The TCU defense, led by linebacker Kenny Cain’s fumble recovery and two interceptions, held the Virginia Cavaliers scoreless the first 55 minutes of Saturday’s 27-7 win.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Cain said about his defensive plays.
The offense struggled all day, head coach Gary Patterson said. TCU needs to convert in the red zone to be effective, he said.
“We were opportunistic,” Patterson said. “We get a couple interceptions, get a fumble. If we keep doing that then we give ourselves a chance to be successful.”
The Frogs’ first forced turnover came at 13:30 mark of the second quarter. Safety Elisha Olabode knocked the ball out of running back Kevin Parks hands, and Cain snagged the ball.
“If you watch the game, I was already on the ground, and the ball just rolled to me basically,” Cain said.
Cain’s first interception came late in the second quarter with Virginia on the TCU 33 facing a third and 14. Cain stepped in front Michael Rocco’s pass and ran it back 16 yards. Cain’s third quarter interception came at almost the exact same spot.
Virginia had a third and four from the Frogs 32-yard line. Cain snatched another Rocco pass and set the Frogs up on the Virginia 31-yard line.
The former high school running back totaled 56 yards on his interception returns.
Wide receiver Josh Boyce said it helps the offense when the defense can hold a team like Virginia to seven points.
For the first three quarters, the Frogs kept answering every scoring attempt by the Cavaliers. Late in the third quarter, the Cavaliers converted a fourth and one at their own 25-yard line. They faced another fourth down deep in TCU territory.
Jake McGee looked like he had secured a potential touchdown pass from Michael Rocco, but a huge hit from safety Chris Hackett caused McGee to drop the pass.
The Cavaliers finally found the end zone with 4:22 left in the game on a five-yard pass from Phillip Sims to E.J. Scott. Virginia was the first team to score a touchdown against the Frogs all season.
The Frogs wanted to hold Virginia scoreless or force a field goal, Cain said.
“Once it got the fourth quarter, guys were kind of losing their juice,” Cain said. “We’re all getting together trying to rally the guys, get back together and get back to the energy we had in the first quarter.”