The TCU football team fell below the .500 mark on the season for the first time Saturday, with the Horned Frogs losing 29-17 against the West Virginia Mountaineers, who entered the matchup without a conference win. TCU’s defense continued to disappoint, conceding almost 500 yards to the Jarret Doege and Leddie Brown led Mountaineer offense.
Here are five things we learned from Saturday’s deflating loss at Amon G. Carter Stadium
Gary Patterson makes a top 10 salary at $6.1M/year.— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 24, 2021
Since 2018, his team has played in one bowl and not made 8 wins in a season. In 2021, he is 3-4 and his defense gave up nearly 500 yards in a loss to 2-4 WVU.
Might need to start wondering what’s his next act at this point…
1. The unrest surrounding TCU football continues to mount
Saturday’s loss was another low point for a football program that many analysts and fans predicted would bounce back this season. There were noticeable boos coming from attendees at The Carter, while questions continued mounting on social media about head coach Gary Patterson’s future at the helm.
The Horned Frogs fell to 12-10 at home over the last four seasons, second-worst among Big 12 Conference teams with only Kansas trailing. Whether the boos from fans were a result of TCU settling for a 24-yard field goal late in the first half, the continued decisions to punt in opposing territory or the three turnovers committed by the offense, Horned Frog fans are growing incresingly frustrated with the trajectory TCU football appears to be showing.
Charles Woods picks off Max Duggan! TCU receiver took a nasty fall too pic.twitter.com/LbxF6lPQm8— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) October 24, 2021
2. West Virginia exposed TCU’s greatest offensive flaw
The Mountaineers were the first team this season to contain star running back Zach Evans, who finished the night with a season-low 62 rushing yards on 18 carries. Although Kendre Miller shined in limited reps, Duggan’s foot injury appears to be restricting his activity in the running game, as the junior quarterback totaled only 27 rushing yards on seven carries.
TCU has excelled in featuring wide receiver Quentin Johnston over the last two games, but with West Virginia shutting down Evans and Duggan in the running game, the Horned Frogs were forced to make plays in the passing game. That came to a head in the second half, with Duggan throwing two bad interceptions and Johnston losing a fumble that effectively sealed the loss. The Mountaineers scored 10 points off the three TCU turnovers.
TCU football coach Gary Patterson had a simple answer to improve the defense: “You have to make plays.” Frogs have just nine sacks and seven takeaways this season. https://t.co/hq9NHD8wRb pic.twitter.com/9o0Zck7gJV— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) October 25, 2021
3. The trademark takeaways aren’t coming for the defense
What was expected to be a potent defensive line filled with veteran players and talented edge rushers has been extremely underwhelming as TCU reaches the halfway point of the season. Ochaun Mathis and Khari Coleman have only three sacks combined, while the interior crew of Corey Bethley, Patrick Jenkins, Terrell Cooper and Earl Barquet are routinely pushed off their spots and unable to fill gaps or gain penetration in the trenches.
TCU’s inability to rush the passer or contain the run has placed additional pressure on the team’s linebackers and defensive backs, who have struggled in deep coverage and aren’t coming away with the key takeaways seen in past seasons. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Dee Winters have stepped up this season and while TJ Carter has been a sure tackler in the secondary, too many backs are reaching second and third levels and too many receivers are winning routes down the field. The Horned Frogs are allowing over 500 yards per game.
4. Quentin Johnston has back-to-back 100-yard receiving games
The 6-foot-4 sophomore continued to perform after torching the Oklahoma secondary for 185 yards and three touchdowns last weekend. Although Johnston committed a crucial turnover in the fourth quarter, he continued to be TCU’s most effective pass catcher on Saturday, totaling five receptions for 113 yards. After being used as primarily a deep-ball threat as a freshman, Johnston has developed his short-yardage and intermediate route-running abilities while breaking away from defenders with yards-after-catch ability.
Texas Tech has announced a change in leadership for the @TexasTechFB program as Sonny Cumbie will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.— Texas Tech Red Raiders (@TechAthletics) October 25, 2021
5. A former TCU assistant will have his chance at the helm
Texas Tech made a bold move in its football program, dismissing head coach Matt Wells after a 13-15 run over three seasons while promoting former TCU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie to the interim position. Cumbie worked at TCU from 2014-20 before departing this past year to work for the Red Raiders, his alma mater. Texas Tech currently sits at 5-3 on the season, but bad conference losses against Texas, TCU and Kansas State appear to be the last straws for the athletic executives in Lubbock.