TCU plays in Stillwater on Saturday. The Cowboys need a halftime lead in their homecoming game. Otherwise, OSU could be in trouble. TCU is a second-half team.
The Horned Frogs are 3-3 overall, losing to three top-20 teams: LSU, Texas Tech and OU. TCU played those teams at least equal in the second half.
But it’s not just the tough foes. Against three opponents that were overmatched – Southeastern Louisiana, SMU and Kansas – the Frogs led only once at halftime, and that by three points against Southeastern Louisiana. Yet they dominated the second halves of all three games. Here are the details of all six games:
LSU: TCU trailed 16-10 at halftime yet were within 30-27 midway through the fourth quarter before losing 37-27.
Southeastern Louisiana: TCU led 17-14 but pulled away for a 38-17 win.
Texas Tech: TCU trailed 10-0 at halftime and lost 20-10.
SMU: TCU trailed 10-7 at halftime but romped to a 48-17 victory.
OU: TCU trailed 13-0 at halftime and didn’t have a first down. But the Frogs made it tight in the end, losing 20-17.
Kansas: TCU was tied 10-10 at halftime but won 27-17.
The Frogs clearly are a better team in the second half, which no doubt has something to do with Gary Patterson, an excellent coach who has built TCU into a consistent winner.
“I don’t think their record exemplifies the type of team they are,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “They are playing real well on defense. They are trying to run the football and spread you out to throw it a little bit on offense. They have a good return game. We definitely have our work cut out for us.
“Their schemes haven’t changed. It’s like most teams in our league, it stays the same, but they’re in the right spot on defense. They’ve got some guys that can get to you in a four-man rush. Their linebackers understand gap responsibility. Their corners are good players, and their safeties are good tacklers.
“Up to this point, they are as good of a defense and physical of a defense as anyone we have seen on tape.”
OSU has shown signs of being a second-half team itself. The Cowboys led Mississippi State just 7-3 at halftime but dominated thereafter and won 21-3. The Cowboys were awful in the first half at West Virginia, trailing 24-14; OSU was marginally better in the second half but lost 30-21. Against KansasState, OSU was about the same, leading 17-14 at halftime before winning 33-29.
If the Cowboys get off to a slow start Saturday, their chances of winning seem slim. TCU has not shown to be the kind of team that will slack off in the second half.