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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

TCU alumni connect with each other at Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. on Friday Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tristen Smith)
How TCU's alumni chapters keep the Horned Frog spirit alive post-grad
By Addison Thummel, Staff Writer
Published May 11, 2024
TCU graduates can stay connected with the Horned Frog community with alumni chapters across the nation.

A tale of two halves: TCU’s comeback too little, too late against Texas

Texas+defensive+lineman+TVondre+Sweat+%2893%29+sacks+TCU+quarterback+Josh+Hoover+%2810%29+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+11%2C+2023%2C+in+Fort+Worth%2C+Texas.+%28Ricardo+B.+Brazziell%2FAustin+American-Statesman+via+AP%29
AP
Texas defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat (93) sacks TCU quarterback Josh Hoover (10) on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The Frogs offense had a 180-degree turnaround at halftime against Texas, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, but they still fell short, 29-26.

With under two minutes left in the game, TCU had the Longhorns deep in their own territory on third down and 12 yards to go. A stop meant a chance to tie it with a field goal or win it with a touchdown.

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers completed a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Adonai Mitchell, sealing the game before the Longhorns ran the ball a couple times and let the game clock hit 0.

Slow starts and similar stories

The outcome was a similar storyline that TCU has seen multiple times this season.

Last week against Texas Tech, the Frogs scored seven points in the first half, trailing the Red Raiders by 13 at halftime. TCU’s defense held Tech to 15 points in the second half, but the TCU offense couldn’t pull off the game-tying final drive, losing by one score.

“It’s the fourth game this year that we’ve had an opportunity to win down the stretch and we couldn’t,” said head coach Sonny Dykes.”

It was a similar game for Texas, too. The Longhorns played Kansas State last week and, after leading by 10 at halftime, allowed the Wildcats to tie the game in regular time. Texas prevailed in overtime, but it was proof that the Longhorns were vulnerable in the second half.

However, the Texas offense was too dominant in the first half and the defense was sturdy enough to hold off the Frogs for another 3-point victory.

The final pass from Ewers capped his 317 yards passing and Mitchell’s 61 yards receiving, which also included a receiving touchdown. The bulk of Texas’ receptions went to Xavier Worthy, who had 10 receptions on 13 targets and 137 yards.

Texas’ other two touchdowns came on the legs of running back Jonathan Brooks, who ended the game with 104 yards rushing on 21 carries. He also had 74 yards rushing on three receptions, including a 73-yard reception that put him in position to score his first touchdown.

Brooks’ second score came after TCU’s quarterback Josh Hoover threw an interception at the end of the second half.

“I made a mistake that cost us big time,” said Hoover. “I tried to do too much and make a throw that Jesus Christ himself shouldn’t try to make.”

Dykes said that interception was important to the outcome of the game, too.

“We’re gonna go into halftime down by two scores if we don’t throw that late interception, that was a big play,” he said. “It gave them a quick touchdown and, against a good football team, you can’t make those mistakes.”

Kicker Bert Auburn bailed out the Texas offense a few times with three field goals. His first two were for 30 and 32 yards. His last, a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter, was the only offensive production from Texas in the second half.

It would end up being the deciding factor in the game.

Durable defense

The defense was a hot topic for the Frogs. They’re the first defense to hold the Longhorns to under 30 points this season, giving TCU its best chance to win.

“We wouldn’t have had a chance without the defense,” said Hoover. “An unbelievable performance by them.”

Dykes gave high praise to the defense, as well.

“Defensively, I think we played well enough to win,” he said.

That was because the Longhorns only had one score in the second half, a field goal in the fourth quarter.

Safety Millard Bradford had an interception and brought it back deep into Texas territory, but he fumbled it, giving it right back to the Longhorns.

Don’t call it a comeback

Whether the Longhorns came out of halftime comfortable or the Frogs came out fired up, it was a completely different game.

Dykes said he told the team to not worry about the score and play as hard as they could.

A big part of the offense’s uptick was Hoover’s big turnaround in the second half. After throwing that late interception, wide receiver Savion Williams said Hoover is a player that has short-term memory, so he can get over mistakes quickly.

“He’s not a ‘get down’ kind of guy,” he said. “He said that mistake was on him and he came out in the second half a new man.”

That attitude helped him turn his own performance around in the second half, giving the Frogs their best shot to make a comeback win.

After only having 110 total yards of offense, the Frogs ended the game with 390.

Hoover accounted for 302 of those on passing plays. He said that really built up his confidence.

“There in the second half we were rolling,” he said. “Staying out of third-and-longs let me throw the ball around at a pretty efficient rate.”

Williams had career-high single-game totals with 164 yards receiving on 11 receptions. He also had seven yards rushing on one carry, when he took the direct snap and kept it himself.

To Williams, it was simple why he produced so much for the Frogs.

“They just had to give me the ball more,” said Williams.

Dykes said the duo found a spark early on that really connected in the second half. Hoover was fired up about Williams’ contributions.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “So thankful for that guy, he’s a gamer and made some big plays today.”

At the start of the fourth quarter, running back Emani Bailey ran for a 17-yard touchdown that also gave him 1,000 yards on the season. It was just the second time the Frogs had made it into the red zone.

Their first appearance was 10 minutes into the third quarter, which ended with a turnover on downs two yards away from the goal line. Six chances and none found the end zone.

The Frogs reached the end zone twice more in the fourth quarter.

A 3-yard pass from Hoover to wide receiver JP Richardson put the Frogs within 10 after the 2-point conversion was failed.

The Frogs closed the deficit to three after Hoover connected with Williams for a 14-yard passing touchdown.

There are still plenty of kinks in the TCU offense, but the second half against Texas showed glimmers of hope.

Up next

TCU needs to win its last two games against Baylor and No. 17 Oklahoma to gain bowl eligibility. Williams talked about what the team has to do to achieve that.

“Keep fighting,” he said.

The Frogs will play Baylor at Amon G. Carter Stadium at 2:30 p.m.

“I’m excited,” said Dykes.”I’m already fired up to see our guys play and my hope is that we’ll play four quarters like we did in the second half today and, if we do, we’ll have a chance to win a game.”

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