TCU unimpressive in win over SE Louisiana
SEP 07, 2013 2:39p ET
A sun-scorched 41,170 came to Amon. G. Carter Stadium for a home opener against FCS Southeastern Louisiana and expected a mauling.
The Lions, led by Oregon transfer QB Bryan Bennett, made sure the first half was anything but, though the Frogs survived their rough first half for a 38-17 win.
"I thought we didn't play with very much enthusiasm today," coach Gary Patterson said. "I told them, they do that, and that's what good teams don't do. You can't come down to the level of the team that you play. You'll get beat."
TCU didn't, but it invited plenty of skepticism around preseason assertions that it was ready to compete for a Big 12 title.
Close doesn't cut it anymore, and TCU invited plenty of questions about how ready they are to compete for a Big 12 title after a sluggish performance against a team that didn't receive any votes from the coaches in the FCS Top 25 poll.
"We didn't play to our level of ability," said quarterback Trevone Boykin, who replaced Pachall and helped the Frogs avoid disaster.
A 14-point burst in 40 seconds midway through the third quarter assured a win, and gave TCU fans a look at their immediate future at quarterback.
"We finally woke up. He just made some plays with his legs that Casey hadn't done, and Casey made some plays with his arm that Trevone doesn't do," he said. Patterson hinted that Pachall's injury could be serious, and declared him out for Thursday night's Big 12 opener against Texas Tech. Boykin's tendency to look for big plays left his coach ultimately frustrated, though. On one fourth down, Boykin elected to attempt a long pass down the right sideline when Patterson said completing a shorter pass (which the play was designed to do) would have moved the chains.
"You can't always be looking for big plays. That's not what this game is about. It's about winning," he said.
Defensive miscues helped SE Louisiana hang 17 points on the board, a week after LSU scored 37. Last season, the Tigers scored that many points just three times in 10 games against major conference opponents.
"I'd give us a C," safety Sam Carter said. "We have a lot of things to improve on. The defense gave up two or three big plays and that's just guys not doing the right job."
Both Carter and Boykin pointed to mental mistakes and players not taking care of their "1/11th" of the responsibility on the field.
TCU earned bundles of respect a year when it stayed competitive in all but one game a year ago. Most assumed a seven-win team stocked with freshmen and sophomore from a year ago would improve, and the Frogs were a trendy pick to win the league, earning more first-place votes in the preseason poll than everyone but the official pick, Oklahoma State.
That respect means the bar's been raised, though. Those same seven wins that earned TCU respect in a tumultuous season full of injuries and suspensions will lose the Frogs respect this time around.
TCU has the talent to be much better than a seven-win team. It doesn't have much time left to prove it before Big 12 play begins on Thursday with Texas Tech.
On Saturday, TCU looked like a seven-win team.
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