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Blog Entry

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 5:31 am
 

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN DIEGO -- Gary Patterson's philosophy is a simple one that has served him and his TCU team well over the years. It has won them a lot of ball games and elevated the program to the position it currently occupies, coming off a Rose Bowl win and headed to the Big 12 next season.

The Horned Frogs success is built upon just one point. Namely, having one more than your opponent and, hopefully, it is on the TCU side of the scoreboard at the end of the game.

It is not a philosophy that will endear him to fans or the TV networks counting on ratings but there's no arguing that it works. Patterson's team was seven points better than Louisiana Tech Wednesday night but, in reality, they lived up to the 'one point' motto and not the 31-24 final score in a sloppy San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl win.

"To come in and play like that, I think you have to give them credit for what they did," Patterson said. "I think you have to give our team credit in the fact that it's a situation where everybody said a lot of things - been out for a while, banged up - but we found a way to win."

A poinsettia for Christmas wasn't exactly what TCU had in mind after the bouquet of roses they took home from Pasadena in January. That much was evident in the lackluster first half, as the Horned Frogs offense failed to convert a third down and both sides committed several penalties befitting of a bowl played before the holidays.

"We did have an expectation to get into the BCS but it didn't happen," said game MVP Skye Dawson. "Since we didn't make it into the BCS we had to play hard. We came out here to play hard and win."

Both squads were two of the hottest in the country, reeling off seven straight wins on the way to capturing their respective conference championships. It was a first half filled with rust however.

"When you play a good football team like TCU and you have as many opportunities to distance yourself from them as we did in the first half, that's going to come back and bite you if you don't make enough plays," Tech head coach Sonny Dykes said. "It really felt like we dominated the first half."

Wide receivers were finding plenty of openings against the young TCU secondary but couldn't convert promising drives into the red zone into points most of the first half. A missed field goal by Matt Nelson in the second quarter clanked off the left upright and was fitting on a night where the Bulldogs were close but just couldn't get the bounce they had gotten since turning around their season in October.

"I don't think anybody expected this to be much of a game," Dykes said. "If you asked the national media, they probably wouldn't know what state Louisiana Tech was in."

The Bulldogs - from Ruston, in the northern part of Louisiana by the way - showed plenty of grit throughout, especially on defense. They went five-wide on offense most of the night and neutralized All-American linebacker Tank Carder, who finished with just four tackles. Tech was close to taking the lead - and much-needed momentum into the locker room - at halftime before allowing an Ed Wesley touchdown run with seconds left in the half to tie the game at 10.

"We felt like we should have scored several times but that wasn't the case," quarterback Casey Pachall said. "We weren't going to give up and we knew we had to execute and we were going to come out victorious."

The offense was in a malaise in the third quarter, low lighted by Pachall throwing an interception to Quinn Giles. The Bulldogs took the lead three plays later after Colby Cameron, 21-of-43 for 264 yards and two scores, found Myles White for a 61-yard touchdown pass on a back-foot throw.

That seemed to be the impetus for the TCU offense sparking to life. Led by a trio of running backs and some clutch throws by Pachall, the Horned Frogs embarked on a 18-play, 72-yard scoring drive to tie the game that saw them convert on 4th down twice. It was the team's longest drive of the year and took 9:21 off the clock.

"We love going for it on fourth down because we feel like it's crunch time and that shows what we're made of," Pachall said.

For Patterson, who picked up his 109th victory overall to tie him with Dutch Meyer as TCU's all-time winningest coach, going for it on 4th down was something that he had been doing for years and saw no reason to change against Louisiana Tech.

"Haven't you seen that study on 4th down throws?" he asked the media afterward. "I went over it with the math department and they were telling me how it was stupid to punt."

After forcing the Bulldogs to do just that after a three-and-out, Pachall rolled out on 4th down on the next series and found Dawson for the 42-yard, game-winning, touchdown in the final two minutes.

"It was a good catch," the speedy receiver said. "I had to redeem myself."

The Poinsettia Bowl was just one of four games this postseason to match up conference champions, with the Horned Frogs winning the Mountain West in their final season in the league before departing for the Big 12 in 2012. One of the youngest teams Patterson has had in recent memory, TCU still reached the 11-win plateau for the seventh time in a decade. Pachall broke Andy Dalton's school-record for completions and passing yards in a season.

Memo to those on the schedule next year, this team will be one point better than they were in 2011.

"They asked me last year at the Rose Bowl were we disappointed because we weren't playing in the national championship game," Patterson said. "I would say the same thing about the Poinsettia, great ball game (to play in)."

And, despite the rough patches, a great launching point.



Category: NCAAF
Comments

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: January 2, 2012 2:42 pm
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

Texas Christian deserved a lot better than this Bowl. A birth in the Sugar or Orange Bowls would have been much more appropriate for this team.



Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:31 pm
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

How desperate are we?  The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl?  Who the heck cares about the San Diego Credit Union?  Is money so important to the schools that they will play in any post season game offered up?  Don't schools have to buy a certain amount of seats whether they can sell them or not?  How many people that are fans of either team actually going to come to San Diego to watch?  I would think both schools end up losing.  They can't possible sell enough tickets and nobody on the west coast cares about either team.

How about less bowl games and better match ups that will actually have teams people want to see.



Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:58 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

For godssake, lets hope the BCS title game ISN'T OFFICIATED by Big 10 officials. They don't seem to know what holding is as TCU got away with a lot ion the second half.
Give me a break.  When fans are reduced to compaining about not getting subjective call like holding or PI, you are pretty much at the bottom of the excuses barrel.  It's one thing to complain about those calls when they shouldn't have been called, but it is another to sit on your couch or in the stands and call the game.  A homer from either side can call those on the other team on every play.



Since: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:57 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

TCU not sharp? Noooo....they got their ass handed to them int he first hald by Louisiana Tech -

Not even close. What about that dropped pass by Dawson that would have gone the distance?? Dawson was already wide open with zero La Tech defenders down the field. Dawson would have scored to go up 7-3.

 if not for the 2 turnovers in the first half they might have been shut out.

If it wasn't for the dropped pass and two stupid TCU penalties that took away two drives for a first and goal, its 21-3 TCU and La Tech is lucky they don't get shut out.

TCU still needed a crummy pass interference call in the end zone in the second half to help them win the game.

The defender never turned around to find the ball and he had his arm wrapped around the receiver. Explain how that isn't a PI call.

My goodness, I sure hope the quality of officiating we have seen in early bowl games isn't what we are going to see in the BCS bowls.

Huh, one of two vaild points.

hope the BCS games AREN'T OFFICIATED by Big 10 officials.


The second of two valid points.

TCU got away with a lot ion the second half.

So did La Tech and every other school in the nation. Holding happens on every play. I only recall one big time missed hold call against TCU.




Since: Sep 23, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:54 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

I know this is a bit off topic from the rest of the comments but I think the Big 12 should look at La Tech. Then also look at Arkansas State. If anything to kinda give the bird to the SEC. I don't think they have to be huge programs right now to help the conference. But to push east into SEC territory would help in the long run. Even if those teams are not as good as LSU or Arkansas. A big 12 school can tell a Louisana recruit that it will play in state at least once every two years. Same with Arkansas.



Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:44 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

Chop Shop give me a break TCU gave La Tech a TD with a botched punt return and had two 40 yards runs called back.  So I think both teams had calls go against them and the same amount of turn overs.  So come up with some different excuses.  This was La Techs Super Bowl to a lethargic TCU squad...  The better team won in the end, even if they played maybe their worst game of the year (second worst SMU game was pretty bad).




Since: May 16, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:24 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

TCU not sharp? Noooo....they got their ass handed to them int he first hald by Louisiana Tech - if not for the 2 turnovers in the first half they might have been shit out. TCU still needed a crummy pass interference call in the end zone in the second half to help them win the game.

My goodness, I sure hope the quality of officiating we have seen in early bowl games isn't what we are going to see in the BCS bowls.

For godssake, lets hope the BCS title game ISN'T OFFICIATED by Big 10 officials. They don't seem to know what holding is as TCU got away with a lot ion the second half.

The moral of this game is:

The decision NOT to let Boise State in a bowl game was the correct decision.

Period.



Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:23 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

We have never seen a team have a let down when they didn't get the bowl they wanted... Oh wait I remeber Alabama getting blown out by Utah in 2008. 
The Frogs played uninspired ball, but in the end they won.  Patterson said they didn't deserve a BCS Bowl, and I agree.  This was suppose to be a rebuilding year after losing 18 starters.  This team only loses 5 so the future looks bright!   



Since: Sep 25, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:21 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

TCU beat a highly ranked Boise State team in Idaho no less......



Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:08 am
 

TCU not sharp, but captures Poinsettia Bowl

dap-perry is correct in that VT lost 2 games, both to Clemson who is ranked around 13th nationally.  But VT's 11 victories are over teams that are not ranked in the top 25 at all.  They beat no ranked teams.  But then again, TCU lost two games as well, both to ranked opponents and their 11 victories are also to unranked opponents.  So the two of them would have made a good bowl match-up in that they both ended the season with pretty much the same results.  We will see how good TCU really is next year when they have to play a Big 12 schedule and then we will be able to better assess their ability as a program to be ranked with the better teams.  Look what happened to Utah this year when they had to play in the PAC 12 compared to last year when they didn't have to prepare week after week for quality opponents. 


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