TCU 20, Kansas 6

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- TCU made its official debut in the Big 12 on Saturday. Whether the Horned Frogs belong remains subject to debate.
At times TCU struggled to move the ball against Kansas. Other times it settled for field goals. Then, too, the Horned Frogs lost four fumbles. All this against a defense that just a year ago ranked worst nationally in yards and points allowed.
In spite of the problems with execution, TCU was still good enough to trip Kansas, 20-6, before 43,867 in Memorial Stadium.
The conference win was the 25th in a row for the Horned Frogs (2-0, 1-0 Big 12), while the conference defeat was the 13th straight for the Jayhawks (1-2, 0-1).
As long as Casey Pachall learns to value the football -- three of the fumbles were assessed to the junior quarterback -- the Horned Frogs should steadily improve while playing a back-loaded schedule. Pachall completed 24-for-30 passes for 335 yards with two touchdowns, yet the turnovers kept the score respectable.
One problem for the Horned Frogs, who committed three of their turnovers in the red zone, was their opener against Championship Subdivision opponent Grambling provided no test. And Kansas, smarting from a last-second loss against Rice, was poised for an upset.
However, the TCU defense, which has topped the nation five times under 12th-year coach Gary Patterson, was up to the task.
Kansas only managed two field goals by Ron Doherty. A late opportunity ended with quarterback Dayne Crist losing a fumble into the end zone. Crist, a Notre Dame transfer, went 19-for-39 passing for 303 yards, but was just 9 for 27 in the second half.
Although first-year Kansas coach Charlie Weis vowed to make the run game a bigger staple against TCU, the Jayhawks rushed for 77 yards and abandoned the ground game in the second half.
TCU countered with 152 yards rushing, including 99 on 12 carries by Waymon James.
Kansas trailed only 10-6 at halftime, despite generating just three points off a pair of fumble recoveries that ended TCU's first two possessions.
Ron Doherty booted a 37-yard field goal after the first takeaway. Following the second recovery, Crist threw an interception on the next play from scrimmage.
Still, the Jayhawks defense, reconstructed by long-time NFL coach Dave Campo, did not crumble.
An opportunity for the Horned Frogs at the end of the half wilted into a 37-yard field goal by Jaden Oberkrom, who missed a 27-yard attempt earlier in the second quarter. Oberkrom's make came with 4 seconds remaining as TCU managed just 10 points for the 214 total yards it gained in the first half.
The Horned Frogs finished with 487 total yards against 380 by the Jayhawks.

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