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TCU News: Defense Dominates, Robinson Shines

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The Frogs got a top-end performance out of the defense and a solid debut from their freshman QB to get out of Lubbock with a win.


Welcome to the Big 12, Shawn Robinson | The Star-Telegram

He looks like he is going to be just fine. Check out some of the highlights.

Hello, Shawn Robinson. TCU’s true freshman quarterback, who made his first-career start Saturday against Texas Tech, quickly showed off why he was a coveted four-star recruit across the nation out of DeSoto.

On the Horned Frogs’ first possession at Jones AT&T Stadium, Robinson ran the ball four times for 68 yards. Kenny Hill, who did not start because of a concussion, has rushed for 194 yards in 10 games.

Shawn Robinson wins as first true freshman QB to start for Patterson | The Star-Telegram

Robinson did all he was asked and all he needed to do to get the win.

The Frogs were missing six starters at kickoff and were down a seventh when safety Ridwan Issahaku exited in the third quarter. They do not know who will be their quarterback next week, let alone if they’ll get a chance to play in Arlington.

They know he can handle first-and-25. The Frogs faced that situation in Texas Tech territory on their opening drive following a chop block. But on the next play, Robinson ran left and kept for 41 yards.

“I was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome,’ ” Schlottman said. “It’s cool to see him get in there and just have success right away. We knew he could run the ball, and he really did it well today.”

And that he can brush off a fumble. Robinson had the ball punched away on an option run in the third quarter with TCU leading only 10-3. But the defense, backed up at its 6, forced a field goal that missed, and Robinson led an 80-yard touchdown drive with his next chance. It ended on his 12-yard scoring pass to Jalen Reagor.

Robinson completed only six passes. He didn’t crack 100 yards. But he also wasn’t intercepted — though he came close with his first pass.

“It’s hard to go on the road and win even if you have a senior quarterback, let alone a guy the first time he’s started,” Patterson said.

Freshman QB 1st start in No. 11 TCU’s 27-3 win at Texas Tech (Nov 18, 2017) | Fox Sports

I thought the game plan for Robinson’s first start was brilliant, and exactly what he needed, on the road, in the wind, with so much at stake.

Less than a year after winning a Texas Class 6A state high school championship game, Robinson ran for 84 yards and threw a key second-half touchdown in his first career start at TCU. He was filling in for senior Kenny Hill, who didn’t even make the trip to Lubbock because of an unspecified injury.

”The worst thing that could have had happened today was he could have had such a terrible outing that you lose your confidence and lose it for three years,” Patterson said. ”For me, that was the one thing that was not going to happen today. Shawn Robinson was not going to lose his confidence for the next three years.”

While Robinson was only 6-of-17 passing for 85 yards, his 12-yard TD to Jalen Reagor came late in the third quarter as the Frogs (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, No. 12 CFP) took a 17-3 lead.

TCU defense dominates Texas Tech in Lubbock like no team in 17 years | The Star-Telegram

These statistics are just mind-boggling.

The Frogs’ defense held the Red Raiders to a season-low 327 yards. It was an even more impressive showing for the defense than that yardage total indicates. It wasn’t until the fourth and TCU holding a 17-3 lead that Tech racked up 136 more yards, including 100 yards with under seven minutes remaining and TCU holding a 17-point lead.

“I probably don’t give them as much credit,” Patterson said, leaving off the second half of the sentence (“as they deserve.”). I guess the reason I don’t do that is I just expect them to do that. I guess that’s a shortcoming of mine that I just expect that’s the way we’re going to play. I should probably jump up and down a little bit more about it, but it’s one of those things if you want to be good on defense, you just do those kinds of things.”

The Big 12 Title Game Now Has Vital Clarity and Real Playoff Stakes | Sports Illustrated

A playoff shot? Eh, I am not buying it. But with Oklahoma State’s loss, the NY6 is firmly in play for the Horned Frogs.

Although a two-loss team has never qualified for the national semifinals before, consider what TCU would have going for it. The Horned Frogs would have wins over at least six teams with .500 records or better, a league championship and a marquee victory over the Sooners at an opportune time. TCU would need some help, but several of the teams the committee currently has pegged above it are guaranteed to lose in the next two weeks. With so little separation between the squads at the top of the rankings, a chaotic conclusion is definitely in play.

Even if the Horned Frogs ultimately fall short, the Big 12 emerged from Saturday in a good position. Its two best teams avoided damaging upsets to stay in contention for playoff spots.

Oklahoma locks up one spot in Big 12 title game, TCU has inside track for the other | NBC Sports

So, win and we are in?

As it stands now*, there are currently four Big 12 teams with three conference losses — Iowa State (finishes against Kansas State), Oklahoma State (Kansas), Texas (Texas Tech) and West Virginia (Oklahoma). OSU, Texas and WVU all lost to TCU, so they would be eliminated from contention even if TCU happened to stumble against BU.

While Iowa State beat TCU, they also lost to Texas, WVU and OSU. Thus, in case of a three-way tie — or more — TCU would get the spot in the conference championship game based on wins over everyone but ISU amongst the group of teams in line for a potential tie for second place. ISU, then, needs losses by all four of those teams plus a win over bowl-eligible K-State.