TCU wins 20-13
HOUSTON, Texas -- TCU employed its best sieve-I-mean-prevent defense late in the fourth quarter, allowing UH to drive 78 yards before denying the Cougars on three consecutive plays, the last coming as time expired.
UH's best chance came on first down at the TCU 20, when Case Keenum threw a perfect fade to the back left corner of the end zone. Donnie Avery didn't have a very good read on the ball, though, and it fell just beyond his outstretched hands; it was definitely within reach with a good stretch or jump.
Overall, credit Gary Patterson and his TCU defense for stifling UH's main playmakers, Avery and Anthony Alridge. The Horned Frog ends were all over Keenum and Alridge for the entire game, forcing Keenum to find UH's secondary, and less dangerous, receivers. More broadly, the Cougars struggled to move the ball all game, and given their success on offense all season long, much credit is due to Gary Patterson's well-drawn game plan and in particular to his line's superb execution.
I'd say that Keenum was the player of the game despite the loss. He handled the TCU pressure as well as could be expected, and on many occasions, evaded pressure and found receivers downfield. Without him, the score would have been much worse.
As for the play of the game, I give the nod Andy Dalton's third-down pass to Jimmy Young on TCU's fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Given UH's offensive struggles, that touchdown gave the Horned Frogs a psychological edge late in the game.
Overall, it was an entertaining game and a good matchup of longtime conference-mates and rivals. Both programs have improved dramatically during the last 10 years and contribute to some pretty strong college football depth in the state. Texas always has had plenty of talented players, but 15 years ago, A&M was a fringe top-25 team, UT wasn't even that, and all the other teams probably are best left unmentioned. Now, UT, Texas Tech, A&M, TCU, and UH are all competitive programs, while SMU, UTEP, and others have improved dramatically also. Top-flight coaching --both in-game decisions and more importantly in recruiting -- has made all the difference.
Thanks for reading and have a happy new year!