Defense sparks TCU past Texas
By JIM VERTUNO
AUSTIN, Texas — TCU could get used to these Thanksgiving games. Given their first chance to play one since 1928, the Horned Frogs beat No. 18 Texas to get the biggest win of their first season in the Big 12.
Matthew Tucker scored two touchdowns, Jaden Oaberkrom kicked two field goals and TCU’s defense forced four turnovers, three by Texas quarterback David Ash in the first half. Shortly after the Horned Frogs had dumped their old Southwest Conference rivals 20-13 on Thursday night, purple-clad fans sprinkled among the burnt-orange of Royal-Memorial Stadium chanted “T-C-U!”
“I’m going to probably get home some time tomorrow and go out in the street and yell,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
The Horned Frogs (7-4, 4-4) picked off two passes near their own goal line to kill Texas scoring drives and picked up an Ash fumble at the Texas 16 that set up Tucker’s second touchdown. The Horned Frogs also dominated the line of scrimmage, running the ball 48 times for 217 yards and passing just 10 times.
Ash was relieved by Case McCoy, who led a late touchdown drive before an interception by Sam Carter in the final two minutes sealed the win for TCU.
Although Texas (8-3, 5-3) has been a Thanksgiving regular since playing its first game on the holiday in 1895, those contests were usually against Texas A&M. But that rivalry broke apart when the Aggies left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
So the Big 12 sent TCU to Austin this year for one shot at the Longhorns — Texas will play Texas Tech on Thanksgiving next year — and the Horned Frogs nailed it with their first win over a ranked opponent this season.
“To put us on a Thanksgiving game, to be in this place, it’s a long way since when I was here when we started 15 years ago,” Patterson said. “We’re growing as a football team.”
Texas had won four in a row and came in the game with an outside shot at the Big 12 title or a BCS bowl bid with a win.
“We missed a great opportunity to get back in the mix for some things,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “You can’t win a football game when you have four turnovers.”
Texas hoped for a little McCoy family magic at the end. McCoy, younger brother of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, rallied the Longhorns in the fourth quarter last year against Texas A&M and rallied his team to a road win at Kansas this year.
Trailing 20-6, McCoy’s scrambling feet and short passes led an 82-yard drive to a touchdown by Jeremy Hills with just over three minutes left. But after Texas forced TCU to punt, a scrambling McCoy threw up a pass into coverage that was easily intercepted by Carter.
“The ball slipped and floated in the air,” McCoy said. “We didn’t take care of the ball when we needed to.”
Freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin rushed for a team-high 77 yards for the Horned Frogs. TCU linebacker Kenny Cain had 14 tackles.
TCU has had to slug its way through its first Big 12 season. The Horned Frogs were 4-0 before starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, got suspended and then left school for treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
TCU turned to Boykin in midseason and he was coolly effective against the Longhorns, scrambling for big yards on broken plays and called runs after ball fakes. TCU’s first scoring drive started with Boykin throwing out of his own end zone to direct a 94-yard march to Tucker’s first touchdown.
Tucker was originally ruled down on the 1 but the call was overturned on review to give the Horned Frogs the 7-0 lead.
Ash committed two turnovers in the second quarter, throwing an interception on the TCU goal line and coughing up a fumble at the Texas 16 when the ball simply slipped out of his hand as he pulled back to throw. The fumble set up a Tucker’s second touchdown, a 1-yard run that put the Horned Frogs ahead 14-3.
“I was ready for this game. I’ve been waiting on this game for the longest (time),” Tucker said.
Texas briefly pulled Ash for McCoy late in the second quarter, but McCoy couldn’t move the Longhorns and Ash started the third quarter.
Oaberkrom, who missed an early 33-yard attempt, kicked field goals of 18 and 41 yards in the second half to push TCU’s lead to 20-6.
McCoy went back in after Ash injured his ribs on a sack in the fourth.
“To win a ballgame like that you’ve got to make plays and defensively tonight we did,” Patterson said.
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