Patterson praises his defense as TCU keeps playoff hopes alive

TCU defensive players react after stopping SMU on a fourth down play.
Kevin Jairaj/Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The adversity faced by this year’s TCU defense might not be seen again in a decade, maybe longer. Rarely do multiple season-ending injuries strike like they have the Horned Frogs.

Yet No. 3-ranked TCU remains undefeated. While it has lived dangerously, narrowly escaping with road wins at Texas Tech and Kansas State last week, the Frogs’ defense, with several players forced into positions they’ve never played before, has actually gotten stronger in the second half of games.

Kansas State rolled up 35 first-half points for an 18-point lead, but managed just 10 points in the second half that allowed the Frogs’ explosive offense to complete TCU’s largest come-from-behind win since 2005.

"What we’ve got to do is start ballgames like that,” Patterson said Monday during the Big 12 coaches conference call. “If we can start games like we started against Texas, then you’re going to have a chance to slow some people down. If not, it’s going to be the same kind of things at the end of ballgames we’ve already dealt with for the last month.”

Two weeks ago, the defense shut out Texas until allowing a late fourth-quarter touchdown in the 50-7 win. TCU has been defensively sharper at home. On the road the Frogs have allowed 114 points in three games as opposed to 51 points in three home games.

Next up on Saturday is another road game at Iowa State, a team Patterson knows has struggled, but will be ready to face the highly ranked Frogs. Patterson though, thinks his club will be ready, too. Typically not one to heap praise upon his players, Patterson has swayed from that protocol with this group because of unforeseen difficulties that have forced it to adjust like never before.

"Everybody sees where we’re ranked,” Patterson said. “We’re going to get everybody’s best shot. That’s why I’ve been proud of my kids. We’ve gotten everybody’s best shot to this point, but they’ve found a way to win it; they’ve found a way to fight back. Some teams, when it’s not going their way, they quit, especially on the road. But these kids, even though they’re young on defense, they’ve found a way to get stops at the end of ballgames.”

(h/t Star-Telegram)

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