Cheers and jeers to Darth Kellen aside, the Horned Frogs played a (perhaps uninspired) game in San Diego on Wednesday night, and gave Gary Patterson his 109th win as a head coach, and a tie with Dutch Meyer as TCU's winningest head coach ever. The Poinsettia Bowl was, like last time, a close and hard-fought match.
TCU came out flat-- which was widely predicted-- and in the first half was snakebit on third downs (converting none of five, but getting a field goal on one) while the Bulldogs converted six of eight. The Bulldogs' success on third downs allowed them to hold the ball for five and a half minutes longer than TCU in the first half.
The coach said Louisiana Tech was reading the Horned Frogs' signals, and that they changed 'em up at halftime. Maybe that's the whole story, but whatever got changed, the teams' respective fortunes reversed after the break. TCU's receivers stopped dropping the ball (mostly); the Horned Frogs converted (or scored on) seven out of nine third downs (the tenth in the stats was the game's final snap) and held the ball for 24:10 minutes.
In the few minutes (less than six of them) that Louisiana Tech did have the ball, it gave it away on half of its third downs. TCU's hits on quarterback Colby Cameron took their toll; the Bulldogs' passing game grew duller as the clock wound down.
And so the Frogs claimed their seventh 11-win (or better) season since 2003, 47 of those wins coming in the careers of this year's seniors. TCU will have to win ten in 2012 for this year's juniors to graduate with as many wins as this year's seniors. Given the increase quality of next season's opponents, that is no gimme.