|TCU QB Trevone Boykin had 85 rushing yards and 83 passing yards in Thursday's win at Texas. (US Presswire)|
Perhaps the football gods weren't pleased Texas and Texas A&M weren't playing on Thanksgiving Day. Whatever the reason, the Longhorns turned in an ugly performance in a 20-13 Thursday night loss to TCU.
It didn't matter who was at quarterback, as Texas coach Mack Brown tried both starter David Ash and backup Case McCoy at various times. The offense just wasn't in sync at all. Ash threw two interceptions deep in the Horned Frogs' territory in the early stages, and UT managed only two drives of more than 25 yards on its last nine possessions.
Inconsistency from the passing game has been a problem for the Horns for much of the season, but TCU's defense did well to limit the Texas running game as well. Led by freshman Johnathan Gray, the Longhorns managed only 2.6 yards per rush on 33 attempts.
Texas (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) didn't score a touchdown until it was almost too late, as McCoy led a scoring drive in the final minutes to get back within one score. But McCoy made an awful decision when he got the ball back, throwing an interception on a play when no one was even close to being open. The prudent play would have been to simply throw it away.
That was the back-breaker, but it was one of only four Longhorns turnovers -- three of which were interceptions. Fans may clamor for one quarterback or the other, but it's clear the position is simply not a strength. In some measure, quarterback play was the most apparent reason for Texas' loss.
The loss knocks the Longhorns out of contention for the Big 12 title, a goal that (at least coming into Thursday night) still wasn't out of reach with a game remaining against conference leader Kansas State.
But how about TCU? The Horned Frogs have had plenty of reasons to fail in their first Big 12 season -- from the loss of quarterback Casey Pachall due to personal issues to an extremely young defense to a higher caliber of competition than the team ever faced in the Mountain West.
Coach Gary Patterson has done as good a job as anyone in the Big 12. The TCU defense has overcome its youth and injury issues to become a strong unit. In a couple of years, this could be the best defense in the conference.
And the offense has been strong enough in the running game -- with 221 yards against the Longhorns on Thursday night -- to make up for backup quarterback Trevone Boykin's shortcomings as a passer.
This is hardly Patterson's best TCU team, but it still was able to earn the program's first win at Texas since 1967 in its first Thanksgiving Day game since 1928. The Big 12 suits the Frogs just fine, thank you.
As for the Longhorns, 8-3 is certainly better than the past two seasons had been. But it's clear this program is not yet back to its former status as the Big 12's top dog.
In fact, both of this year's Big 12 newcomers -- TCU and West Virginia -- beat Texas this year. Adding insult to injury, both games were played in Austin. The loss wasn't entirely the fault of the Longhorns' quarterbacks, but if coach Mack Brown hopes to compete for another conference title in the near future, he will need better play from the position than he has gotten in recent seasons.
(For more on the game, check out CBSSports.com's Eye on College Football blog)
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12 on Twitter. You can also follow C.J. (@cjmoore4) and Patrick (@patricksouthern).