TCU, which hosts
Conference snobs are quick to remind that TCU, a first-year member of the
Among their victims:
That marked TCU’s first unbeaten year since Heisman-winning quarterback Davey O’Brien led the Horned Frogs to the 1938 national title, this two years after Baugh headed off to the
Tomlinson brought the program notoriety as a 2000 All-American but nothing approaching its recent results under 12th-year head coach Gary Patterson.
So attractive were the Horned Frogs and their Dallas-Fort Worth market that the
“They're a team that has a scheme and a system that they've been doing for a while, and they believe in it,” Virginia coach
London was not on the Cavaliers’ staff in 2009, when they lost at home to TCU 30-14. Prior to that game, then-Virginia coach
Sure enough, two weeks later, TCU won at Clemson 14-10. The Horned Frogs’ lone defeat that season was by a touchdown to
The architect of this rise, and the primary reason Amon G. Carter Stadium just received a $164-million facelift, is Patterson, 111-30 in 11-plus seasons. TCU's defensive coordinator from 1998-2000 under Dennis Franchione, Patterson was promoted by then-athletic director Eric Hyman when Franchione bolted for Alabama.
The new-look stadium seats a modest 45,000, so don't mistake TCU for Texas or Texas A&M among colossal Lone Star State football outposts. But the program's quality is undeniable.
True to Patterson’s roots, the Horned Frogs’ success is steeped in defense. So while
“Their defense is giving up three points a game, 60 yards rushing, 225 yards total offense,” London said. “They play kind of a 4-2-5 defense that Richmond,
"I think it's a challenging defense because of whether you call them rovers or whether you call them the strong safeties that are down in the box, they're one of the elements that can force the run because they play their defensive ends in a six technique, meaning they're head up on the tight ends, so when the tight ends block, that employs a run read for those safeties."
In opening victories over Grambling and
"They kind of dare you to throw the ball," London said, "but they have those defensive ends, linemen, outside safeties that can come off the edge or they can play coverage. They can run, so they're very fast and athletic."
Patterson, whose staff includes former head coaches Eddie Williamson (VMI) and
TCU was No. 16 then in the Associated Press poll and is No. 17 now. The Horned Frogs would be Virginia’s highest-ranked road conquest since a 1994 victory at No. 14 Virginia Tech, but they have won 27 of their last 28 at home, the exception a 40-33 overtime loss last season to Southern Methodist – TCU’s only other defeat last year was 50-48 against
The Horned Frogs' headliners this season are defensive end Stansly Maponga, linebacker Kenny Cain and quarterback Casey Pachall. Waymon James, their leading rusher, is done for the year with a knee injury after averaging 9.9 yards per carry against Grambling and Kansas.
How they fare against the likes of Oklahoma, Texas and
For a compelling look at Patterson and TCU, check out this Sports Illustrated profile penned last year by S.L. Price.
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