TCU With Another Mistake Filled Win Over Virginia

by Todd K | Posted on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012


By Todd Kaufmann

Sr Columnist

Ft Worth, Texas – The TCU offense better be making up some “Thank You” cards for their defense because they were really the only reason this game didn’t go the other way. The Horned Frogs seemed to cruise their way to a 27-7 win over the Virginia Cavaliers at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday afternoon though this type of cruising wasn’t exactly a good thing.

Casey Pachall was nothing more than average, saved twice on highlight catches from wide receiver Brandon Carter, and the run game with Matthew Tucker couldn’t do much either against a Virginia defense that gave up 461 yards on the ground to Georgia Tech the week before.

From the start, Pachall just never looked like himself. You can say what you want about the earlier start time but a Division-I QB needs to be ready for the game regardless of the time. His passes were underthrown, overthrown, thrown to someone else including twice to the guys in white jerseys and once to his head coach standing on the sidelines.

The other thing that killed this team was the amount of penalties. TCU was called for 11 penalties for 103 total yards, or three more yards than a full football field, three of which came on block in the back calls on three different punt returns, a holding penalty that negated a long punt return from Skye Dawson and a false start penalty shortly thereafter.

You would think after the first one they would have learned that pushing the guy in front of you isn’t something they’re supposed to do.

With leading rusher Waymon James out for the remainder of the 2012 season, Michael Tucker was asked to shoulder the load of TCU’s running game. While it’s a lot to ask of any player, it certainly shouldn’t be a lot to ask of a senior and one who has had a lot of game time experience.

Virginia’s defense never allowed TCU’s offense a real chance to get anything going. The only big play the Frogs had on the day was the 68-yard touchdown pass from Pachall to Carter which was one of Carter’s one handed catches that will likely be on the list of top 10 plays before the day is out.

Over the last two weeks, TCU has looked lethargic, tired, and flat out mediocre. Once they get into real Big 12 play, setting aside their game against Kansas this past week, they’ll get run off the field by teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State among a few others regardless of where the games are played.

For Virginia, quarterback Michael Rocco played the majority of the game until the Cavaliers coaching staff got tired of watching him and put in Philips Sims who led his offense on what was their best drive of the day. Better than Rocco had through three quarters of the game.

Sims led his team down the field and put the ball in the end zone to finally put Virginia on the board with a 14-play 89-yard drive, but with 4:22 to go in the game, it was too little too late. 14-89

While the score looked like TCU had this game well in hand, that was never really the case. Miscues on offense, walking off more than a full football field full of penalties, TCU played what most of us would call “playing to the level of your opponent.”

It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win. Although, I’m not sure you can say that with TCU now playing in the Big 12. You might be able to get away with games like this in the Mountain West, but the bigger teams in football will capitalize on your mistakes.

The other disappointing thing was the lack of fans that showed up to Amon G. Carter Stadium for the game. While the announced attendance was 44,583, most of us that were here will tell you it wasn’t even close to that number.

That might have been the amount of ticket sales but most of those fans either decided to stay out at their tailgate or not to show up at all.

I understand that it’s not the kind of opponent that will draw fans to a game, but shouldn’t you show up because it’s your team that’s playing a home game? Should it matter who the opponent is?

There’s no doubt the fans will show up for the bigger games, but a team’s energy is drawn from the fans. Without that, would a team really play up to their capability or will they continue to play to the level of their competition?

A win over Virginia was just another notch in the belt for the Horned Frogs and head coach Gary Patterson. They’ll travel across town to Dallas next weekend to face off against an SMU team that came to Fort Worth last year and shocked TCU.

No doubt there is a little payback to be had.

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