No. 12 TCU quiets Texas Tech
TCU had an abundance of question marks on offense as it traveled to play Texas Tech.
With starting quarterback Kenny Hill and leading rusher Darius Anderson out with injuries, the Horned Frogs didn’t know how the backups would perform.
As it turned out, 12th-ranked TCU’s defense answered any pertinent queries. TCU shut down Texas Tech and paved the way for a 27-3 victory on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.
TCU, which held the Red Raiders to 327 yards of offense, allowed zero points over the final 51 minutes of the contest.
The Horned Frogs (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) were coming off a rough loss at Oklahoma and needed to win on the road to stay in the hunt for a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game.
TCU earned it with true grit.
“When we had a pregame meal, one of my coaches said something about we’d find out who was tough,” Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said. “I told him I already know we’re tough. We wouldn’t be 8-2 right now going into the ball game if we weren’t that.”
TCU did enough on offense behind freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson, who made his first collegiate start.
Robinson found wide receiver Jalen Reagor wide open for a 12-yard touchdown that gave TCU a 14-point lead late in the third quarter.
Robinson finished with 85 passing yards, a TD and no interceptions, and he rushed for 84 yards.
“The thing that you got out of Shawn Robinson is, you know we turned the ball over once, but he didn’t panic,” Patterson said. “Coming out of the tunnel, I said, ‘Just play. Don’t worry about it. Nobody’s expecting you to be great today. Just win the ball game.'”
When Robinson made his biggest mistake, fumbling inside his own 20, the TCU defense erased the miscue.
Horned Frogs cornerback Jeff Gladney knocked a pass away from Texas Tech wide receiver Dylan Cantrell in the end zone and TCU stuffed two rushing plays. Red Raiders kicker Clayton Hatfield then missed a 20-yard field goal.
Early in the fourth quarter, TCU recovered a fumble by Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek at the Horned Frogs’ 14, stopping the Red Raiders’ late bid to climb back into the game.
Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury pointed out the Shimonek fumble as a key negative play in the Red Raiders’ loss.
“Not very good,” Kingsbury said. “We have to hit the shots when we have them. When you have a chance to make plays, you’ve got to make them. Can’t fumble the ball in the red zone. I didn’t think we were very good at that position.”
Gladney put an exclamation point on the win as he took the ball away from Cantrell and returned the interception 93 yards for a touchdown with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter.
The Horned Frogs frustrated Shimonek all day as he completed 17 of 33 passes for 137 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
Texas Tech (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) used a deliberate drive to chew up almost nine minutes of the first quarter on its opening possession.
However, the Horned Frogs’ defense stiffened inside its own 10, forcing incomplete passes on second and third down and making the Red Raiders settle for Hatfield’s 22-yard field goal.
That’s all the points TCU allowed in the first half as the Horned Frogs constantly pressured Shimonek, sacking him three times in the first two quarters.
The Horned Frogs’ offense responded to the Red Raiders’ game-opening drive as TCU marched 63 yards for a touchdown on its first possession.
Horned Frogs wide receiver KaVontae Turpin took a reverse handoff 2 yards for the touchdown to cap the drive and gave TCU a 7-3 lead.
TCU kicker Cole Bunce nailed a 42-yard field goal to boost the Horned Frogs’ lead to 10-3 with 1:14 left in the second quarter and they took that margin to the break.
NOTES: TCU and Texas Tech renewed their Saddle Trophy as part of their annual matchup. The trophy was awarded to the winner of the game from 1961-70 when the schools were members of the Southwest Conference. The Horned Frogs and Red Raiders each won it twice before it was discontinued because the trophy was lost. ... Texas Tech entered with a 31-25-3 lead in the all-time series versus TCU. The Red Raiders had defeated TCU twice in overtime games and led the series 3-2 since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012. ... TCU, which lost to Oklahoma in its previous outing, improved to 37-12 following a loss during coach Gary Patterson’s 17 seasons at the school.