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ELLIOTT: Horned Frogs Debut Less Than Stellar

September 17, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT - Staff Writer ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

They say in the Big 12, you have to play your best game every week if you're thinking about winning.

TCU didn't Saturday, to say the least, but still won.

Thank you schedule makers.

You see, there is one mulligan on every conference team's schedule. You don't want to get in the way of a Kansas Jayhawk in a basketball uniform. But in a football uniform? Don't worry about it. That guy can't get out of his own way.

The Horned Frogs, who were making their league debut, beat Kansas, which has lost 10 Big 12 games in a row, by a 20-6 score, but it could have been a lot worse -for TCU.

The Horned Frogs advanced inside the KU 25 nine times. They fumbled it away four times - losing all of them - missed a 27-yard field goal, threw a pair of touchdown passes, with coach Gary Patterson calling one of those ''lucky,'' and made a pair of field goals.

They also yielded a career-best 303 passing yards to Dayne Crist.

''For us, we're really glad to get our first Big 12 victory,'' Patterson said. ''You can't get to two without one. We know we didn't play well.''

Continued play like that in a conference where every team but Kansas is either ranked or receiving votes and the Horned Frogs might never get to two.

Despite winning, they fell one spot in the AP poll.

Other Games

Everybody else in the league played nonconference games against inferior teams and the scores reflected it. There were so many laughers, it wasn't even funny.

West Virginia, of course, kept the offense going against FCS-foe James Madison with Geno Smith surpassing Marc Bulger as the school's all-time leader in passing yardage. Stedman Bailey had the biggest day of his career, catching 13 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns.

Texas got its offense going in a big way as it dumped Ole Miss, 66-31. The Longhorns hadn't scored that many points in a game since their title season of 2005. And Ole Miss hadn't given up that many since its non-title winning season of 1917.

Oklahoma State lost starting quarterback Wes Lunt to injury in the first quarter - how long he's out is anybody's guess - but backup J.W. Walsh came in and tossed for 347 yards in a 65-24 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette.

They do score a lot of points in the Big 12, don't they?

In brushing up for its league opener against Oklahoma next week, Kansas State messed around and gave North Texas a game, winning just 35-21. A 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Tyler Locket was the big play there.

Texas Tech walloped New Mexico, which is coached by former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, 49-14, behind six TD passes by QB Seth Doege.

Baylor had little trouble with Sam Houston State, 48-23, and Iowa State gave up just a field goal in a 37-3 victory against FCS-foe Western Illinois.

In the rankings

Five teams remained ranked inside the AP Top 25 with Oklahoma at 6, West Virginia at 8, Texas at 12, Kansas State at 15 and TCU at 17. Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas Tech received votes (ranging from ranking 27th-37th).

This week's schedule

Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe (Friday)

Virginia at TCU

Maryland at West Virginia

Kansas at Northern Illinois

Kansas State at Oklahoma

The KS-OU game is the league game before things get heated up beginning next week with a full slate of conference games.

And the Jayhawks better watch out. Northern Illinois is 2-1 and put up 41 points to eke past Army 41-40 on Saturday.

West Virginia and Maryland meet for the 48th time with the Mountaineers leading the all-time series 25-21-2 and having won six straight in the series.

Jim Elliott can be reached via e-mail at:

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