FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Gary Patterson got after his team all week after its first loss. Then before the 10th-ranked Horned Frogs took the field against Texas, he reminded them of their chance in the Big 12.
“We knew this was a big game,” running back Kyle Hicks said.
Hicks ran for two touchdowns and the Frogs rebounded from their loss, winning 24-7 on Saturday night to stayed tied for the Big 12 lead and in contention for a playoff spot.
“This was a big hurdle for us, starting the month of November,” Patterson said. “I was worried after last week how would our guys respond. I was after them pretty good on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12, No. 8 CFP) was coming off a 14-7 loss at No. 14 Iowa State that had created a four-team logjam for first place in the Big 12.
There are now only two teams tied atop the Big 12 with three weeks left in the regular season before the league’s championship game. They are the league’s only one-loss teams: TCU and No. 8 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1, No. 5 CFP), who meet next week in Norman.
“We turn the page right now, at this point,” defensive end Ty Summers said. “Texas is done, we came out with a victory. … We’re already getting our mind set on OU. Right now.”
In a game dominated by two of the Big 12’s best defenses, Hicks had 41 yards rushing on 11 carries. That included his 1-yard TD on the opening drive of the game and his 14-yard score that put the Horned Frogs up 17-0 early in the second quarter.
Texas (4-5, 3-3) managed only 263 total yards in its biggest losing margin in coach Tom Herman’s first season. The Longhorns had only 9 yards rushing.
“Our defense plays great every week. That is frustrating and I’m sure it’s extremely frustrating for them, just seeing what we do on offense,” Texas quarterback Shane Buechele said. “It’s on us. Offensively, it’s on me.”
With freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger missing his second straight game for the Longhorns, Buechele completed 21 of 44 passes for 254 yards with a 33-yard touchdown to Collin Johnson. Buechele was sacked seven times.
“I think it was very evident that you saw the two best defenses in our conference battle it out,” Herman said. “From my perspective, the biggest difference was, early we gave up a couple of big plays and we didn’t match that offensively.”
Texas: The Longhorns, coming off three consecutive losing seasons when Herman was hired last December, are still in that up-and-down mode. They followed an overwhelming 38-7 road win at Baylor last week with another loss. They have to win out (Kansas, at West Virginia and Texas Tech) for a winning season. Two wins gets them to .500 and bowl eligible, for another chance at a winning record.
TCU: Quarterback Kenny Hill was effective, a big rebound after his three turnovers against Iowa State — with an interception and a lost fumble inside the Cyclones 10. Hill was 18-of-26 passing for 146 yards, and ran for a season-high 43 yards on 12 carries in a turnover-free performance.
“I took last week pretty hard,” Hill said. “I told all those guys, it’s not going to happen again.”
The Horned Frogs will remain a Top 10 team, and could even move up in the poll. That depends on how far voters drop a pair of Top 10 losers from the Big Ten: No. 3 Ohio State, which lost by 31 points, and No. 7 Penn State on a game-ending field goal in a road game that ended nearly 7 hours after it began.
NOT AS CLOSE
The Longhorns went into the game already 0-3 against Top 25. Those losses were by a combined 11 points, two of them in overtime. Iowa State was still unranked when Texas won 17-7 in Ames at the end of September.
Darius Anderson had 99 yards rushing for TCU, including a 31-yard TD run on a fourth-and-1 play with just over 4 minutes left in the game.
Texas: The Longhorns are home next Saturday against Kansas, the only Big 12 team still winless in conference play.
TCU: The matchup of Big 12 leaders when the Frogs play a prime-time game at Oklahoma next Saturday night.
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