AUSTIN — On a day when fans feast on delicious holiday treats, Texas was both whipped and creamed.
The Longhorns failed to record a touchdown until 3:07 remained in the game and blew any potential chance of earning a Big 12 championship after TCU delivered a 20-13 Thanksgiving Day pounding at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
“I’m disappointed in the loss,” said Texas head coach Mack Brown. “We missed a great opportunity tonight to get back in the mix for some things.
“Disappointed that we played so poorly on offense. Give TCU credit for that.”
And Texas quarterback David Ash had little reason to be thankful, committing three first-half turnovers and getting pulled on two separate occasions in favor of backup Case McCoy, who also threw an interception, as the Horned Frogs beat the Longhorns (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) for the first time since 1992 and ended a 15-game losing streak at Austin, dating back to 1967.
“Four turnovers will kill you, and that is what it did to us,” said Texas running back Johnathan Gray, who posted a team-high 47 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Two of Ash’s interceptions occurred in the red zone, but Texas’ offense was suffocated all game, and the Horned Frogs (7-4, 4-4) ran at will, producing a 4.5-yard per carry average (48 carries for 217 rushing yards).
On the game’s opening possession, Ash threw an interception, giving TCU control at its own 6-yard line. Seven minutes later, the Horned Frogs cashed in on the turnover as tailback Matthew Tucker, with the help of an official review, capped a 94-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown on a third-down run. The Longhorns responded with a Nick Jordan 25-yard field goal late in the period and trailed 7-3 entering the second quarter.
Ash engineered another drive deep into TCU territory, but after several first-down passes to Jaxson Shipley, the sophomore, who entered the game with five interceptions for the season, threw his second interception of the half. This time, however, it did not hurt Texas as the Longhorns forced the Horned Frogs to punt on the ensuing possession. Two plays into Texas’ next drive, though, Ash lost a fumble and TCU turned it into points as Tucker scored for a second time three plays later.
With that the Belton product was replaced by McCoy. Ash completed 7 of 13 passes for 70 yards and had four carries for 11 yards before being pulled.
Ash was quickly reinserted, however, taking to the field early in the third quarter after Texas safety Adrian Phillips intercepted a pass on the first drive. Despite the substitution, the result was the same as another Longhorns’ drive stalled in the red zone, forcing Texas to settle for a Jordan field goal of 25 yards with 8:52 left in the third.
“Coaches felt like, and I agreed with them, that we were going to have to do some one-minute offense in the second half, and (Ash had) done that more than Case,” Brown said.
The Horned Frogs’ run game continued to gouge Texas’ defense, though, accounting for the entirety of a 64-yard drive punctuated by Jaden Oberkrom’s 18-yard field goal, giving TCU a 17-6 lead.
TCU’s lead was extended to 14 points on Oberkrom’s 41-yard field early in the fourth quarter before McCoy led the Longhorns to their only touchdown of the game with 3:07 remaining as Jeremy Hills ran for an 8-yard score to conclude an 82-yard drive.
“We didn’t take care of the ball when we needed to,” McCoy said, “and we’ve talked about it all year. You go back and look at any college football game, turnovers are a big deal. We didn’t do what we needed to do in the turnover ratio, and the score showed it.”