AUSTIN — Thanksgiving lunch was not enough.
Texas could not maintain possession of the ball Thursday evening, and No. 5 TCU feasted on the Longhorns’ miscues, scoring off five of their six turnovers en route to a 48-10 victory.
Following the loss, which snapped Texas’ three-game winning streak and concluded its regular-season schedule, Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong admitted the Horned Frogs simply ate his team alive.
“We just had too many turnovers,” he said. “If we don’t drive the ball, we have to punt it, get it back and then drive the football. But we can’t turn the football over.”
That is exactly what happened, though.
Texas committed one costly error after another, leading to 31 points for TCU, during the program’s 25th Thanksgiving Day loss since beginning the tradition of playing on the holiday in 1893.
And when the Longhorns (6-6, 5-4 Big 12) were not turning the ball over, their offense struggled to get anything going.
Despite rendering Horned Frogs standout quarterback Trevone Boykin relatively ineffective, limiting the dual-threat junior to less than 200 total yards of offense through the first three quarters, the Longhorns repeatedly threw scoring opportunities away.
Only three of the Longhorns’ 18 drives ended in TCU territory as they went three-and-out eight times.
“We had our chances,” Strong said, “but we just didn’t protect. We couldn’t get the ball down the field.”
In the first quarter, the Horned Frogs scored a field goal off an interception and recorded the game’s first touchdown off a fumble recovery, building a 13-0 advantage by the end of the period.
It never got better.
TCU (10-1, 7-1) extended its lead to 20-3 by halftime and the score held into the fourth quarter, when the Horned Frogs had a 28-point outburst to close the game, capitalizing on two more turnovers.
Texas sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes threw four interceptions with three resulting in scores, including a pick-6 by TCU defensive end Josh Carraway with 2:19 remaining for the game’s final points.
“He has to play,” Strong said of Swoopes, who accounted for 61 of the Longhorns’ 90 rushing yards. “He can’t turn the ball over. He can’t get down on himself. I told him, ‘The only way we are going to drive the ball and get scores is if you make it happen,’ and he just didn’t do that tonight.”
Swoopes also lost a fumble and completed just 20 of 34 passes for 200 yards with the total inflated by a 73-yard touchdown to Armanti Foreman early in the fourth quarter.
Less than three minutes later, however, the Horned Frogs responded by recovering a ball that glanced off senior Quandre Diggs’ foot on a punt return, and Boykin quickly converted, capping off a three-play, 19-yard drive with a touchdown to put TCU ahead 34-10 with 7:01 remaining.
Although the loss was disappointing, Strong did not believe it was an indication of his team moving in the wrong direction. Rather, it was a case of simply losing focus.
“You just can’t turn the ball over and have mistakes,” he said. “When we do, our opponents are going to take advantage of it.”