TCU coach Gary Patterson shook up his starting lineup Saturday by inserting two players returning from injuries (center Austin Schlottmann, cornerback Julius Lewis) and two others who cracked the lineup via strategic tweaks (linebacker Sammy Douglas, receiver Daniel Walsh).
The fresh wrinkles did not have a meaningful impact on the scoreboard in the Horned Frogs’ 34-10 loss at No. 12 West Virginia. But Patterson saw bright spots, particularly from Schlottmann and Lewis.
Schlottmann (foot) started after missing the previous two games due to an injury sustained Sept. 23 against SMU. Lewis, thought to be lost for the season at one point after a non-contact injury in the off-season, started at cornerback. It was his first appearance since he started in last year’s Alamo Bowl victory over Oregon.
“I thought they both played pretty good coming back,” Patterson said. “Julius ... seemed to be having no problems whatsoever as far as his leg’s concerned. It was good having him back.”
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The most anticipated potential return did not materialize. Receiver/kick returner KaVontae Turpin (knee), who averages 169.3 all-purpose yards per contest, dressed for the game and took part in warm-ups but did not play.
He didn’t get as many practice reps as what everybody else did. I think he’ll be ready to go next week.
TCU coach Gary Patterson on WR/KR KaVontae Turpin
“He didn’t get as many practice reps as what everybody else did. I think he’ll be ready to go next week,” Patterson said of Turpin.
Douglas (four tackles) replaced Ty Summers in the starting lineup, and Walsh (team-high four catches for 32 yards) received his first career start.
TCU defensive end Josh Carraway says the Frogs struggled to turn momentum when WV got it in Saturday's 34-10 loss. Video by Jimmy Burch.
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard, a White Settlement Brewer graduate, completed 16 of 23 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns, spreading the scoring strikes to four different receivers. It marked a significant improvement over last year’s meeting against TCU in Fort Worth, when Howard completed just 16 of 39 passes in a 40-10 loss.
The senior, who was sacked five times, was quick to credit his receivers with making some difficult catches against the TCU defense.
Those guys made some ridiculous catches and really bailed me out on some of those throws. To have guys like that to bail you out, it’s great as a quarterback.
West Virginia QB and Brewer graduate Skyler Howard
“On the stat sheet, it looks like I did a pretty good job, but I feel like I did average,” Howard said. “Those guys made some ridiculous catches and really bailed me out on some of those throws. To have guys like that to bail you out, it’s great as a quarterback.”
A first-quarter field goal by Brandon Hatfield extended TCU’s scoring streak to 300 consecutive games, marking the nation’s second-longest active streak. It’s also the fourth-longest in NCAA history. The Horned Frogs have not been shut out since a 32-0 loss at Texas on Nov. 16, 1991.
TCU running back Kyle Hicks addresses how the Horned Frogs can rebound from Saturday's lopsided loss to West Virginia. Video by Jimmy Burch
TCU receiver Jaelan Austin’s 11-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter marked his fourth consecutive game with a scoring grab, the school’s longest steak since Josh Doctson caught TD passes in six consecutive games last season. Austin leads the team in touchdown receptions this season (5).
Horned Frogs defensive end Josh Carraway says after 34-10 loss, 'That's not the TCU way.'
TCU collected five sacks, which extended the Frogs’ school-record streak to 37 consecutive games with at least one sack. It is the second-longest streak in the nation behind Ohio State (41).
Five different Frogs collected one sack apiece against West Virginia: defensive tackle Aaron Curry, defensive end Josh Carraway, cornerback Ranthony Texada, defensive end James McFarland and defensive end Mat Boesen.