Patterson: Conference victories a priority

Patterson: Conference victories a priority

After a loss on the road to the nation’s now-No. 1 ranked football team, the Horned Frogs are looking forward to Saturday’s home conference game, head coach Gary Patterson said at Tuesday’s press conference.

The upcoming game against San Diego State University presents an opportunity to go 2-0 in the conference, to work on some things and to get back to winning, Patterson said. He added that since the beginning of the season, the team’s priority has been the Mountain West Conference championship.

“Now we’re past our non-conference, and everything that goes on from now on really has something to do with that,” Patterson said.

But that’s not to say the team isn’t thinking about last Saturday’s loss. Patterson said it’s very important that the team not let one loss turn into two.

“If you look at us historically, we haven’t played very well after we’ve lost to a Big 12 team,” Patterson said.

The team didn’t handle things well early in the game, but Patterson said the team outplayed Oklahoma and was a lot more physical in the second half.

“They gained 200 yards in the first quarter against us defensively, and then they basically had 200 yards the rest of the ball game,” Patterson said.

He said the team moved the ball offensively, but that teams just can’t turn the ball over against Oklahoma’s defense.

He said the team didn’t play as smart as it needed to, but that he was proud of his players for not backing down and not being intimidated.

“I can tell you there’s a lot of people out in the country that don’t want to play Oklahoma, and we did,” Patterson said.

The team also has other reasons to be proud of in its performance last Saturday, Patterson said.

“I thought we played a lot better on special teams,” Patterson said. “That bodes well for the rest of the season,”

He also said the young players are starting to mature.

Jerry Hughes, junior defensive end, said even though the score may not have showed it, the team played hard.

“It seemed like Oklahoma jumped on us early and caught us off guard,” Hughes said. “I felt, for the most part, it was a learning experience.”

Jimmy Young, sophomore wide receiver, agreed that the team fought hard.

He said that the team lost because of turnovers, but that the team’s offense is progressing well and that the team feels prepared for Saturday’s game.