Following TCU’s 51-10 win over the University of New Mexico, head coach Gary Patterson’s wife, Kelsey, was about the only person in the media room for the post-game press conference who wasn’t completely happy with the result.
“He’s sticky!” Kelsey Patterson said of her husband. “Why can’t they use water?”
Coach Patterson’s Gatorade shower was sticky and deserved after his football team’s historic 12-0 season.
“We finally did it,” Patterson said to lead off the post-game press conference.
The Horned Frogs overcame a slow start and inconsistency through the second and third quarters to become the first 12-0 team in TCU’s history. The Frogs scored on an early safety after a wild snap, but could only add a touchdown in the first quarter.
But early in the second quarter, junior quarterback Andy Dalton was the star of the show. Dalton threw one of his two touchdown passes to Bart Johnson to open the explosion, then followed up with consecutive strikes to Antoine Hicks.
Dalton said he and the other underclassmen on the team wanted to perform well for the graduating seniors.
“I think (winning on senior day is more important than anything else as an underclassman,)” Dalton said. “To send the seniors out with a win, that’s what you want to do.”
Dalton also tied Sammy Baugh as the winningest quarterback in TCU history.
After the 21-point burst, the offense grinded to a halt as the defense gave up ten points to the Lobos. After the game, Patterson said it might have something to do with the team’s conditioning. Senior defense end Jerry Hughes disagreed.
“I think if anything it was just too much of that Thanksgiving stuffing,” Hughes said.
Senior Daryl Washington stood up and motivated the team at half. The defense played like they were listening. They forced four punts and three interceptions on New Mexico’s second half drives.
Offensively, Dalton was not as accurate as he has been in the past, but he was as sharp as ever finding the endzone. He threw four touchdowns and ran for another, making him involved in every offensive score. Hicks led all receivers with 123 yards.
On the ground, the committee of running backs combined for 147 yards behind freshman Matthew Tucker (62 yards) and senior Joseph Turner (44 yards) among others. Dalton also pitched in 45 net rushing yards.
The day also honored the Frogs’ senior class, who with the win Saturday, became the winningest class in TCU history. And it seemed like nearly every senior got his moment to shine.
Washington and senior Rafael Priest each recorded their first collegiate interception return for a touchdown. Hughes provided the pressure that forced New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie to make several bad throws and recorded a sack, as did senior nosegaurd Clarence Leatch. Seniors Ryan Christian and Clint Gresham contributed on special teams. Washington, Hughes and Turner all agreed that it was a special day in their post-game comments.
Afterwards, Turner talked about what senior day meant to him.
“It meant everything to have my immediate family on that field,” Turner said. “It was nice to get the everyone out there all together, because I see the football players and this team as my family, so it was good just to have my (immediate) family get to be part of that too.”
About two hours after the game, the celebration kept coming for Turner, who was holding a birthday party for his one-year-old daughter.
Even Patterson said he was ready to celebrate, but said he would have the team ready once their BCS fate is decided.
Representatives from the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls were in attendance and Patterson made a clear statement to them.
“We can play with anybody,” Patterson said. “I’ve watched the games over the last two weeks, and the coaches know we can play with anybody.”