FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU is going to a bowl game with speedy playmaker Jalen Reagor and a fifth-year quarterback whose first career start came in his final regular season game.
Two weeks after the most lopsided loss in coach Gary Patterson’s 18 seasons as head coach, Reagor scored touchdowns running and receiving for the second game in a row and Grayson Muehlstein threw two TD passes as the injury-plagued Horned Frogs got bowl eligible with a 31-24 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday night.
“With everything that happened to us, I think we ended up overachieving at the end. Simple,” Patterson said. “I don’t think you can take away from our kids what they just got accomplished.”
Jawuan Johnson scooped up a fumble and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second half before Jalen Reagor ran 83 yards for a score on TCU’s first offensive snap after halftime.
Reagor also had a 6-yard TD catch for the Frogs (6-6, 4-5 Big 12), who will go to a bowl for the 16th time in Gary Patterson’s 18 seasons as head coach. They won three of their last four games, the loss in that span being 47-10 at West Virginia.
Oklahoma State (6-6, 3-6) was held to 280 yards — 240 below its season average — against a TCU defense playing without four injured starters.
The Cowboys had only 58 total yards after Johnson’s defensive score set up on a pass behind the line that went off the hands of freshman running back Chuba Hubbard. Reagor’s TD run made it 21-3 only 73 seconds into the second half.
“Really at halftime, everything’s OK,” coach Mike Gundy said. “We throw that ball to Chuba a million times. Why he didn’t catch it this time, I don’t know.”
Taylor Cornelius had 156 of his 181 yards passing after halftime, when he twice ran for scores to get the Cowboys within a touchdown. Hubbard also had a 3-yard TD run.
“I told the team that it’s a good thing you get to play another game. Sure would have hated to finish like this,” Gundy said.
Reagor had 121 yards rushing on five carries and caught eight passes for 91 yards, becoming only the third TCU player with a 1,000-yard receiving season (1,061). He also set a school record with a TD catch in seven consecutive games.
“It’s all like surreal,” Reagor said. “I know I’m capable of making plays like that, it’s just the way it happens. It’s a blessing.”
Muehlstein, starting with the top two quarterbacks both injured, had completed only one pass in his career before taking over in the first half of a 16-9 win at Baylor last week when Reagor scored the only two touchdowns.
Muehlstein completed 16 of 25 passes for 180 yards against OSU. His second TD was a 24-yarder to Derius Davis with 6 ½ minutes left for a 31-17 lead.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were coming off a 45-41 win over then-No. 7 West Virginia that got them bowl eligible
“I was concerned about whether we could rally back after a big win last week,” Gundy said. “We were a little flat early in the week, but then we practiced good and finished strong. But we certainly didn’t play like that.”
That came after a 48-47 loss at No. 6 Oklahoma because of a failed 2-point conversion with 1:03 left. And they won 38-35 last month over Texas, which will play the Sooners in the Big 12 title game. But they also had double-digit losses to two teams in the bottom half of the standings and blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter in a loss at Baylor earlier this month.
TCU: The Horned Frogs scored more than 30 points in a Big 12 game for the first time this season, and needed all of them. All three of their previous conference wins this season had been when they scored 17 points or less.
Justice Hill, the Big 12’s third-leading rusher, missed his second game in a row for Oklahoma State because of bruised ribs. The junior tailback is still 70 yards shy of joining Terry Miller (1975-77) as the only Cowboys running backs with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
ALMOST EVERY YEAR
It will be their 19th bowl in the last 21 seasons overall for the Frogs, including Patterson’s three years as TCU’s defensive coordinator for Dennis Franchione.
Oklahoma State will play in a bowl game for the 13th consecutive season.
TCU, like Oklahoma State, is waiting to see where it will play in a bowl game.