

    Quarterback Riley Nelson led the Cougars on consecutive scoring drives to cut TCU’s lead to 14-10. That was as close as BYU got to the Frogs the rest of the night, but that didn’t mean TCU ran away with it.

    After the Frogs got up 28-10 before halftime, the game was never in question but TCU couldn’t seem to close the door.

    The offense stalled in the second half at one point going 18 minutes without scoring, and the defense let its guard down, giving up a touchdown on a punt return and letting the Cougars drive the field and score with 2:01 left in the game.

    Nothing about TCU’s win was perfect. But you know what? It didn’t have to be.

    Pachall was a subpar (for his standards) 13-of-23 passing, but the offense still scored 38 points.

    The special teams unit committed a cardinal sin of giving up a punt return, but the unit also forced two fumbles on other punts that set the TCU offense up for scores.

    And even Josh Boyce, the Frogs’ top receiver, dropped a couple passes. But he also caught a few, too, including a 33-yarder in the second quarter that put TCU up 28-10.

    Point is, the mistakes are still there–and they always will be-but the bad is slowly being outweighed by the good.

    Granted, Patterson would like that ratio skewed a little bit more in the direction of the positives, but at this point in the season, he’ll take what he can get.

    And rightfully so.

    Patterson has won 104 games at TCU, and you can almost guarantee he’s gone into everyone of them with the same mindset: Win by one.

    Friday night, Patterson’s team won by 10.

    Let the man dance.