In The Shawshank Redemption, it’s famously posited by character Andy Dufresne that “hope is a good thing.”
In prison like Dufresne was, that may be true. In football, I don’t believe it is.
TCU lost badly at West Virginia Saturday, a 47-10 defeat that is the worst margin of defeat in the Gary Patterson era.
But the Frogs had hope. TCU won the first quarter 3-0 and kept West Virginia out of the end zone for the first 25 minutes of the game. The Horned Frog offense was misfiring on all cylinders, but the defense was doing just enough to keep TCU in the game.
The Frogs had to know coming in that to win, they needed to make it an ugly game. And the first quarter was certainly that.
Then West Virginia scored 21 points in the last five minutes of the first half. And the second half wasn’t much better, as the Frogs were flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety on their first drive.
Special teams were a problem for TCU all game. Punts into the wind gave West Virginia field position early, and when the Mountaineers punted with the wind, TCU would be pinned back in its own territory. After West Virginia’s first touchdown, the Frogs fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, and the Mountaineers capitalized with another TD.
Michael Collins was serviceable again on offense. He threw for 228 yards on 22/37 passing, one touchdown and no picks. Jalen Reagor caught the Frogs’ lone TD, but also had a few uncharacteristic drops in key early scenarios.
The run game was nonexistent for TCU. The Frogs ran 24 times for -7 yards, a mark so unsavory that I don’t want to talk about it at all.
West Virginia is a good team. They put up 535 yards of offense and should make the Big 12 title game. There’s a reason they’re ranked No. 9 in the land.
But the Frogs blew a good first quarter. There’s no two ways around it.
TCU needs to beat Baylor next week and Oklahoma State after that to reach bowl eligibility.